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Dominic Stead

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Dominic Stead

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Dominic Stead and Dorina Pojani

Despite the many efforts devoted to identifying and disseminating “best practice” in urban and regional policy, research suggests only a very modest impact (at the most) of best practices on policy change. Moreover, the effects of spreading lessons and “best practice” are not well understood by many actors involved in the processes of policymaking. The chapter recommends that it is generally more appropriate to offer a compendium of practices and ideas to policymakers, rather than predefined policy solutions, and allow them to determine for themselves the most suitable option based on the specific context in which it is to be used. This chapter is a shortened and updated version of an article published in Planning Practice and Research, 27 (1).

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Dominic Stead and Dorina Pojani

This chapter examines the nature and type of urban planning tools sought by policy officials, consultants and academics who look to the Netherlands for inspiration, and the lessons that they have drawn from the Netherlands. It reveals that, although many foreign “policy tourists” are impressed and inspired by Dutch planning achievements, policy transfer efforts based on Dutch examples of planning do not often result in concrete actions or hard outcomes abroad. Contextual differences (e.g. cultural and social norms, language, planning legislation and financial resources available to planning) limit the extent to which Dutch planning approaches can be employed elsewhere.

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Franziska Sielker and Dominic Stead

Ongoing processes of European integration and cooperation have come alongside a growing importance of spatially relevant policies and the development of numerous cooperation initiatives at the EU level. These influence the territorial development of Europe considerably. We claim that the key to understanding the nature of today’s EU spatial governance is the interdependence of the diversity of policies and initiatives and their embeddedness in the multi-level governance systems. Against this background, the chapter aims to analyse contemporary processes of scaling and rescaling in EU spatial governance resulting from EU territorial politics and territorial cooperation initiatives. We introduce a four-dimensional framework to analyse scalar construction and policy development, and take stock of policies and funds that shape EU spatial governance. We conclude that the nature of EU spatial governance can best be understood when viewing these various EU initiatives and territorially relevant politics as interrelated.

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Tobias Chilla, Stefan Gänzle, Franziska Sielker and Dominic Stead

Chapter 6 offers a state-of-the-art review of research on political order formation at the macro-regional level in the European Union. The chapter brings together different strands of literature, in particular from political science, spatial planning and geography. Drawing on previous examples of sub-regional cooperation, such as for instance Baltic Sea regional cooperation, EU macro-regional strategies have recently been introduced as a new instrument in the EU’s territorial cooperation and cohesion policy repertoire. To date, four macro-regional strategies have been developed (Baltic Sea Region, 2009, Danube Region, 2011, Adriatic-Ionian Region, 2014 and the Alpine Region, 2015). By establishing comprehensive frameworks for cross-sectoral policy coordination (e.g. transport infrastructure and environmental protection) and hence proposing a new form of territorially bound common political order, these strategies aim to encourage EU member/partner countries in macro-regional territories to contribute to active territorial cooperation. Macro-regions have generated scholarly interest across a number of disciplines, including geography, regional and spatial planning, political science and public administration. The emergence of macro-regional strategies has led to new questions and academic debates on issues such as their impacts on existing practices of territorial cooperation and whether they challenge or complement previously established formats of (sub-)regional cooperation. Drawing on a review of existing literature, this contribution seeks to take stock of existing research on the subject, discuss the conceptual starting points, and chart possible directions for future research. The chapter concludes that the conceptual debates in political and spatial sciences exhibit a number of overlaps that might be fruitfully explored in the future.