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Studies in Applied Geography and Spatial Analysis

Addressing Real World Issues

Edited by Robert Stimson and Kingsley E. Haynes

This timely and fascinating book illustrates how applied geography can contribute in a multitude of ways to assist policy processes, evaluate public programs, enhance business decisions, and contribute to formulating solutions for community-level problems.
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Chapter 2: A geographic perspective on demographic evolution in Europe: the CEG participation in the ESPON 1.1.4 project

Diogo de Abreu


This chapter analyses, from a geographical perspective and within the context of the European Union (EU), a number of issues to do with population ageing, the lack of working-age population, migratory movements, depopulation (in some regions) and rapid demographic growth (in others), as well as the relationship between all of these factors and the overall economic performance. This is undertaken at different scales and under several different scenarios. By contrast to other social scientists, geographers generally approach these phenomena in a way that involves adopting an integrated perspective and linking together the different relevant aspects of a given reality. The work was undertaken in the context of the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON) programme, launched in 2000, which constituted a consequence of the ESDP – European Spatial Development Perspective1 – implemented when Luxemburg held the presidency of the EU. The programme was (and still is) a research and applied structure created within the ambit of INTERREG2 with the aim of providing scientific support to spatial policies in the development, competitiveness, cooperation and sustainability domains, based on the three fundamental pillars of the ESDP: By pursuing these aims, the programme is expected to: improve scientific knowledge regarding spatial problems in the context of the European Union; make suggestions that might contribute to addressing those problems; and help evaluate European spatial policies. The results were remarkable, and constitute some of the best knowledge that Europe can produce: thousands of pages with text, tables, graphs and maps on all sorts of spatial features and phenomena, produced by consortiums of research groups across Europe chosen through a rigorous selection process.

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