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Licentiate thesis2021Open access

Planning at the edge - aspects on inter-municipal and border related spatial planning in a new Swedish geography

Lexén, Thomas


This licentiate thesis investigates how municipal division and local borders may affect spatial planning and the possibilities for coordination of inter-municipal and cross-border planning issues, which has become increasingly important in recent decades as a result of, amongst other things, regional enlargement and an emerging need for increased environmental consideration and climate change adaptation. The overall question, which derives from the author's many years of professional experience as a planning architect, is examined through two studies, presented in two different papers: The first paper explores the problem from a municipal perspective through a case study of two municipalities, Hallsberg and Kumla, with a long history of border related conflicts and collaborations, while the second paper examines the question primarily from a state perspective by investigating the Swedish planning system and municipal division in relation to certain recent geographical changes. Generally, the findings indicate that municipal borders are increasingly suboptimal due to the discrepancy between the emerging new geography and the “old” geography that has formed the basis of both municipal division and the planning legislation. Local geography and territorial conditions are thereby being increasingly influential to the process and outcome of spatial planning. On a theoretical note, the thesis contributes to a fuller understanding of the complex local border geography and helps to bring the discussion on planning back to a geographical, and territorial context.


municipal borders; inter-municipal cooperation; spatial planning; bordering; border asymmetries; geography of planning; land use planning; intermunicipal planning; relational geography; soft regions; Sweden

Published in

ISBN: 978-91-576-9834-6, eISBN: 978-91-576-9835-3
Publisher: Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences