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Report, 2005

Integrated Multi-Level Analysis of The Governance of European Space (IMAGES)

Lähteenmäki,Fuller,Böhme Kaisa, Sara, Kai, Nilsson L Kristina


This working paper forms of ongoing dialogue between academics and policy researchers on the implications of the emergence of a new European spatial policy field as well as the spatial implications of other longer standing policy sectors within the European governance structure. The initial notion that the European project has spatial dimensions leads to more complex questions about the whole nature of integration, creating challenges for people, environments and places. This discussion resulted in a proposal for an analytical approach termed IMAGES- Integrated Multi-Level Analysis of the Governance of European Space. The framework has been developed to address the core question: how does the emergence of a new European spatial policy field condition policymaking and implementation across Europe, as its core values and ideas are contested across different scales, sectors and territories of governance? This approach sets out to examine what questions could be asked, what values could be deployed, what theoretical perspectives might be brought to bear, and how arguments could be built, to support a critical engagement with the field of European spatial policy. This engagement is underpinned by the idea of spatial justice, with a core recognition that there are important questions to be asked about who wins and loses from spatial policies and decisions made within the European polity. It seeks to understand the extent to which the conditions that cause inequality are revealed or hidden, and reproduced or challenged by these policy processes, while also exploring the normative spatial issues and the values that underpin them. Methodologically, the approach makes use of policy making narratives. These are constructed of either a single EU policy instrument or an exploration of spatial strategy making in different territories. Together these cases provide complementary insights into the Europeanisation of spatial policy making across a multilevel field. Conducting both types of cases allows a rich picture to be built up across sectors, scales, and territories, of how spatial policy ideas are being constructed and contested across the emerging policy field. The narratives each follow a common structure defined as ‘cutting edges’. These cutting edges theoretically informed and focus attention on the core spatial ideas themselves: the construction of new forms of policy knowledge giving legitimacy to these new ideas; agenda-setting across multi-level arenas; relations between scales and sectors of governance; the democratic and consensual nature of policy making; and the effects of Europeanisation on policy diversity and homogeneity across territories. Therefore, applying the IMAGES framework to spatial policy research, we hope to provide useful insights into policies with a spatial impact, as well as on the nature of policy making and its impact on spatial justice


spatial planning; spatial policy;

Published in

Nordregio Working Paper
2005, number: 2005:2
Publisher: Nordregio

    SLU Authors

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Landscape Architecture
    Economics and Business
    Social Sciences

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