A Planner's vision of a European territory
Spatial development is a complex interplay of various influences. Collective demands on space meet individual requests for its exploitation. Governmental institutions try to frame processes and decisions, even though the question remains as to whether spatial development is steerable at all. Is there a 'planability' of space?
These processes are shifting. The area of action is moving from a nationalized context towards transnational tiers within Europe. Problems and strategies are cross-border. Scientific exchange and political debates follow this tendency and become more international.
In Europe these processes are closely linked with European integration. Above the national state, a construct occured, that acts on its own rules of governance and represent an independent community of values. Planners play a role within these structures as well. The question is: What kind of role?
The future role of planners is one of the overall questions the IFHP-AESOP Lecture Series is dealing with. In January, Klaus Kunzmann started this series in Dortmund with his insightss on the future of spatial planning. As a key message, he observed that traditionally planners have a rather good feeling about the future development of society, politics and space. With these “planners’ visions”, the debates about spatial development are to contribute. These visions include collective requirements, individual usage and governmental frameworks – and sometimes even room for emerging developments.
When dealing with questions of spatial planning at European level, it is impossible not to come across Andreas Faludi. For 20 years he has accompanied and influenced the debate about planning at transnational level. He never forgets the overall context and the underlying questions. Recently, he has been engaged in the debate about borders and the period after hard territorialism. Thinking in hard bordered containers of space does not reflect modern society any more, which is living in a world of networks. The increasing soft permeability of borders contributes to the overcoming of national states and their unrestricted sovereignty.
The concept of soft spaces is closely linked to visions of Europe’s future. There is no better time to debate about the future of Europe than during the crisis. The crisis contains the opportunity to question structures and mechanisms. Public attention to politics and policy debates is rising. This facilitates the development of a European domestic policy and will end in the question of a European territory. And therefore, the planner's vision is truly beneficial.