chapter  2
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The development of a European context for spatial planning

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The planning map of Europe has changed significantly over the last twenty years (Davies 1996). The increasing interest of the European Union in spatial planning matters (Williams 1996) and a move towards enhanced intermember state and interregional cooperation (Church and Reid 1999; Keating 2000) and integration (Weidenfels and Wessels 1997) have reoriented planning. The changing political and institutional contexts at the European, member state, sub-national and local levels of governance – including devolution and decentralisation – have all impacted upon how planning is viewed and what role it performs in the twenty-first century (Albrechts et al. 2001). These changes, and the rapidity with which they have occurred, can appear confusing, complex and kaleidoscopic (Tewdwr-Jones 2001a). Additional changes have occurred in the nature, definition, purpose and remit of planning within different European member states (Newman and Thornley 1996), on different spatial scales (MacLeod and Goodwin 1999), often as a consequence of the transformation of Western governance and its reaction to globalisation (Jessop 1997). The emergence of governance, environmentalism, public-private partnerships, enhanced community and participatory processes and the global economy, meanwhile, further confuses an already complex picture (Healey 1997).