Editors’ introduction to Part II
Institutional change and organizational learning constitute everyday processes that seek to address the challenges of European territorial development, the results of which are context specific and its implications often contested. This represents the growing diversity within European cities as well as between its regions. It also can set the stage for new and existing territorial governance arrangements. Together these new and existing arrangements constitute a complex layering of institutional and political geographies of agent interaction, which transcend and/or challenge established jurisdictions at varying territorial scales (cross-scalar) and across different institutional remits or responsibilities (‘multi-jurisdictional’). These multi-agent, cross-scalar governance arrangements form systems of multi-level governance with interactions within and between ‘territorial knowledge communities’ (Chapter 2). These processes involve the transfer of formal authority beyond core representative institutions and are the result of both the rescaling of formal authority up to supranational institutions and down to sub-national governments (Hooghe and Marks, 2001). At the same time these processes imply a need to move beyond the ‘hard’ regulatory spaces formed by administrative borders as well as the spaces defined by professional and disciplinary borders. The flexible and dynamic realities of this postenlargement cross-scalar and multi-jurisdictional policy environment create challenges but also opportunities for existing and emerging multi-level governance arrangements. In this consideration there needs to be an appreciation of the dynamic of newly framed policy issues and opportunities in light of particular historical situations and/or legacies (cf. Kingdon 1995; Roness 2001). The processes of accession and enlargement have resulted in many new Member States undergoing significant administrative and institutional transformation. At the same time, the need to address the consequences of the legacy of their socialist and Soviet pasts exacerbates the complexities of their transition. Needless to say, this consideration of the material importance of institutions is by no means a comprehensive appreciation of multi-scalar agent interactivity, as earlier works on the notion of ‘governance’ and its transformation in a European context can attest (Rhodes 1996, 1997; Kooiman 1993; Kohler-Koch 1999). Altogether, though, organizations and the agents that occupy them are social units within the spaces of
institutionalized practices that can have a constraining and/or enabling influence on the competing logics and legitimacies of human agency whilst simultaneously the product of that agency. This is a particularly important element in any thorough consideration of policy stability and change in a policy environment of multi-level governance engagement and transformation. As some of the contributions in this section illustrate, multi-scalar agent interactivity can contribute to both path-shaping and path-dependent processes of policy development. On the back of rescaling national political processes toward new spaces of territorial governance beyond the professional and geographic boundaries of planning practice (Haughton et al. 2010), these changing multiscalar agent practices often can be subject to the vested interests of loyal political alliances, and the traditional silo-mentality of sectorally oriented organizations or government departments (Almendinger and Tewdwr-Jones 2000; Benz 2000). This understanding largely has been argued in this book on the basis of a close and mutualistic relationship between knowledge and political interests. The symbiotic relationship between knowledge and political interests is one of the key components upon which the theoretical framework is based (see Chapter 2). This point appears to be valid at both the EU level and within various domestic contexts. As Dühr et al. argue ‘preparing concepts of European space is a political act. Particular models will favour certain interests and be promoted by them’ (2010:56). The concepts of European space referred to by Dühr et al. correspond with particular types of knowledge resources and this illustrates the relevance of political interests in relation to our theoretical framework. As a result the institutional construction of interests, evident in the mutually constituting processes of knowledge development and utilization, lie at the intersection of knowledge resources and knowledge arenas (Parsons 2003). That is to say, knowledge resources are therefore employed selectively in the representation of policy problems and opportunities or in the advancement of vested interests. Depending on the relative power of these vested interests, they are transmitted via territorial knowledge channels into knowledge arenas where they are tested and validated, or subject to debate and institutionalized rules of policy evaluation. The discussions in the earlier chapters of this book have started to highlight the complexity of the interplay between knowledge and policy development in the enlarged EU and particularly in relation to spatial planning in Europe. The cross-scalar and multi-agent policy landscape of spatial planning in Europe provides a challenging context within which increasingly diverse spatial development challenges and opportunities are to be addressed. The cross-scalar and multi-level governance arrangements that can influence policy development, encapsulated in the theoretical framework as territorial knowledge channels, will only be able to exert such an influence once they have acquired the powers necessary to frame policy issues and opportunities or to safeguard existing policies or approaches. This takes particular note of the complex adaptation paths, and competing institutional and discursive logics that can potentially influence policy development as the following chapters suggest. Put differently, knowledge
and information is the basis upon which all actors perceive or construct their worlds, and derive possible action strategies. Also the preferences over these action strategies can be linked to actors with the capacity or influence to enforce policy change and inspire new actor coalitions, which can alter the distribution of power and influence within a policy domain. Such actors could be in the form of a political champion or a well connected high-level civil servant or academic. Policy change may result not only from changing preferences and interventions of such actors and the dynamics of actor coalitions, but also from changing perceptions of how the policy problem in question is to be defined and what the appropriate solutions are in a given situation (Conzelman 1998). The relevance and importance of power and preferences and a process-oriented approach have already been discussed extensively in Chapter 2 and these elements form an important part of the theoretical framework. This process-oriented approach implies that the simultaneous critique and embrace of concepts and ideas will be advanced through the preferences of certain actors and the power struggles between them. More than this, however, the approach implies that these power struggles and preferences will be supported by knowledge resources and that this will allow them to potentially become progressively embedded in the institutional construction of interests. As discussed in Chapter 2, Conzelmann (1998) identifies two approaches to the study of policy change, supplementing the ‘conflict-based’ (power and preferences) approach discussed above with a ‘learning-based’ (knowledge and information) approach. He stresses how both sets of variables are useful in ‘linking the explanatory strengths of policy-analytical approaches with the descriptional accuracy of the multi-level governance literature’ (p. 7). Namely, the potential for redressing these analytical and descriptive qualities of policy stability and change will be evident in any consideration of the different actors and tensions of a multi-jurisdictional policy environment where some push for more technocratic solutions and others push for more political debate. This is evident, for example, in the complexity and growth of independent agencies that can insulate public policy from public scrutiny whereby knowledge has become the ‘terrain of politics’ whilst the public sphere has become ‘depoliticized’ (cf. Radaelli 1999, Haughton et al. 2010). Notwithstanding the processes of purposeful misinformation and actors’ inaccessibility to information, the theoretical framework particularly highlights the intra-/extra-community links of territorial governance arrangements within and between territorial knowledge communities of diverse actors. That is, the diverse form and nature of engagement among territorial knowledge communities with systems of multi-level governance. Moreover, these links reflect the potential for learning and conflict with regard to consensual/disputed or absent knowledge bases and shared/unshared interests within the complex adaptive processes of incremental and radical policy change. Styles of territorial governance and spatial planning follow a process of constant incremental adjustment in response to new policy agendas and priorities. During the 1990s however, institutional reform was more rapid and radical in
the countries aspiring to join the EU due to the approaching accession. Similar radical change, although not as dramatic, was underway in Western Europe at the end of the decade, with a number of countries undertaking fundamental reforms of governance arrangements (cf. Albrechts et al. 2001). In fact, reform and innovation in governance have been defining characteristics in so many countries, both east and west, partly as a result of common challenges such as the ‘network society’ (Albrechts and Mandelbaum 2005), economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and, more recently, climate change. In almost all countries the hallmark of reform has been the extension of multi-level governance and particularly the increasing significance of the regional (subnational) level. Innovation also has been encouraged through extensive transnational and cross-border cooperation, which have enhanced opportunities for policy transfer and the exchange of experiences and good practice, and exposed actors increasingly to the influence of European discourse and policy statements on territorial governance. More importantly, however, simple typologies of governance and spatial planning are becoming more difficult to apply as reforms incorporate a greater diversity of arrangements and respond to diverse national and local contexts. This has created a scalar ‘layering’ of governance arrangements in response to changing imperatives over time, which are superimposed on existing professional/institutional remits and political jurisdictions (cf. Nadin 2002; Brennar 2004; Deas and Lord 2008, Haughton et al. 2009). The roles and relations between a greater range of actors horizontally across sectors, vertically between levels of government, and geographically are now much more varied. In light of these complexities, it is not surprising therefore that the application and effect of the reforms has not always been successful. The transfer and adaptation of ‘best practices’ from elsewhere in the interests of innovation through policy transfer and integration has not always taken account of local contexts. That is to say, there may be problems with adaptation because of local capacities and other constraints, or more fundamental issues to do with the mismatch of models of territorial governance and the models of society in which they are embedded (see Stead and Meijers 2009 for review). In some places this has contributed to a divergence of formal governance arrangements and the reality of policy and action. In simple terms, plans and policies may be prepared but they have little bearing on the way that places are ultimately governed. Thus there are important lessons, especially for the transposition of approaches to territorial governance and the engagement of systems of multi-level governance. In this regard, Dominic Stead and Vincent Nadin (Chapter 7) explore the shifts in territorial governance and the issue of Europeanization of spatial planning. Their discussion offers an insightful look into the ongoing discussions of the innovation and transformation of European governance as an ‘experimental field’ of extensive transnational and cross-border cooperation (cf. Janin Rivolin and Faludi 2005, Stead and Meijers 2009). Similar to the contribution by Finka (Chapter 5), the authors start by discussing some common spatial development challenges and explore these in the context of the implications of EU enlargement. The authors focus specifically on the CEE reality and link this to the need for more
effective territorial governance structures and practices. The discussion then focuses on the concept of Europeanization, which is explained with reference to the flows of policy, information and experience between diverse actors in the cross-scalar and multi-jurisdictional policy environment of the enlarged EU. The vertical (top-down), horizontal (between Member States) and circular (domestic contexts to EU level and back to domestic contexts) flows are examined in turn and this provides a context within which policy transfer and the value of good and best practices are explored. Both policy transfer and the use of good and best practice have been promoted in a variety of policy fields, and the discussion examines the value and extent of such approaches in the post enlargement reality. In the second half of the chapter the authors examine the diversity of planning traditions and practices in the heterogeneous landscape of spatial planning in Europe and assess the extent to which Europeanization has contributed to any sort of convergence. The chapter makes a valuable contribution to the rationale for the book through its examination of the interplay between knowledge (particularly expert knowledge) and policy development in the context of these wider processes and the role of diverse networks and communities in this context. In Chapter 8 Marot explores the creation of new jurisdictions and responsibilities for the delivery of spatial planning in Slovenia. She carefully considers these changes to be an outcome of transitional processes or restructuring of political and socio-economic systems within and between new Member States, identifying a host of issues that arise through the creation of these jurisdictions and responsibilities for the delivery of spatial planning. The developmental impact of European enlargement takes on unique characteristics throughout many cities and regions. The consequences not only impact the objects of European enlargement, in other words the new EU Member States, but also the existing Member States or subjects of this process. In fact, the repercussions of European enlargement often involve significant changes caused by transitional processes within and between new Member States by way of socio-economic transformation and modified ways of life. On the one hand, new developments in economic activity and social mobility impact upon land use, while, on the other hand, they reflect the constantly changing needs of individuals. Furthermore, in often concerted efforts to accommodate these changes, new planning jurisdictions are created and planning responsibilities are assigned to deliver on spatial planning requirements. But along with these new planning jurisdictions and assignments comes a host of issues concerning planning delivery. Marot outlines some examples in addition to providing a thought provoking discussion on the delivery of spatial planning in Slovenia. First, the evolution of the Slovenian planning system and legislation is described along with the challenges posed in the context of scant resources and the rapid emergence of new jurisdictions. The small size of Slovenia has clear implications in terms of the extent and nature of the communities and networks engaged in policy development in the field of spatial planning, and the evolution of the territorial cohesion discourse is examined in this context. Finally, Marot uses Krtina to elucidate the challenges to delivering spatial
planning in Slovenia, highlighting the implications of scant resources at the local level. The chapter makes a valuable contribution to the rationale for the book through its consideration of the role of knowledge and the role of expert communities in the rapid evolution of a planning system of a small country dealing with the realities and challenges of the post-enlargement EU. In the first of the remaining two chapters Dąbrowski (Chapter 9) offers an insightful look at the challenges of civic engagement and the implementation of European Structural Funds. The author develops a two-fold approach that examines state efficiency and the potential evolution in institutional arrangements, whilst exploring the extent to which collective learning-by-practice has helped to free Government from organizational features inherited from its socialist past. Dąbrowski explores the possibility for regional planning delivery and the creation of new channels of civic participation in this context, exploring path-dependent notions of institutional change and the embeddedness of socio-cultural features of technocratic networks in Poland, and casting new light on cultural and legal dimensions of Europeanization. The author takes an insightful look at the practice of partnership and the development of civic society in Poland as it seeks to address its enduring socialist legacy, examining the potential for new channels of agent interactivity in the processes of regional policy formulation and the implementation of Structural Funds. First, the challenges of administrative reform when confronted with the realities of dealing with the socialist legacy are discussed. Dąbrowski explores these challenges through the formulation of regional policy and the creation of new channels of participation and focuses upon a case study examining the management of the structural funds in Lower Silesia. The case study allows various barriers to the notion of change to be examined and the implications for collective learning to be assessed. The rhetoric and reality of civic engagement, partnership and the establishment of technocratic networks are unpacked and ultimately the chapter challenges path-dependent notions of institutional change and ‘social capital’, as it sheds new light on cultural and legal dimensions of Europeanization. The final contribution by Haselberger and Benneworth (Chapter 10) goes beyond the emphases on ‘discursive European integration’ of policy communities or networks (Böhme 2002) towards one that examines the influential tactics of agents in multi-jurisdictional environments of intersecting political and economic systems out of which new governance arrangements are created to bridge communication gaps. Using the dynamics of cross-border cooperation in the soft space consisting of the Austrian city-hinterland of the Slovakian capital Bratislava as an example, Haselberger and Benneworth draw out the challenges of multi-jurisdictional regional development, placing emphasis on agent reflexivity and learning. In this context, the authors explore the sustainability of longstanding decentralized cooperation structures that are not necessarily underpinned by policy communities or networks. They build on this attention to sustainable cooperation, held by many EU policy-makers, and explore crossborder planning in the complex governance context in which it is often
administered. In light of this objective, the authors suggest cross-border planning can be a matter of perspective. That is, the fruits of cooperation processes often will be discursively framed by those involved, and by their interests in, and readiness for cooperation. Along the course of these planning processes, governance arrangements are made to bridge communication gaps within and between organizations. But the quality and depth of cooperation can be affected or jeopardized by the complexity of conflicting legal frameworks and unstable institutional partnerships, although these are not the only, or sometimes even the most influential threats to effective cross-border cooperation. In their closer look at cross-border cooperation, Haselsberger and Benneworth identify and discuss a multi-dimensional view of ‘proximity’ between agents in these complex environments, offering new insights into current debates on spatial governance and territorial identity. After an initial examination of the evolution of the concept of borders in the context of European planning and the evolution of cross-border planning in a multi-jurisdictional policy environment, the authors begin to explore the role of expert communities in these processes. The concepts of epistemic communities and communities of practice, two key features of the theoretical framework for this book, are examined in the context of the case study. The discussion provides valuable insights into the context of the roles of territorial knowledge communities in soft planning spaces and is therefore highly relevant and makes a valuable contribution to the theoretical framework for the book.