chapter  4
24 Pages

Strategic planning and regional governance in Europe: Recent trends and policy responses

ByLOUIS ALBRECHTS

Europe is facing major developments, challenges, and opportunities that are affecting its cities and regions, either directly or indirectly. They include: grow - ing complexity (rise of new technologies, changes in production processes, the crisis of representative democracy, diversity, globalization of culture and the economy, rising costs of energy); the financial crisis and the subsequent economic crisis; persistently uneven development; the problems of fragmenta - tion; the aging population; and the increasing interest (at all scales, from local to global) in environmental issues (e.g. global warming) (Albrechts 2001, 2004, 2006). Moreover, this agenda is expanded by: the need for governments to adopt a more entrepreneurial style of planning in order to enhance regional, city region, and urban competitiveness; the growing aware ness that some planning concepts (i.e. learning regions, knowledge commun ities, industrial districts, compact cities, livable cities, creative cities, multicultural cities, fair cities) cannot be achieved solely through physical hard planning; and the fact that (in addition to traditional land use regulation, urban maintenance, pro - duction, and management of services) governments are being called upon to respond to new demands that imply the abandonment of bureaucratic approaches and the involvement of skills and resources that are external to the traditional administrative apparatus.