City-regional policies in the planning systems of Finland and Austria: National initiatives and European opportunities

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The potential of city regions to frame spatial development is widely acknowledged, and lately increasingly supported by top-down policy interventions. This article investigates and compares national city-regional policies in Finland and Austria. Owing to differences in their administrative systems, planning traditions and political agendas, the two countries rely on a distinct set of policy interventions. Moreover, the article addresses city-regional policies originating from the European Union and discusses their overlap and complementarity with national initiatives. The three cases provide examples of regulatory, discursive and remunerative policy interventions, which either explicitly or implicitly support city-regional cooperation. The plurality of interventions confirms the understanding of city regions as soft spaces, in which there is no single ideal approach to governance and planning. Instead, city-regional cooperation can be understood as diverse and multi-layered processes, which might require a plurality of policy responses.


Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • city region, spatial planning, comparative framework, cooperation, soft space, European Union, Austria, Finland

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ID: 34033498