Integrating Regional Development and Planning into “Spatial Planning” in Finland: The Untapped Potential of the Kainuu Experiment

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With Finland’s accession to the European Union in 1995, a regional level of administration responsible for regulation-based land-use planning and incentive-driven regional development policy was introduced. The administration of both policies on the same spatial scale and within the same organisation suggests increased coordination of spatial impacts and a move towards an integrated conception of spatial planning. In practice, however, the relationship of these two fields remains ambiguous. In the Finnish case, one potential explanation for this detachment lies in the de facto weakness of the regional scale. In the Kainuu region in Northeastern Finland, ambitions to strengthen the regional scale resulted in a self-government experiment between 2005 and 2012. This article addresses the implementation of this experiment, its implications for integrated regional governance and the lessons to be learned for the upcoming regional reform in Finland.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-174
Number of pages26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Spatial planning, Cohesion policy, regional development, regional planning, periphery, Kainuu experiment, Northeastern Finland

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