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Here you can find all articles published during 2005.

Refereed articles


The role of environmental NGOs and citizen groups (#18)

Karel Martens


While there is a vast body of literature on participatory planning, researchers have hardly addressed the question of how traditional modes of governance can be turned into more democratic forms of decision-making. The aim of this article is to investigate to what extent non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can serve as change agents. Following the classical role of NGOs as a watchdog over governmental operations, it is hypothesized that participatory experiments instigated by NGOs might come closer to the communicative ideal than their government-initiated counterparts. The hypothesis is tested using an experiment with democratic planning in Haifa, Israel. The main conclusion of the analysis is that NGOs may be able to pressure governmental institutions into altering existing practices, but that the dominant actors remain the ones that shape such new practices. The consequence here being that NGO-instigated participatory practices suffer from the same shortcomings as the democratic experiments initiated by governmental bodies. The article ends with two suggestions on how NGOs could gain more control over the design of new democratic practices.

20pp (Refereed Articles, November 2005, no 18)

Martens, K. (2005). The role of environmental NGOs and citizen groups, European Journal of Spatial Development, 18


Hypermobility and the Planning of Society (#17)

Tore Sager


The almost utopian state in which most people behave as if they were footloose and fancy-free has the potential to bring about a situation where transport planning no longer relies on forecasts. The type of decision-making that is prevalent in a society depends upon the kinds of information available. In modern, Western-type democracies, it is taken for granted that well- informed planning and decision-making are grounded in the reliable prediction of impacts. Therefore, if unlimited mobility undermines predictability, it poses a threat to public planning and democratic governance in the transport sector. This exploratory and somewhat speculative essay about a possible future analyzes the planning consequences of the ‘death-of-distance’ literature. It seeks to clarify just how planning might be transformed by the loss of consequential impact analysis. It is moreover Suggested that the likely responses to mobility-induced unpredictability – private rule following and public planning rituals – would challenge modernist ideals.

23pp (Refereed Articles, September 2005, no 17)

Sager, T. (2005). Hypermobility and the Planning of Society, European Journal of Spatial Development, 17


The Dangers of Transplanting Planning Instruments: The case of land fragmentation in Central Europe (#16)

Terry van Dijk


After the collapse of socialism and the consequent land privatisation process, Central Europe was left with an unfavourable agricultural production structure. In this light, the exchange of Western European knowledge on land consolidation seemed logical and effective. Looking back, a match that seemed at the time to be straightforward now appears much more complex. This paper aims to provide insight into the complexity of transplanting planning instruments by analysing both the inherent problems of this approach and the alternative solutions. In this type of situation, the need to start from a transparent terminological base is vital to cross-national exchange, and, as such, the strategic issue of a given problem and alternative solutions to it should be dealt with before attempting to address the operational details of any given solution.

39 pp (Refereed Articles, September 2005, no 16)

Van Dijk, T. (2005). The Dangers of Transplanting Planning Instruments: The case of land fragmentation in Central Europe, European Journal of Spatial Development, 16


 Regional science research in the Nordic countries in the light of some chosen international journals (#15)

Raul Ramos, Vicente Royuela & Juan Carlos Duque


This article analyzes the evolution of research in regional science in the Nordic countries in the period 1991-2000, situating it in an international context. With this aim in mind, we first elaborate on the rankings of countries, authors and institutions in terms of the publications in a sample of nine top international regional journals. Second, we compare the publication patterns of Nordic authors with the ones observed at the international level. The results show that the Nordic countries’ share in regional research has been relatively low (especially when compared to other disciplines). Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway appear in the rankings while Iceland is not present. The analysis of their publication patterns has also thrown some light on the peculiarities of regional research in these countries. Nordic author’s contributions are on a par with international standards, with two exceptions: a greater interest in social and political issues, and more use of quantitative techniques.

21 pp (Refereed Articles, September 2005, no 15)

Ramos, R., Royuela, V. & Duque, J.C. (2005). Regional science research in the Nordic countries in the light of some chosen international journals, European Journal of Spatial Development, 15


Potential Implications of the EU Water Framework Directive in Sweden (#14)

Beatrice Hedelin


The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is currently being implemented throughout Europe. As the Directive is likely to introduce major changes to the way in which water is managed in Sweden, this study aims to highlight some of the potential implications of its implementation. The requests of the WFD are compared with the current Swedish municipal system for water planning. Both organisationally and in terms of actual content the current study highlights significant differences in both approach and outcomes. The organisational changes envisaged will bring about a situation where, in essence, two parallel water management planning systems exist. This however implies that there will be significant problems ahead in terms of accountability and legitimacy, as the formal relationship between these separate systems is not clear, while the new system lacks clear linkages to the representative democratic model. The identified differences in terms of content however imply a more effective approach to water management and the potential for a more informed planning process. In order to make this arrangement work, forms of effective co-operation between the municipalities and the Water Authorities, as well as for the involvement of the general public and other concerned interests, need to be developed.

17pp (Refereed Articles, May 2005, no 14)

Hedelin, B. (2005). Potential Implications of the EU Water Framework Directive in Sweden, European Journal of Spatial Development, 14


Research briefings


Marigold beds and villa horses: Low-density housing in Norway (#2)

Kjell Harvold & Eva Falleth


A number of rural municipalities in Norway suffer from population decline. In an effort to attract new residents, local authorities would like to offer large, attractive and secluded building sites. Moreover, such developments are occurring at the same time as Norway is attempting to reformulate its agricultural policy. The new multifunctional agriculture policy (‘Landbruk pluss’) denotes the Norwegian Government’s new thinking. It seeks to promote new business, jobs and attractive housing schemes – in addition to reducing regulatory complexity. However, local councils may potentially run into problems putting this new policy into practice because the low -density housing model that they espouse in many ways contradicts traditional planning policy, which has tended to favour high density housing. Does this mean that low-density housing could become a ‘planning problem’? This is the question discussed in this article. The article also focuses on the question of population change in Norway over the last decade: What kind of population distribution pattern can we detect – and thus, can a new housing policy have any influence on the population distribution pattern?

10pp (Articles, November 2005, no 2)

Harvold, K. & Falleth, E. (2005). Marigold beds and villa horses: Low-density housing in Norway, European Journal of Spatial Development, Research Briefing No. 2


Debate articles


What is the role/meaning of planning theory today?

Christer Bengs & Tore Sager


The planning context across Europe is changing for a number of reasons. Firstly, given the increased level of competition associated with the liberalisation of markets and globalisation more generally, the continuing need for ever more productive investments are accentuated. In this context, environmental standards are often among the first casualties. Secondly, globalisation underpins the need for high-quality environments and attractive localities for consumption. Thirdly, globalisation causes the restructuring of existing urban systems, which can have a dramatic impact on individual localities.

Planning theory as pursued by the profession has therefore to submit or adjust to whatever trends are currently prevailing, or must stand up for matters that are considered essential, or is often obliged to do both.The question therefore arises, in what direction are we going, and what is the role/meaning of planning theory today?


Bengs, C. (2005). Planning Theory for the naive? Debate, European Journal of Spatial Development

Sager, T. (2005). Communicative Planners as Naïve Mandarins of the Neo-liberal State? Debate, European Journal of Spatial Development