Online archive - find the most current content at


Here you can find all articles published during 2004.

Refereed articles


Beyond Evaluation Standards? (#13)

Petri Virtanen and Ilpo Laitinen


It has now become a truism to suggest that evaluation is a highly respected, appreciated and venerated enterprise. This article is based on three central claims. First, evaluation standards and ethical principles are useful only to the extent that one recognizes what they can and cannot do. Secondly, they can never be applied in algorithmic fashion, but must always be interpreted in the evaluation ‘case’ at hand. And thirdly, they are, at least to some extent, shaped by cultural norms and understandings. It appears, as this article concludes, that morally correct action does not become certified on the basis of an order or a norm, because even one counter-example is enough to conclude that dependency between a morally correct action and a norm is not logically valid. Morality should also express an individual's own freedom and the motives of action related to it. Standards do not have any causal consequences as such.

15pp (Refereed Articles, October 2004, no 13)

Virtanen, P. & Laitinen, I. (2004). Beyond Evaluation Standards? European Journal of Spatial Development, 13


Disaster Prevention in Urban Environments (#12)

Henk Voogd


Disasters always have very undesirable consequences, especially when they occur in urban environments. This paper discusses some problems with regard to disaster prevention policy in the Netherlands. This policy was put to the test in May 2000, when a devastating fireworks accident in the Dutch town Enschede took place, destroying a significant part of the built environment of this town, with an investigation by an independent evaluation committee painfully highlighting the failure of the local and national authorities’ preventative policies. The Enschede disaster stimulated many new activities at various levels of government with regard to the need to improve disaster prevention and control. However, recent studies reveal that the lessons of Enschede have yet to be put into practice. This raises questions about the usefulness of a ‘command-and-control’ prevention approach. Alternative approaches are discussed and a comparison is made with the implementation of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

20pp (Refereed Articles, September 2004, no 12)

Voogd, H. (2004). Disaster Prevention in Urban Environments, European Journal of Spatial Development, 12


Spatial County Planning as a Regional Legitimating Process (#11)

Roar Amdam


In Norway’s new regional policy setup, the 19 county municipalities have been given a key role as regional planning and development actors. This is not however a completely new role for the counties, though their role has undoubtedly been strengthened, while at the same time the locus of national regional development policy seems to have moved from government to governance. This change of policy implies that the regional planning and development work done by the counties must be a collaborative process between the international, national, regional and local levels, and between the public, private and voluntary sectors. In a regional policy process based on governance however, the counties will not be the only regional development actors. They have to cooperate and compete with other established and newly created regional development actors and agencies in order to become political legitimate institutions. As far as we have scientific knowledge about how the counties will fulfil their role, we believe that they can only do the best they can within the room for manoeuvre bequeathed to them in the context of the actual political power structure adopted. In this paper, we will discuss county planning in the context of the formation of ‘political will’ seeing it as a legitimating process, focusing in the main on the interaction between the state level and the local authorities. As far as can be seen from a ‘political legitimacy’ perspective, this process is incomplete, lacking in particular the juridical discourses of national state support for the counties through the delivery of legal acceptance and the economic tools designed for the role of regional development actor. Thus, the process fails to fulfil the legitimating ‘bottom up’ process, while in addition failing to bestow county planning with the necessarily level of ‘top down’ legitimacy and acceptance. As long as this weakness exists in county planning, the counties will suffer from a ‘power deficit’ as they will continue to lack the very tools needed to become powerful regional development actors in the new regional policy framework.

22pp (Refereed Articles, September 2004, no 11)

Amdam, R. (2004). Spatial County Planning as a Regional Legitimating Process, European Journal of Spatial Development, 11


Incorporating the Impact of ICT into Urban and Regional Planning (#10)

Juha Talvitie


This article examines the need for urban and regional planning practices to be further developed in the light of both the emergence of the information/knowledge/network society and in particular the impact of information and communications technology, (ICT), on spatial change. The ways in which urban and regional planning practices may best be altered in this regard is also addressed.

One major aspect of current spatial development trends can be highlighted with reference to the changing nature of our advanced societies’ economic base, where knowledge and skills are becoming the most important factors in production. This fundamental economic change moreover envisages a whole host of new functional and organisational possibilities. In consequence, the traditional ways of running businesses in industry, services and other organisations, as well as the activities of every day life will also undergo a process of fundamental change. Additionally, changes in the traditional prerequisites governing the location of various activities will occur because they now have new determinants.

These developments moreover will have a diversified spatial impact. Therefore, ICT, as the main driving force in the development of the information society, should be taken into account in urban and regional planning as an important new aspect in this process. Planners should therefore recognise this new need and challenge.

The incorporation of the spatial impact of ICT into planning practices will not however occur without the purposeful actions of those who are responsible for practical planning or those who regulate and support planning.

Thus, there is a clear need for further information, knowledge and understanding about the spatial impact of ICT and about its consequences on urban and regional development. Planners need updated education and training as well as new planning methods and models based on new spatial and urban theories. In addition, planning legislation and governmental guidelines should include provisions for the impact of the development of the information society and ICT on planning.

32pp (Refereed Articles, September 2004, no 10)

Talvitie, j. (2004). Incorporating the Impact of ICT into Urban and Regional Planning, European Journal of Spatial Development, 10


Processes of Residential Differentiation in Socialist Cities: Literature Review on the cases of Budapest, Prague, Tallinn and Warsaw (#9)

Sampo Ruoppila


This paper reviews the literature on the processes of residential differentiation in Budapest, Prague, Tallinn and Warsaw during the era of state socialism. It identifies the housing types that were part of the housing provision regime at different periods of the socialist era, and discusses the inequalities in access to them, examining how they affected the development of the socio-spatial pattern. The study finds that despite the egalitarian ideology of socialism, the socialist housing provision system produced several socio-occupational residential differentiations. Sometimes these were the direct result of projects conducted by the public sector itself; there were inequalities in access to public rental housing. Sometimes these were a result of the toleration of, or support for, differentiation in co-operative and owner-occupied housing. Furthermore, the study finds that there was continuity in the appreciation of some residential areas. Therefore, developments during socialism did not always challenge the capitalist past, but rather actually often continued its socio-spatial patterns, especially within inner city areas.

24pp (Refereed Articles, February 2004, no 9)

Ruoppila, S. (2004). Processes of Residential Differentiation in Socialist Cities: Literature Review on the cases of Budapest, Prague, Tallinn and Warsaw, European Journal of Spatial Development, 9


Debate articles


The ‘Third Report on Economic and Social Cohesion

was published by the European Commission on the 18th of February 2004.

Christer Bengs, Andreas Faludi, Heikki Eskelinen & Ilari Karppi


The report is likely to have a central role in shaping policy discussions on cohesion and regional development related issues for the foreseeable future, not least because it provides a blueprint for European cohesion policy after EU-enlargement in May 2004 and for the next Structural Funds programming period beyond 2006. It is also highly relevant to academic research in this area, e.g. through the work undertaken within the ESPON research framework

To highlight this important event we will have a number of experts on regional policy and cohesion commenting on the report, its findings and its academic relevance.


Bengs, C. (2004). Introduction to a discussion on the third cohesion report: Policy-relevant research and research-relevant policy, Debate, European Journal of Spatial Development

Faludi, A. (2004). The Third Cohesion Report and the European Spatial Development Perspective, Debate, European Journal of Spatial Development

Eskelinen, H. (2004). Third report on economic and social cohesion, Debate, European Journal of Spatial Development

Karppi, I. (2004). The Social Aspects of Enlargement: Reflections on the 2004 Cohesion Report, Debate, European Journal of Spatial Development