South Europe: Europe and its Places

Territory matters. Since 2000, ESPON (European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion) has developed research projects to contribute to a knowledge‐base insight into territorial dynamics, by providing pan‐European evidence and findings about European territorial structures, trends, perspectives and policy impacts. All this can help regions, cities and larger territories take evidence‐based decisions on their future development opportunities for growth as well as challenges. ESPON supports policy development in relation to EU Cohesion Policy by establishing explicit territorial targets for Cohesion and Structural funds, as well as enhancing the territorial dimension of other policies. Territorial Cohesion is largely associated with an integrated approach to development. It entails an improved coordination of public policies, which takes into account in a more systematic way the issues such as the territorial impact, the promotion of European territorial cooperation and the improved multilevel governance and partnerships. It favours the full implementation of a place‐based approach at regional and local levels and reinforces the coordination and strategic spatial planning at the EU level.