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THE EUROPEANIZATION OF REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: LOCAL STRATEGIES AND EUROPEAN SPATIAL VISIONS IN NORTHERN FINLAND

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT.

By exploring the Europeanization of current practices of regional spatial planning, this article sets out to demonstrate the evolution of the European integration project. Specifically, by creating spaces of engagement to which the local and regional actors are “forced” to adapt, the emergence of European spatial planning has made planning practices at the regional level more complex and complicated. As such, the present study contributes to the current understandings of Europeanization by exploring the European integration process through the geographical conceptualizations of space and scale. These conceptualizations are used to illustrate the multidimensionality, complexity and subtlety of the geographies of Europeanization. The empirical investigations show that regional and local spatial policies are strongly engaged – both explicitly through the “technicalities” and implicitly through the “mentalities”– to the spaces of Europeanization. The engagement affects the effectiveness of sub‐regional spatial planning by promoting mismatches between the strategic frameworks and the material practices of the policy. Overall, the article illustrates that the geographies of Europeanization are continuous processes, which take place – often unrecognizably – in manifold discursive and material practices in various geographical contexts.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0467.2011.00376.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography, PO Box 3000 FIN-90014 University of Oulu Oulu, Finland,

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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