Towards a Europe of the localities? Integrated place-based approaches in cohesion policy in 2014-20 and beyond

Arno Van Der Zwet

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The Cohesion policy regulations for the 2014-20 programme period provide a new framework for supporting integrated territorial development approaches in the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). In the context of European Regional Development Fund, some of these approaches are obligatory (i.e. ring-fenced budgets for urban development) whereas others are voluntary (e.g. Integrated Territorial Investments and Community-led Local Development). These approaches are part of a longer term shift and reflect increased awareness of place-based theory in policy aspirations, recognising that an integrated mix of policy interventions is needed to fully exploit development potential of territories. Besides finding more efficient and targeted ways to implement territorial development policies, such approaches reflect the new commitment to territorial cohesion in the EU Treaty and ambitions to give local actors greater influence and decision-making powers in local economic development plans. Drawing on cross-national evidence from across the EU, this paper examines the extent to which these place-based approaches are being implemented effectively, variations in approaches across EU countries and the underlying causal factors (including path dependence, bureaucratic politics, administrative capacity and regulatory tensions). More generally, the paper examines the potential of the new instruments to contribute to territorial de
velopment in the post-crisis period and to a re-configuration of territorial governance in Europe by increasing the role of local authorities in Cohesion policy
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015
EventChallenges for the New Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 - Riga, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Feb 20156 Feb 2015


ConferenceChallenges for the New Cohesion Policy 2014-2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • cohesion policy
  • European cohesion policy


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