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Planning regional development: Promoting small settlements in a trans-frontier situation

Abstract

Under communism local authorities tended to be largely passive bystanders in a regional development process which emerged through the central planning process through the spatial allocations of investment by government ministries. Attention was given to physical planning, but comparatively little material entered the public domain on location policy and spatial priorities generally, apart from the objective of greater equality between regions and a commitment to backward areas generally. Now that much investment is down to private enterprise and government has become more decentralised and accountable, there is a need for concepts and strategies to coordinate public sector investment and provide guidelines for the evaluation of private development proposals. At the same time, there is an open competition for investment which requires communities to promote themselves in terms of their identity and development potential. This paper offers an overview by taking two countries - Hungary and Romania - where progress can be compared and where the focus can be placed on a common frontier which is diverting attention from conventional regional planning to cross-border cooperation. In both contexts however, attention is given to the ways in which planning can divert investment away from the main centres to the peripheral areas, including action to strengthen the role of small towns and also to improve cohesion among functionally-related groups of settlements and communes.

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Nagy, E., Turnock, D. Planning regional development: Promoting small settlements in a trans-frontier situation. GeoJournal 50, 255–271 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007105700983

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  • backward areas
  • cross-border cooperation
  • Hungary
  • regional development
  • Romania
  • rural areas
  • small towns