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  • Open Access
  • © 2019

Regional and Local Development in Times of Polarisation

Re-thinking Spatial Policies in Europe

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Features expert analysis from the leading researchers in the field of socio-spatial polarisation and uneven development

  • Combines critical geographical thought and spatial studies perspectives with planning approaches, economic development perspectives and issues of policy and politics

  • The first book to examine regional policy, uneven development and issues of spatial development using an integrated perspective

  • Valuable resource for scholars, students and policy makers working in sub-regional, regional, national and European administration and regional development projects

Part of the book series: New Geographies of Europe (NGE)

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Table of contents (15 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxiv
  2. Re-thinking Regional and Local Policies in Times of Polarisation: An Introduction

    • Franziska Görmar, Thilo Lang, Erika Nagy, Garri Raagmaa
    Pages 1-25Open Access
  3. Socio-Spatial Polarisation in the EU and Questions of Power

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 27-27
    2. Geographical Uneven Development and Regional Futures: A Conversation

      • Ray Hudson, John Pickles
      Pages 29-59Open Access
  4. Regional and Cohesion Policies (Re-)producing Socio-Spatial Disparities

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 95-95
    2. Re-conceptualising Territorial Cohesion Through the Prism of Spatial Justice: Critical Perspectives on Academic and Policy Discourses

      • Rhys Jones, Sami Moisio, Mikko Weckroth, Michael Woods, Juho Luukkonen, Frank Meyer et al.
      Pages 97-119Open Access
    3. Divergent Paths to Cohesion: The (Unintended) Consequences of a Place-Based Cohesion Policy

      • Stefan Telle, Martin Špaček, Daniela Crăciun
      Pages 149-172Open Access
    4. Urban Growth Pole Policy and Regional Development: Old Wine in New Bottles?

      • József Benedek, Ştefana Varvari, Cristian Marius Litan
      Pages 173-195Open Access
  5. Responses to Regional Polarisation and Alternative Perspectives

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 225-225
  6. Conclusions: About the Relevance of Scientific Research for Political Practice and Policy Making

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 343-343
    2. Translating Scientific Results: Encouraging Reflective Policies as a Chance for Change

      • Sorin Cebotari, Tomas Hanell, Thilo Lang
      Pages 369-382Open Access

About this book

Despite the emphasis of the European Regional Policy on territorial cohesion, regional disparities have been increasing within Europe in the past years. The metropolitan areas in almost all countries are considerably growing while regions outside of agglomerations are stagnating or even declining. Against this background this book aims to provide an understanding of the underlying processes of polarisation and related regional and local policies.

This open access volume contributes to the debates about polarisation and regional development by focussing on questions of spatial justice, power distribution and policy transfer. Theoretical and empirically grounded contributions show that European policies are indeed reproducing socio-spatial inequalities instead of challenging them. The book shows further the existing potentials and limits of individuals, economic, political and civil society actors to respond to polarisation on the regional and local level.

In this book conceptual thoughts on polarisation, regional policy and regional development are combined with empirical research and resulting implications for policymaking. As such, it is a valuable source for early career students and researchers as well as professionals in the field of regional and economic development, policy consultants, and policy makers.


  • peripheralization
  • spatial planning
  • European studies
  • regional development
  • socio-spatial polarisation
  • regional policy
  • spatial studies
  • spatial development
  • Open Access


“I wholeheartedly recommend this book, not only for scholars in the fields of regional development and policy, spatial planning and geography, but for all those who want to better understand the spatial dynamics of contemporary Europe.” (Szabolcs Fabula, Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, Vol. 68 (4), 2019)

“The book is timely and highly relevant for the current debates around re-imagining the Cohesion Policy. … The volume is of interest and a useful resource for all those searching to understand regional inequalities as a ‘relational, multi-dimensional and multi-scalar concept’, as well as for those interested in conceptual and policy alternatives to current framework of Cohesion Policy.” (Mihail EVA, Eastern Journal of European Studies, Vol. 10 (1), 2019)

“The book makes a valuable contribution to the burgeoning debate on socio-spatial polarisation, especially with respect to our understanding of the specificities of CEE countries, where sub-national administrative capacity and civil society organizations are nothing like western-centric scholars imagine them to be.” (Kevin Morgan, Eurasian Geography and Economics, June 20, 2019)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Global and European Studies Institute, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

    Thilo Lang

  • Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

    Thilo Lang, Franziska Görmar

About the editors

Thilo Lang is Head of the Department of Regional Geography of Europe at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Germany, and Lecturer at the Global and European Studies Institute at the University of Leipzig, Germany.

Franziska Görmar is Project Manager and Research Fellow at Department of Regional Geography of Europe at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Germany.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Regional and Local Development in Times of Polarisation

  • Book Subtitle: Re-thinking Spatial Policies in Europe

  • Editors: Thilo Lang, Franziska Görmar

  • Series Title: New Geographies of Europe

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-981-13-1189-5Published: 05 February 2019

  • eBook ISBN: 978-981-13-1190-1Published: 23 January 2019

  • Series ISSN: 2633-5891

  • Series E-ISSN: 2633-593X

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXIV, 382

  • Number of Illustrations: 15 b/w illustrations, 13 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Human Geography, Urban Studies/Sociology, Regional and Cultural Studies, European Politics

Buy it now

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access