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ESPON BRIDGES – Territories with Geographical Specificities

Territories with geographical specificities face challenges that prevent them from competing with other regions. The EU recognizes this and is committed to ensuring territorial cohesion with appropriate policies. However, there is no statistically significant concentration of economic laggardness or demographic decline in TGS (Territories with Geographical Specificities). In order to support effective policy-making in TGS, one has to distinguish between a geographic specificity and objective factors of constraint – such as lack of critical mass, remoteness, low accessibility. ESPON BRIDGES sets out to explore how territorial policies may take better account of TGS-related patterns and trends, how policy makers may address geographic specificities and how TGS may help European sectoral policies to reach their objectives.

The approach of ESPON BRIDGES bases on investigation of 20 case studies which represent four main geographical specificities: mountains, islands, sparsely populated areas and coastal areas. The case studies are crossed with nine thematic modules: innovation, sustainable tourism, Public Service Obligations in the field of transport, social-innovation and services of general interest, labour market transitions, residential economy, conservation, energy, climate change.

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The findings show a large diversity of situations even within the same geographic specificity and call for a place-based approach. TGS are particularly suitable for elaboration of territorial strategies concerning the interface between human activities and natural environment, given that they are characterized by environmental assets and vulnerabilities. Moreover, support to TGS should be characterized by a cross-sectoral approach, given that issues concerning these territories are complex and intertwined. In the project, ÖIR has conducted a case study on Polish Tatra Mountains with focus on sustainable tourism, residential economy and conservation.

Duration: 2017-2019

Project team: Martyna Derszniak-Noirjean, Erich Dallhammer

Partners: Spatial Foresight (Lead Partner); UHI Perth, Nordregio, Technopolis, Univ. of Liverpool, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, TCP-Int, University of Geneva – GEDT, E-cubed, Eurac Research, WYG – Croatia, University of Cambridge, University of Akureyri (UNAK)

Client: ESPON EGTC (via Spatial Foresight)

Download: Projekt description, ESPON-website