The ’meta-review’ of ‘The Poverty of Territorialism’ by Alois Humer (2020) in Raumforschung und Raumordnung deserves a meta-answer, starting with observing the coincidence of its being reviewed in a journal once implicated in the Third Reich (Kübler 2007; Mädling, Strubelt eds. 2009) with my father its victim. Concerning the review itself, its recounting that my work has been reviewed – thank you very much – extensively in English-language journals provides the occasion for saying thank you to the reviewers so far, rising stars amongst them. They have undertaken to debate my work when universities expect more tangible ‘output’ relevant for the citation index.

Not the least among them, the author of this one of the Austrian Academy of ScienceI happen to know since I was a guest at the University of Vienna where he was preparing for his PhD. We have kept in touch when he was at Aalto University – not the least amongst academic institutions – and from our joint contribution, with Dominic Stead, to a book Alois co-edited. (Fassman, Rauhut, Marques da Costa, Humer eds. 2105) And, yes, I appreciated his being the discussant at the ‘Urban Book Series‘ event in Vienna in December, 2019.

A ‘thank you’ is also due to the journals, ever so concerned about their ranking based on citations, for continuing to publish reviews, including this one of a work that is, reviewers testify, out of the ordinary. More an extended essay, it cocks a snook at the drift towards hefty, multi-authored, sumptuously referenced volumes.

Alois in this review senses my change of mood as regards ‘Europe spatial planning’, shorthand for EU members planning with – and against! – a Commission trying to knock sense into the development of the EU and its territory, in so doing never being averse also to playing its own power games. Which took me from seeking out opportunities for mutual learning wherever they presented themselves to identifying a ‘territorialism’ carving up of the land surface of the earth into state territories as a fundamental issue. Which implies thinking – and for the most part rejecting – European integration taking the form of a federation: territorialism writ large. Alois duly reports on my trying to think in terms of other figures of speech: states as island forming an archipelago, states as ice floats drifting in the sea, and the EU as a cloud of arrangements. With others, he remains unconvinced but eager to see me working on a realistic alternative.

With details unbeknown to me, exactly how to articulate this wish seems to have been discussed with the journal editor. Now, unlike with a similar promise to myself after ‘Cohesion, Coherence, Cooperation’ related in the ’Preface’ to ‘The Poverty of Territorialism’, I will not break this one: There will be no other book-size fulfilment of Alois’ wish from me.


Humer (2020) ‘Book Review: Faludi, Andreas (2018): The Poverty of Territorialism. A Neo-Medieval View of Europe and European Planning Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. 179 Seiten’ Raumforschung und Raumordnung – Spatial Research and Planning, 78(5): 1–3.

Fassman H, Rauhut, D. Marques da Costa, E., Humer, A. (Eds.) Services of General Interest and Territorial Cohesion: European Perspectives and National Insights, Vienna University Press, Vienna.

Kübler, A. (2007) Chronik Bau und Raum: Geschichte und Vorgeschichte des Bundesamtes für Bauwesen und Raumordnung, Wasmuth & Zohlen, Tübingen, Berlin.

Mäding, H., Strubelt, W. (eds) Vom Dritten Reich zur Bundesrepublik: Beiträge einer Tagung zur Geschichte von Raumforschung und Raumplanung. Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung – Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung, Hanover.

Please follow and like us: