Text by Andreas Faludi.

Readers of this blog may remember my ‘The Poverty of Territorialism’ having been the object of a forum discussion at the 2019 AESOP conference. (see: http://www.spatialplanningtudelft.org/category/european-spatial-planning/) Meanwhile, one of the speakers, Jonathan Metzger has done a review of his own. (http://www.spatialplanningtudelft.org/andreas-faludi/review-poverty/).  Recently, Regional Studies has also published a Review Forum with the convenor at Venice, Giancarlo Cotella, Eva Purkarthofer and myself exchanging views. (Cotella, Purkarthofer, Faludi 2020) Giancarlo opens by referring to my source of inspiration in invoking the concept of  neo-medievalism, Jan Zielonka, and how this has influenced me in excelling the role of decentralised functional networks. Eva points out that European spatial planning is shaped, not only by territory, but also by agency. Like Jonathan in his review, she names themes I do not discuss in sufficient depth, or not at all: capitalism, meta-governance and Brexit. And I overemphasise the role of the state at the expense of the good work done by planners on the ground where they move in a fluid space rather than in the nested territories which are the but of my criticism.

True, and in the ‘Epilogue’ I urge them to keep up the good work. But the hold of states on their territories hampers them in doing it. Which is also true for European integration generally. This is why Zielonka (2014) and others saying that the future will be ’neo-medieval’ seems hopeful. I the Review Forum, I thus point out also that, looked at it through new-medieval lenses, the jumble of overlapping arrangements  in the EU, rather than being a sign of weakness, is to be seen as positive. It will be clear, therefore, that the new-medievalism of the EU is not meant as a criticism.


Cotella, G., Purkarthofer, E., Faludi, A. (2020) The poverty of territorialism and the future of European spatial integration, Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2020.1733252.

Zielonka, J. (2014). Is the EU doomed? Cambridge: Polity.

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