On 17 October I was attended this forum ‘Towards Spatial Justice – Territorial Development and Marginalization’. Reacquainting myself with Warsaw and meeting Polish colleagues – my last visit dates from 2013 – was a pleasant experience, in particular since my host from the recent visit to Sopot, Jacek Zaucha, and the chair of the Strategic Advisory Group (of which I had been a member) of the ESPON project on a ‘European Territorial Reference Framework’, Jacek Szlachta also spoke.
I come of course from studying European spatial planning and EU territorial cohesion policy. The link with spatial justice is obvious: With territorial cohesion an objective and a shared competence, the EU conceives of spatial justice as a concern for the Union as a whole. Which implies that it conceives of its territory as enveloping to the territories of its members. But in ‘The Poverty of Territorialism’ I criticise this territorialism, as if the world were divided into boxes, some of which could and should be combined and stored away a larger boxes like the EU. This neat division into unique spatial entities ignores crisscross relations and their implications for governance. But is spatial justice not relying on the presence of identifiable territories, each the home to a people with whom one can associate? In other words, is territorialism not a precondition for the pursuit of spatial justice? My answer has been that we must much rather differentiate notions of spatial justice to suit a world of overlapping spaces.?
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