European Commission, 2011

The Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020 is designed to meet European Union challenges posed by the global structural changes of the economic crisis, the growing interdependences of EU regions, demographic and social changes, the diverse impact of climate change and the environment, energy concerns, and the loss of biodiversity, as well as address vulnerable natural, landscape and cultural heritage. The agenda defines six territorial priorities in order to meet the above mentioned challenges: promote polycentric and balanced territorial development; encouraging integrated development in cities, rural and specific areas; territorial integration in cross-border and transnational functional regions; ensuring global competiveness of the regions based on strong local economies; improving territorial connectivity for individuals, communities and enterprises; and managing and connecting ecological, landscape and cultural values of regions

Download document

European Commission, 1999

The ESDP is a suitable policy framework for the sectoral policies of the Community and the Member States that have spatial impacts, as well as for regional and local authorities, aimed as it is at achieving a balanced and sustainable development of the European territory. The aim of spatial development policies is to work towards a balanced and sustainable development of the territory of the European Union. In the Ministers' view, what is important is to ensure that the three fundamental goals of European policy are achieved equally in all the regions of the EU: economic and social cohesion; conservation and management of natural resources and the cultural heritage; and more balanced competitiveness of the European territory

Download document

Council of Europe Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT), 1983

The European Regional Planning Charter defines, for the first time, the major Europe- wide objectives that should underlie policies for spatial planning, improvement of the quality of life, and the organisation of human activities in the physical space of Europe. The 6th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Regional Planning held at Torremolinos in May 1983 constitutes a landmark in the history of regional/spatial planning at European level. The highlight of the Conference was the adoption of the European Regional/Spatial Planning Charter, a pioneering venture in the sphere of European spatial planning. The Charter has since been incorporated in full by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in a recommendation to member States. Following on from the European Architectural Heritage Charter, the Soil Charter and the Water Charter promulgated in recent years by the Council of Europe.

 Download document

EEA Technical report No 18/2011
European Environment Agency, 2011

The point of departure for this analysis is to support the European process towards territorial cohesion and green infrastructure development, in particular the development of a strategy for green infrastructure. This report explores the concept of green infrastructure, with illustrative examples of green infrastructure initiatives on the ground and further analyses of the integration of green infrastructure into policy sectors. It provides examples of monitoring systems/spatial information that can be utilised for spatial planning of green infrastructure at national and regional levels, and closes with exploitable opportunities and conclusions.

Green infrastructure is a concept addressing the connectivity of ecosystems, their protection and the provision of ecosystem services, while also addressing mitigation and adaptation to climate change. It contributes to minimising natural disaster risks, by using ecosystem‑based approaches for coastal protection through marshes/flood plain restoration rather than constructing dikes. Green infrastructure helps ensure the sustainable provision of ecosystem goods and services while increasing the resilience of ecosystems. The concept is central to the overall objective of ecosystem restoration, which is now part of the 2020 biodiversity target.

It also promotes integrated spatial planning by identifying multifunctional zones and by incorporating habitat restoration measures and other connectivity elements into various land‑use plans and policies, such as linking peri-urban and urban areas or in marine spatial planning policy. Its ultimate aim is contributing to the development of a greener and more sustainable economy by investing in ecosystem‑based approaches delivering multiple benefits in addition to technical solutions, and mitigating adverse effects of transport and energy infrastructure.

A green infrastructure approach to land use and spatial or territorial planning promotes the widest range of functions that can be performed by the same asset, thereby unlocking the greatest number of benefits. This approach can help manage land in a more sustainable way, maximising the potential multiple benefits and managing the potential conflicting demands and pressures, such as housing, industry, transport, energy, agriculture, nature conservation, recreation and aesthetics.

 Download document
 Go to webpage