Inspire policy making by territorial evidence
  • ESPON Seminar

    “Territories Acting for Economic Growth -

    Using territorial evidence
    to meet challenges towards 2020”


    Rome, 4 and 5 December 2014


    This seminar in Rome will in particular focus on ESPON 2013 programme results in relation to thematic priorities of the current Trio of EU Presidency countries, Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg. The seminar will address themes and integrated approaches that can stimulate territories, regions and cities in providing the necessary contributions to economic growth. In doing so, it will also look towards the long term future of the European territory.

    Territorial evidence with pan-European coverage has become very rich and is one important element for picking the right investments to recover from the crisis and develop further contributing to the aims of the Europe 2020 Strategy and Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.

    The European policy debate has recently emphasised the growing need for addressing both towns and inner areas (areas with poor access to basic services) from a European perspective, but also in the national, regional and local context.

    The diverse capacity of inner areas and their often poor access to basic services of general interest is a reality in almost all European countries. The living conditions here are generally in decline, however development potentials exist that need to be explored. This issue has been raised by the current Italian EU Presidency and is being considered by policy makers in terms of shared policy principles and specific objectives with regard to the Europe 2020 Strategy.

    European towns of all sizes are important components of the European urban system. Their development is a common challenge for almost all European countries, to ensure that these places keep up providing adequate living conditions and don’t lose out of the recovery process. Their size, functionality and proximity to larger cities seem the most important factors for their development.

    The incoming Latvian EU Presidency has put a greater focus of the European policy dialogue on towns of different sizes. Together with metropolitan areas, second tier cities and other cities, towns form an integral part of considerations on a European Urban Agenda, which is currently taken up at European level.

    A longer time perspective on the European territory is important for making the best possible public and private investments today. European scenarios and a European territorial vision for 2050 have recently entered the policy debate and will be further addressed by the Luxembourg EU Presidency during autumn 2015.

    To support informed policy development, ESPON tools and monitoring are crucial for the choices of policymakers, for benchmarking their territories and deciding on what to invest where. The higher level of insight in European territorial dynamics now available represents an important opportunity for strengthening a territorial dimension in policy making. The ESPON toolbox is now more comprehensive than ever before and ready for a more extensive use.

    Using European insight for inspiration and benchmarking of national, regional and local territories improves the capacity to better harvest the territorial diversities within Europe, and create further development and economic growth. To succeed in this ambition, reaching out to more policymakers and fostering an even wider uptake of the territorial evidence produced becomes very important.


    The seminar shall address the above themes and approaches scoping the seminar. The dialogue and exchange between policy makers, researchers and experts at the seminar pursues the following purposes:

    • Promote territories as actors for economic growth and the use of integrated territorial strategies.
    • Discuss new solutions for re-balancing territorial development trends to the benefit of inner areas making them more productive places, also supported by closer rural-urban partnership and use of natural and cultural heritage assets.
    • Discuss ways of making towns more dynamic, attractive and competitive and more accessible while still maintaining their identity and endogenous characters.
    • Present and discuss the latest results of ESPON, including territorial vision and scenarios 2050, regional resilience, poverty and social exclusion, and new ESPON toolbox developments.
    • Consider ways of enlarging the outreach and uptake of ESPON results in policy at different levels based on experiences from transnational capitalisation efforts by ESPON.


    The seminar will provide a unique opportunity for networking and for actors and decision makers at different administrative levels to engage with researchers and experts in reflections on further uptake of territorial evidence in policy development, and on demands for evidence and activities that could be covered by the ESPON 2020 Programme.


    The morning of the first day will in two plenary sessions focus on the important themes of high interest to the European policy development. The first plenary session will address the challenge of counteracting impacts of the crisis by territories acting for economic growth. The second session will focus on the themes of inner areas and towns posing the questions of relevant investments and use of integrated strategies.

    In the afternoon of the first day six parallel workshops will be arranged in two rounds. The workshops will take up issues raised in the plenary sessions and cross them with the relevant ESPON territorial evidence available. In addition, the workshops will address the latest results from ESPON applied research projects, targeted analyses and scientific platform projects. An important focus in the workshop discussions will be on key messages useful for policy makers in the context of Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 and in policy development promoting policy orientations of the Territorial Agenda 2020.

    The first three workshops will deal with the practical use of integrated strategies for territories, concrete solutions for inner areas and the future of Europe’s towns. The subsequent three workshops will address the territorial vision and scenarios 2050, regional resilience and poverty as well as European evidence for territorial cooperation areas such as European macro regions.

    The second day will begin with a third plenary session looking into new elements of the ESPON toolbox. The selective choice made will focus on presenting progress on four improvements: The European Territorial Monitoring System and a related, tailor-made monitoring system for the Baltic Sea Region, a web-based application for Territorial Impact Assessment and a screening of the possible use of Big Data by ESPON.

    Before lunch, a forth plenary session will present experiences and achievements in terms of capitalisation upon ESPON results at the transnational level through efforts made by the ESPON Contact Point Network and discuss how an even wider outreach could become reality in the future.

    Finally, the seminar will close with an outlook on the ESPON 2020 Programme and the new ESPON EGTC, and close with presentations of the exact intentions and timetable for the upcoming Latvian and Luxembourg EU Presidencies before the farewell by the current Italian EU Presidency.


    A warm welcome is extended to policy makers, stakeholders, practitioners, semi-professionals, scientists and experts, who are interested in the topics addressed at the seminar and who want to influence the further European policy processes on territorial issues and support the use of European territorial evidence for policy development and ESIF programme implementation.

    When and Where

    The Seminar takes place on 4 and 5 December 2014 in Rome.


    The seminar has a maximum capacity of 150 participants. Please register ASAP by filling in the online form.

    11 November 2014 - Please be aware that the Seminar is almost fully booked; new registrations might not be accepted due to lack of space.

    Deadline to register is Monday 24 November 2014 at 14h00.

    Further information

    Please find below the programme of the seminar.

    Contact the ESPON Coordination Unit ( should you need further information.


    This Conference is organised within the framework of the

    ESPON 2014 Capitalisation Strategy / Actions related to European Seminars and Workshops

    Name Type Size
    Programme Version 19 November 2014 PDF 5.73 MB
    Practical information PDF 1.49 MB