Inspire Policy Making by Territorial Evidence
  • GEOSPECS - Geographic Specificities and Development Potentials in Europe


    European perspective on specific types of territories

    Thematic scope

    The EU Cohesion Policy debate has included a focus on regions with specific territorial features. The Treaty of Lisbon (2007), being in the process of ratification, mentions already some of these types of regions and territories. It states that “(...) among the regions concerned, particular attention shall be paid to rural areas, areas affected by industrial transition, and regions which suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps such as the northernmost regions with very low population density and islands, cross-border and mountain regions. (...)”.

    The Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion (2008), which launches the EU wide debate on Cohesion Policy, highlights as well the specific types of territories and regions. To better understand the strengths and weaknesses, which a specific region possesses, and to develop policies accordingly, comparable and comprehensive evidence and knowledge from a European perspective is thus in high demand for each type of region. Against this backdrop, the Green Paper holds the respective subtitle “Turning territorial diversity into strength”.

    Territories with geographic specificities are characterised not only by development challenges, but also by a series of specific assets. Such assets have been identified in numerous localities and regions; knowledge about them has also, to some extent, been compiled at the European level in studies and policy perspectives on territories with geographic specificities such as those mentioned above. However, in spite of the frequent concomitant references to multiple categories of geographic specificities in policy documents, there have been no attempts to construct a transversal discourse on why they are often not fully exploited, and why many areas with geographic specificities are still “lagging”.

    Please read more about the main research areas and main results envisaged on the next page.

    Lead Partner

    University of Geneva - Geography Department, Switzerland

    Detailed information on the contracted project team can be found under Transnational Project Groups.

    Sounding Board

    Cliff Hague, UK

    Budget: € 899 950,00

    Project’s lifetime: February 2010 – December 2012

    Delivery of Reports

    Inception Report: 2 September 2010

    Interim Report: 2 March 2011

    Draft Final Report: 2 March 2012

    Final Report: 1 July 2012

    Reports will be published once they are approved by the ESPON Monitoring Committee

    More information
    Please contact the Project Expert at the ESPON Coordination Unit:
    Marjan VAN HERWIJNEN, e-mail:


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