ESPON ACTAREA Tool - mapping soft territorial cooperation areas and initiatives


“ESPON Actarea tool” shall contribute to further developing and improving an interactive and user-friendly ESPON Toolbox. The ESPON Toolbox represents a core element in the knowledge base of ESPON for the support of effective territorial policies. It was considered of particular importance to build an integrated suite of user-friendly and interactive web-tools to assist policymakers in freely accessing and interrogating territorial indicators and data.

This tool shall be based on the outcomes of the ESPON activity ACTAREA - Thinking and Planning in Areas of Territorial Cooperation. The results of this ESPON activity revealed to be useful in bridging the gap between territorial evidence and the implementation of soft cooperation, and to support the inclusion of evidence into participatory processes.

The ACTAREA tool is targeted at policy makers and practitioners at all administrative levels (including cross-border and transnational groupings) and will enable the use of information and data by these particular target groups of stakeholders. The tool will be made available via the ESPON website and will therefore also be at the disposal of the general public, including researchers and students.

Main Objective

The main objective is to contribute to the design and implementation of soft territorial cooperation instances. The tool to be produced in the framework of this activity have as starting point the outcomes of the ACTAREA project and in particular the following elements: mapshots - instrument for the design of cooperation in relation to geographical features, socio-economic patterns and (perceived) cooperation dynamics; institutional mapping are an instrument for the design of the cooperation in relation to other territorial collaborations and institutions dealing with territorial development.

Main outcomes envisaged

The main outcomes of the service should be:

  • Interactive web application that can be used in a simple, intuitive and user-friendly way by European, national, cross-border, regional and local authorities.
  • User guidance explaining why and how to use the ESPON ACTAREA tool including some practical examples and storylines, as well as instructions to facilitation of workshops.
  • Administrator module enabling to update and maintain the tool and to adjust it to future needs of the users.
  • Administrator guidance aimed to explain and provide instructions on the use of the administration module by the ESPON EGTC.


  • Spatial Foresight Gmbh, (lead contractor), LU 
  • Ibis Dev SARL, FR
  • Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, DE

Sounding Board

  • Marco Kellenberger (Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE), CH
  • Karolis Kinčius (Lithuanian Ministry of the Environment), LT
  • Susan Brockett (Independent process facilitator), NO
  • Laurent Lelli (Director of the AgroParisTech research centre & InterActions Chair), FR
  • Cécile Cot (Facilitator of network for territorial cooperation practitioners), FR
  • Minas Angelidis (Professor, National Technical University of Athens), EL
  • Eleni Papadopoulou (Professor, Thessaloniki School of Spatial Planning and Development), EL


€ 119,525.00


September 2020 – March 2022


  • Inception delivery, 25 November 2020
  • Interim delivery, 31 April 2021
  • Draft Final delivery, 25 June 2021
  • Final delivery, 25 March 2022




Interim report 2021 04 30.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 1.25MB

ESPON ACTAREA Tool-Inception report 2020 11 25.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 1.80MB