Applied research and studies on territorial development and spatial planning seen from a European perspective in support of policy development.

National, regional and local knowledge is partly already existing and available, although only covering smaller parts of the European territory. With the ESPON 2006 Programme and by addressing an enlarged EU territory and larger territorial entities, the Commission and the Member States expect to have at their disposal:

  • Diagnosis of the principal territorial trends at EU scale as well as potentials and imbalances within the European territory;
  • Impact analysis of EU policies and their influence on the territory and on cohesion;
  • European maps of major territorial structures and regional diversity within a wide range of themes important for the development of regions and larger territories;
  • Integrated, cross-sectoral analysis and spatial scenarios offering a European perspective on regions and larger territories and their development opportunities;
  • Indicators and typologies assisting a monitoring and setting of European priorities for a balanced and polycentric enlarged European territory;
  • Integrated tools and appropriate instruments (ESPON database, indicators, methodologies for territorial impact analysis and spatial analyses, mapping facilities) in order to improve the spatial co-ordination of sector policies.

In assuring the necessary research capacity for the applied research within ESPON a special effort is foreseen to build a supporting scientific community in the field of European territorial development which naturally will include a multitude of academic disciplines.