Is territorial governance needed in smart specialisation and maritime planning?

What is the role of territorial governance in supporting smart specialisation? Is maritime spatial planning moving towards policymaking that is inspired by territorial governance approaches? Nordregio’s researchers have published two articles on these topics within the fields of EU regional and EU marine policy.

– The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role of local actors and knowledge in helping build regional resilience and deliver effective policies for citizens. Territorial governance and smart specialization can help bring policymaking closer to citizens and rebuild trust in politics. This is particularly important in peripheral and isolated regions where citizens feel like they have been left behind by the forces of globalization and the knowledge-based economy, says Senior Research Fellow John Moodie.

Territorial Governance and Smart Specialisation: Empowering the Sub-National Level in EU Regional Policy    

The concept of territorial governance has received little attention within political science and EU Studies despite being advocated as a central element of European Regional Policy. This article examines the key dimensions of territorial governance, arguing that it is both distinct and complementary to multi-level governance, as it focuses on the mobilisation of regional actor groups and the integration of endogenous knowledge in policymaking.

– For example at Nordregio, the local actor groups contribute to our work with their knowledge. They work to improve local life and thus are key players in territorial governance. We work with Local Action Groups members in our Thematic groups, Swedish fishermen in maritime spatial planning workshops and with an activist in a Copenhagen neighbourhood working on URBACT to name a few, explains Senior Research Fellow, Michael Kull.

The article further explores whether there is merit in understanding smart specialisation as a territorial governance-based model by using examples of S3 process implementation in four Nordic regions. The article finds that smart specialisation can be considered a territorial governance approach, as it promotes bottom-up EU policymaking driven by regional and local knowledge.

Moreover, by empowering the subnational level, a territorial governance lens may help to bring EU Regional policymaking closer to citizens, thereby helping to mitigate regional disparities and address some of the accountability and legitimacy gaps that have caused widening discontent with the European project.


Transboundary marine spatial planning in the Baltic Sea Region: towards a territorial governance approach?

This article examines whether the concept of territorial governance (TG) accurately captures the nature of governance and policymaking in transboundary marine spatial planning (TMSP) activities in the Baltic Sea Region. The focus of analysis is on the DG Mare-funded Baltic SCOPE and Pan Baltic Scope projects, which brought together key marine spatial planning stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region to find solutions to TMSP issues. The five key dimensions of TG are examined against the transboundary collaborations undertaken during these two projects.

The article finds that TMSP in the Baltic Sea Region shares many of the key characteristics of TG, such as, promoting learning and establishing stronger links between institutions, sectors and stakeholders; however, the TG concept fails to accurately capture the power dynamics at play in TMSP, particularly the central role of national planning authorities and certain sea use sectors in determining the overall direction of policy.