Transition & Change

Shaping future policies requires understanding the territorial diversity – key challenges and development perspectives – of different places around Europe within and beyond their administrative boundaries. Furthermore, it is important to formulate policy approaches and implement tools that can help to maximise their development potentials with the aim of promoting the well-being of European populations. Eventually, this territorial thinking should become an integral part of pan-European and national policy orientations and guide the design and implementation of regional, urban and local development strategies. Amidst the discussions on the future of EU-level policies (including Cohesion Policy (CP)) and in view of the upcoming preparations for the next round of strategies and programmes at national, regional and local scales, ESPON Programme has delivered new territorial evidence on a variety of subjects in which the idea of transition and change is central:

Using a broader perspective, the ESPON project "Possible European Territorial Futures" analyses for all mentioned categories how the future of the European territory could look like, addressing key challenges and opportunities for the future development of cities and regions.

Moreover, an important aspect of the current transition in territorial politics is due to digitalization. Digital tools and solutions are transforming public services (national ones or cross-border public services) and how governments respond to citizens’ needs. A good example for this process is highlighted in the eHealth project. Many cities have been actively engaging in the modernisation and re-engineering of government processes and services and have seen high returns through simplified governance and increased efficiency, effectiveness and outreach. However, cities face many challenges in the processes of digital transformation including re-thinking governance, allocating resources for re-skilling and adopting new technologies, as well as legislative and policy issues.