Territorial Governance and Spatial Planning in the Western Balkans between Transition, European Integration and Path-Dependency

Giancarlo Cotella, Erblin Berisha


The article inquiries into the evolution of territorial governance and spatial planning systems of the Western Balkan region, since 1989. More in details, it takes a close look at the cases of Croatia, Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina. The authors shed light on the impact of the transition period and, in particular, on the consequences that the shift from a centralized economic and administrative model to free market rules had over spatial planning legislation and practice. Similarly, they focus their attention on the various modes of Europeanization triggered by the EU pre-accession process and reflect upon the different integration phases that the aforementioned countries are going through. Through these interpretative lenses, the contribution aims at sketching out the specific spatial planning systems patterns of change that characterize the selected countries.
Keywords: Spatial planning systems, Comparative planning studies, Western
Balkans, transition, EU integration, Path-dependency

Full Text:



Adams, N, Cotella, G, & Nunes, R 2011, Territorial Development, Cohesion and

Spatial Planning: knowledge and policy development in an enlarged EU, Ashgate,


Bhme, K & Waterhout, B 2008, The Europeanization of Planning, in Faludi

(Ed.) European Spatial Research and Policy, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy,

Cambridge, pp. 225-248.

Bhme, K, 2002, Much ado about evidence: Reflections from Policy Making in

the European Union, Planning Theory & Practice 3 (1), pp 99-101.

Brzel, T, 2003, How the European Union Interacts with its Member States,

Political Science Series no. 93.

Boji?i?-Delilovi?, V 2011, Decentralization and Regionalization in Bosnia-

Herzegovina: Issues and Challenges, Research on South East Europe, London

School of Economics, London.

Commission of the European Communities 1990, Green Paper on the Urban

Environment, COM (1990) 218 final, Office for Official Publication of the

European Communities, Luxembourg.

Commission of the European Communities 1997, The EU Compendium of Spatial

Planning Systems and Policies, Regional Development Studies, Office for Official

Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

Commission of the European Communities 1998, Report on Community Policies

and Spatial Planning: Working Document of the Commission Services, Office for

Official Publications of the European Communities, Brussels.

Commission of the European Communities 1999, European Spatial Development

Perspective, Towards Balanced and Sustainable Development of the Territory of

the European, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities,


Commission of the European Communities 2008, Green Paper on Territorial

Cohesion. Turning territorial diversity into strength, Office for Official

Publications of the European Communities, Brussels.

Cotella, G 2009, Governance territoriale comunitaria e sistemi di pianificazione.

Riflessioni sullallargamento ad Est dellUnione europea, PhD Thesis,

Politecnico di Torino, Italy.

Cotella, G, Adams, N, & Nunes, R 2012, Engaging in European spatial

planning: a Central and Eastern European perspective on the Territorial

Cohesion debate, European Planning Studies, pp. 1-24.

Cotella, G & Janin Rivolin, U 2010 Institutions, discourse and practices: towards

a multidimensional understanding of EU territorial governance, Paper

presented at the 24th AESOP Annual Conference, Helsinki, Finland.

Cotella, G & Janin Rivolin, U 2015, Europeizzazione del governo del territorio:

un modello analitico, In: Territorio, vol. 73, pp. 127-134.

Davies, H, Edwards, D, Hooper, A, & Punter, J 1989, Comparative study, in

Davies (Ed.) Planning Control in Western Europe, pp. 409442, London.

DE Presidency 2007, Territorial Agenda of The European Union: Towards a More

Competitive and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Region. Informal Ministry

Meeting on the Urban Development and Territorial Cohesion, Leipzig,


Dhimitri, E, Cucllari, F, & Cini, M, 2013, Local Government Reform and

Regional Development in Albania, International Journal of Innovations in

Business, 277292.

Doria, L, Fedeli, V, & Tedesco, C 2006, Rethinking European spatial policy as a

Hologram. Actions, institutions, discourses, Ashgate, Aldershot.

Dhr, S & Nadin, V 2007, Europeanization through transnational territorial

cooperation? The case of INTERREG IIIB North-West Europe, Planning

Practices and Research, 22(3) pp. 373-394.

Dhr, S, Colomb, C, & Nadin, V 2010, European Spatial Planning and Territorial

Cooperation, Routledge, London-New York.

Elster, J, Offe, C, & Preuss, K 1998, Institutional Design in Post-Communist

Societies: Rebuilding the Ship at Sea, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

European Commission 2015, Progress Report of Bosnia Herzegovina,

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament. SWD

(2015), Commission Staff Working Document, Brussels.

Fagat, A 2012, Building Environmental Governance in Bosnia-Herzegovina:

Europeanization and transnational assistance in the context of limited

statehood, School of Politics and International Relation, University of London,


Georgiadis, G 2008, The convergence divergence debate revisited: framing the

issues, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, Routledge.

Getimis, P 2012, Comparing Spatial Planning Systems and Planning Cultures in

Europe. The Need for a Multi-scalar Approach, Planning Practice and Research,

(1), pp. 2540.

Giannakourou, G 2005, Transforming spatial planning policy in Mediterranean

countries: Europeanization and domestic change. European Planning Studies,

(2), pp. 319-331.

Giannakourou, G 2012, The Europeanization of National Planning: Explaining

the Causes and the Potentials of Change, Planning Practice and Research,

(1), pp. 117135.

Goetz, K & Hix, S 2000, Europeanised Politics? European Integration and

National Political Systems, West European Politics Special Edition Vol 23, no. 4

Graham, J, Amos, B, &. Plumptre, T 2003, Principle for good governance in the

st Century, Policy Brief 15, Intitute on Governance, Ottawa.

Howell, K 2002, Developing Conceptualizations of Europeanization and

European Integration: Mixing Methodologies, Sheffield.

HU Presidency 2011, Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020 - Toward an

Inclusive, Smart and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Region. Informal Ministry

Meeting on the Urban Development and Territorial Cohesion, Gdll,


Janin Rivolin, U 2004, European spatial planning, Franco Angeli, Milano.

Janin Rivolin, U 2012, Planning Systems as Istitutional Tecnologies: a Proposed

Conceptualization and Implication for Comparison, Planning Practice and

Research, London.

Janin Rivolin, U & Faludi, A 2005, The hidden face of European spatial planning:

Innovations in Governance, European Planning Studies 13(2) pp. 195-215.

Kitschelt, H, Mansfeldova, Z, Markowski, R, & Toka, G 1999, Post-Communist

Party Systems: Competititon, Representation, and Inter-Party Cooperation,

Cambridge University Press, New York.

Knill, C & Lehmkuhl, D 1999, How Europe matters. Different mechanisms of

Europeanization, European Integration online Papers, Vol. 3, no. 7.

Kranj?evi?, J 2006, Accession to the European Union and physical (spatial)

planning in Croatia, in Katerina Ott (Eds) Croatian accession to the European

Union, the challenges of participation, Institute of Public Finance, Zagreb.

Malekovi?, S, Puljiz, J, & Bartlett, W 2011, Decentralization and Regional

Policy in Croatia: The impact of EU Accession and the prospect of territorial

reorganization, Research on South Eastern Europe, London.

Malekovi?, S & Puljiz, J 2009, Challenges of a New Approach to Development on

the Local and Regional Level in Croatia, in New Croatian Local and Regional

Self-Government, Croatian Academy of Science and Arts, Zagreb.

Nedovic-Budic, Z 2001, Adjustment of planning practice to the new Eastern and

Central European context, Journal of the American Planning Association 67,

pp. 38-52.

Newman, P & Thornley, A 1996, Urban planning in Europe, Routledge, London.

Osmankovi?, J 2004, Regionalization and Regional Development in Bosnia

and Herzegovina in the Post-War Period, Institute for Economic Research,


Pallagst, K 2006, European spatial planning reloaded. Considering EU enlargement in theory and practice, European Planning Studies 14(2), pp. 253-

Reimer, M, Getimis, P, & Blotevogel, H 2014, Spatial Planning Systems and

Practices in Europe. A Comparative Perspective on Continuity and Change,

Routledge, London.

Schimmelfennig, F & Sedelmeier, U 2005, The Europeanization of Central and

Eastern Europe, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.

Sedelmeier, U 2006, Europeanisation in new member and candidate states,

Living Reviews in European Governance, 6(1), pp. 152.

Stead, D & Nadin, V 2009, Planning cultures between models of society and

planning systems, in: J. Knieling & F. Othengrafen (Eds) Planning Cultures

in Europe: Decoding Cultural Phenomena, Urban and Regional Planning,


Stead, D & Cotella, G 2011, Differential Europe: Domestic actors and their role

in shaping spatial planning systems, disP-The Planning Review, 47(186), pp.


Tendler, J 2000, Why are social funds so popular?, in Shahid, Y. et al (Eds.) Local

Dynamics in the Era of Globalization.: University Press, pp. 114-129, Oxford.

Toto, R 2012, Rajonalizimi i Shqipris n debat - fuqizimi i decentralizimit dhe

evoluimi drejt zhvillimit rajonal 2. Linjat e debatit pr zhvillim rajonal apo

rajonalizim n Shqipri, pp. 317344.

Toto, R 2014, Shqiperia-Riforma Territoriale Perkundrejet Rajonalizimit, pertej

decentralizimit, Ministria e Integrimit Europian, Tirane.

Tsenkova, S & Nedovic-Budic, Z 2006, The urban Mosaic of Post-Socialist

Europe: Space, Institutions and Policy, Physica-Verlag, A Springer Company.

Vachudova, A 2005, Europe Undivided: Democracy, Leverage and Integration After

Communism, OUP Oxford.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Comments on this article