Pathways to urban change: multi-scalar conditions and spatial integration of large-scale urban development projects in Europe

Authors: Sofia Pagliarin*, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Anna Hersperger, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Benoît Rihoux, Université catholique de Louvain
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Qualitative Research, Europe
Keywords: strategic spatial planning, development trajectories, urban change, qualitative comparative analysis
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Gallier B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Large-scale urban development projects have been prime vehicles for market-led, neo-liberal spatial regeneration policies shaping European urban regions since the 1990s. They have also been key devices through which strategic spatial plans have been implemented. By combining critical investigations on large-scale urban projects with the related spatial planning literature, we identified five main multi-scalar conditions affecting the development trajectories of large-scale urban projects, namely the role of the national state, (inter)national private actors, unexpected events, transport infrastructures and resistances to the projects. We explored which combinations of these conditions (i.e. pathways or configurations) characterized the formulation and implementation of 41 large-scale urban development projects in nine European urban regions during the 1990s-2010s, and comparatively evaluated their spatial integration into strategic spatial planning. We adopted a multi-method approach combining interviews, online expert survey, document analysis, site visits and fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fs-QCA). The findings show that a number of pathways can capture the different trajectories of urban change realized by individual large-scale urban development projects in European urban regions, and that the type of urban function predominantly characterizing the projects is a key feature to consider to theoretically and methodologically advance on a comparative urban framework for urban change.

Abstract Information

This abstract is already part of a session. View the session here.

To access contact information login