Harnessing spatial justice in the Southern ‘terrain’: Regional inequalities, marginalization and social resilience in the era of austerity

Authors: Apostolos Papadopoulos*, Harokopio University, Department of Geography, Loukia-Maria Fratsea, Harokopio University, Department of Geography
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Planning Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: spatial justice, territorial cohesion, Greece, austerity, inequalities
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Directors Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

An important challenge of the EU Cohesion Policy is that following two and a half decades of implementing the policy, there are no clear signs illustrating its effectiveness. In terms of its narrative, cohesion policy would be a remedy against the implications of the austerity era launched soon after the 2008 financial crisis.
The main criticisms addressed to cohesion policy will be discussed whilst specific emphasis will be given to how cohesion policy has been implemented in Southern Europe and especially Greece in the years following the financial crisis. We will shed light upon policy domains such as rural development and migration policy which are particularly important for a peripheral country located to the south-east of the Mediterranean region.
The paper examines three interrelated issues: firstly, to what extent there is a balance between the various spatial levels (scale) of designing and implementing the cohesion policy; secondly, investigating the interplay between the various stakeholders involved in cohesion policy and focusing on their ability to build trust and collaborate (social capital); and thirdly, how far the different notions of inequality and disadvantage (e.g. insularity, geographical disadvantage, peripherality, borders) are addressed by cohesion policy. This discussion will conclude with the need to harness a spatial justice approach instead of intensifying existing inequalities and/or mitigating the impact of the financial crisis.

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