Spatial imaginaries and the development of territorial cohesion in Horsens and Legnano

M.A. Fallov, Carolina Pacchi

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper uden forlag/tidsskriftForskningpeer review


In this paper we explore based on data from a recent European project,
COHSMO, the question: How can a conjunctural analysis of spatial
imaginaries explain strategies for developing territorial cohesion in different
contexts? We focus on the two towns Horsens, Denmark and Legnano in
Italy. They are cases of towns that have recently gone through a
transformation from an industrial past, and both of which struggle with
coupling economic growth, spatial development, tackling at the same time
growing inequalities and socio-spatiall divisions. In both cases, their
development depends on their relational geography and functional regions
with a nearby big city.
In order to interpret the transition phase, the two cities are undergoing we
deploy the concept of spatial imaginaries (Sum & Jessop 2013) to examine
how history, place identity and alliances between local business and
municipal actors are strategically mobilized in varied ways to secure labour
market inclusion as particular place-specific versions of corporate social
responsibility. We show how the alliances are mobilized in relation to a
proactive spatial imaginary in Horsens, and a more reactive spatial imaginary
in the case of Legnano. Despite the differences, there are similarities in the
role of the mayors in leading and promoting the spatial imaginaries and in
how history and place identity become significant for mobilizing community
and civil society in development strategies. We argue that it is relevant to
analyze the two cases as particular conjunctions (Clarke 2018, Neergaard et
al 2020) of changing identity, entrepreneurial spirit and autonomy and
interdependence in relations to formal local government. Moreover, we argue
that such form of analysis and the results from the two case studies can
provide cross-European learning regarding how to approach the fuzzy
concept of territorial cohesion in a non-linear way that takes human life into
account (Faludi 2016) and thus secures development without social
1 - Faludi, A. (2016). The poverty of territorialism: Revisiting European
spatial planning. disP - the Planning Review, 52(3), 73-81.
2 - Neergaard, M., Fallov, M. A., Jørgensen, A., & Nielsen, R. S. (2020).
Contexts and interconnections: Towards a conjunctural approach to
territorial cohesion. Social Inclusion, 8(4), 277-286.
3 - Sum, N., & Jessop, B. (2013). Towards a cultural political economy.
Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. doi:10.4337/9780857930712
Publikationsdato21 jun. 2022
StatusIkke-udgivet - 21 jun. 2022
BegivenhedDefrag-Europe: fragility/antifragility at play in contemporary Europe, EURA Conference - Politechnico Milan, Milan, Italien
Varighed: 16 jun. 202218 jun. 2022


KonferenceDefrag-Europe: fragility/antifragility at play in contemporary Europe, EURA Conference
LokationPolitechnico Milan


  • territorial cohesion
  • spatial imaginary
  • Horsens
  • Legnano