Redefining territorial scales and the strategic role of spatial planning: Evidence from Denmark and Catalonia

Daniel Galland, Pablo Elinbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This paper argues that spatial planning systems tend to redefine and reinterpret conventional territorial scales through the dual adoption and articulation of legal instruments and spatial strategies at different levels of planning administration. In depicting such redefinition, this paper delves into the cases of Denmark and Catalonia through an analysis concerned with: i) the strategic spatial role attributed to each level of planning; and ii) the redefinition of territorial scales as a result of changing political objectives and spatial relationships occurring between planning levels. The assessment pertaining to the strategic roles of spatial planning instruments as well as the evolving redefinition of territorial scales in both Denmark and Catalonia suggests that the conventional, hierarchical ‘cascade-shaped’ ideal of policy implementation is superseded. While both cases tend to converge in their alignment with strategic spatial planning, the implications stemming from rescaling processes radically diverge as illustrated by the opposing fates of the regional scale and the distinctive means to reassure a ‘vertical spatial anchor’ for the stability and permanence of power structures.
Original languageEnglish
JournaldisP - The Planning Review
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)66-85
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • spatial planning systems
  • rescaling
  • territorial scales
  • strategic spatial planning

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