2. City-Regional Planning and Territorial Politics

Chairpersons: Dr. Vesa Kanninen, Aalto University

Prof. Sami Moisio, University of Helsinki


TYÖRYHMÄSESSIO II / SESSION II: Torstai / Thursday 15:30-17:00

  1. Heikki Sirviö & Toni Ahlqvist: Envisioning economic futures: Territorial politics of competing strategic initiatives in Finland

2. Kaisa Granqvist: Kuntien yhteinen yleiskaava seudullisen strategisuuden edistäjänä

3. Pia Bäcklund, Olli Ruokolainen, Jouni Häkli, Kirsi Pauliina Kallio: Governing by contracts in spatial planning practices: towards depoliticization of knowledge and the shrinking of citizenship?

4. Vesa Kanninen: What is the ”strategic city-region”?



Työryhmäkuvaus / Session Description:

”In the wake of the grim imageries of the post-political condition, we wish to take a hopeful stance in seeing that a city-regional approach could provide alternative, progressive and positive insights into how planning and politics meet in the context of city-regions. Providing variety into the existing theoretical canon would be paramount for the task of spatial planning and urban political geography alike – not only to overcome the depoliticizing tendencies that attempt to hijack the realm of urban and city-regional development, but also to show how research can take paths alternative to the mainstream to cater for the complexity of the city-regional sphere.

We take off from the notions of “city-region” as a relational site of planning and politics, and “city-regionalism” as a crucial process of contemporary urbanization with major social, economic and political implications. City-regionalism has been associated with pressing political concerns such as democratic legitimacy, social justice, environmental sustainability, economic growth and even supranational development in the context of European integration. Today, the terms city region and city-regionalism are widely used by urban managers, planners, representatives of business associations and international organizations, real estate and property developers and state officials and politicians. There is thus a great deal of “buzz and appetite” amongst state policymakers, consultants and planners about the rise of city regions as the primary sites of economic growth, planning and governance in the contemporary global economy. We highlight that the city-region is not to be taken as a given but studied from various points of view, and that city-regionalism is not a mere catchword in urban policy or spatial planning practices but a form of spatial imaginary that brings together contemporary urbanization, capitalist globalization, state restructuring, and policy formation at various scales.

We welcome papers that deal with the abovementioned broad agenda of city-regional issues, with a view on original viewpoints and re-interpretations of the hegemonic discussions. However, we do appreciate positioning the papers within the realms of spatial planning and/or urban political geography research. ”