- “Integrated“ strategic rurban Projects? An overview of the dimensions of integration    click here to open paper content151 kb
by    Vanempten, Elke | elke.vanempten@asro.kuleuven.be   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper aims to clarify the term ‘integration’ within the context of strategic rurban projects. This will be done by sharpening a hypothetical definition and by clarifying the difference between integration as a concept, instrument or approach.
When looking at strategic spatial projects and the policies connected with them, often the words ‘integration’ or ‘integrated’ catch the eye. One speaks of ‘an integrated approach’ or ‘an integrated project’, as if it is some kind of quality mark. It is often used in a very abstract way as a container term, whereby the exact meaning hardly ever is clarified. The aim of this papers is therefore not only to clarify the meaning of ‘integration’ in strategic spatial planning, but also to explore the differences between ‘integration’ as a concept, instrument or approach in strategic rurban (not rural, nor urban) projects.

Integration can be interpreted in very different ways, e.g. it can be the incorporation of a foreigner into a community, the co-operation between EU countries, the concentration of population and facilities in an area, the merging of functions, etc. Generally speaking, integration is about relationships, about combining two or more elements in order to become more effective. In this research, we opt to explore integration from a spatial point of view, with a focus on the use of the term in strategic spatial planning. Therefore, a first hypothetical definition describes integration as ‘a synergetic linkage of physical, social, economic and cultural differences that appear in a particular spatial environment, in order to reach certain goals such as the creation of (spatial) surplus value’. However, in strategic spatial projects integration can be used as an approach, as an instrument, and as a concept. Integration can be a notion or idea, closely linked with visions and visioning, but also a way to link visions of different actors involved in a strategic rurban project. This will be explored further in the paper.

In order to develop the definition of integration further, next to a theoretical base, practice-examples are used. The selected cases will be strategic projects in rurban areas, because of the relevance of this topic for these areas in Flanders.
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