The Fuzzy Spaces of Regional Governance – The emergence of new forms of flexible governance arrangements in and for urban regions: a European perspective

Guest Editor: Dr. Eduardo Oliveiro, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL

There has been growing academic, theoretical and empirical interest in the past 35 years in ‘governance’, to explain cooperation in and across the specialized policy and service delivery systems which impact the everyday life of citizens and organizations. Multilevel governance approaches highlight vertical and horizontal coordination linkages, integrating relevant interest groups and key players. Multilevel governance mushroomed from the 1990s onwards in order to capture changing relationships between the EU’s different territorial governmental levels.

But little attention has been paid to governance’s more specific territorial-oriented dimensions, how knowledge of territorial specificities supports spatial policymaking or indeed the proliferation of innovative types of regional cooperation, cross-border interactions and soft governance spaces.   This virtual special issue focuses specifically on the emergence of new, flexible and informal governance arrangements, which can be found across Europe, in a variety of circumstances and with diverse aims and rationales. This special issue thereby contributes to both the theory and practice of governance in more flexible or fluid territories, in which new forms of flexible governance arrangements have followed the emergence of spatial planning activities outside the statutory planning system, including pioneering approaches to territorial management involving soft spaces and fuzzy territorial boundaries.

More information can be found on the website for the Virtual Special Edition:

For inquiries contact VSI Editor, Paul Benneworth, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies ( )