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During the developmental process of the ESDP (European Spatial Development Prospective), it became clear that the scientific basis for policy making needed to be improved. In particular, it was necessary to:
  • select indicators for spatial development, and
  • suggest possible strategic directions, which should be followed up and elaborated in policy terms.

In consequence, a Study Programme on European Spatial Planning (SPESP) was set up as a pilot action under Article 10 of the Structural Funds in co-operation between the EU Member States and the European Commission. DG REGIO acted as client for the Study Programme and financed more than 50%. In addition, the methodology to develop the Internet service and the CD-Rom presentation of all SPESP materials was provided by ASSEMBLING research project (4th Framework programme), DG TREN. The Study Programme was also a test exercise, intended to provide insights on how a possible future European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON) could be organized and what could be expected of it.

The Final Report of SPESP has been prepared by the SPESP co-ordination team, led by NORDREGIO (Stockholm), based on the contributions from the working groups and with support from the National Focal Points and the European Commission. 

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