TOWN – Small and Medium-Sized Towns

Thematic scope
Balanced and polycentric development of the European territory is a key challenge of territorial development and cohesion policy. ESPON has already paid considerable attention to the geographical spread of urban and economic activity throughout the European territory. This includes among else the applied research projects on cities and urban agglomerations, the roles of cities in territorial development, secondary growth poles, and development potentials in different types of areas.
The results and evidence from these projects needs to be complemented with further research and additional evidence on the functional roles of small and medium-sized towns and how they contribute to the development of their territorial context and bring added value to the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Please read more about the main research areas and main results envisaged on the next page.
Policy questions
What kind of roles and functions do small and medium sized towns perform in the European territorial structure, e.g. as providers of employment, growth and services of general interest, that contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth?
What are the potentials and barriers for development of small and medium sized towns in different territorial contexts, and how can policy at different levels unleash the potentials and diminish the barriers in ways that strengthen their functional character?
What type of governance and cooperation arrangements exist at various levels aiming to support the development of small and medium-sized towns and their territorial context, and how can policy further support these types of arrangements in order to strengthen their contribution to a more balanced territorial development of the European regions?
Lead Partner
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven – Belgium
Detailed information on the contracted project team can be found under Transnational Project Groups.
Sounding Board
Claudia Popescu, Romania
Miguel Rivas, Spain
Budget: € 649,804.00
Project’s lifetime: February 2012 – December 2014
Delivery of Reports
Inception Report: 30 June 2012
Interim Report: 31 December 2012
Draft Final Report: 30 December 2013
Final Report: 30 June 2014
Reports will be published once they are approved by the ESPON Monitoring Committee
More information
Please contact the Project Expert at the ESPON Coordination Unit: Peter Billing, e-mail:

Interim Report

Source: ESPON

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