Call for Papers for a special issue on Regional management of growth: strategic and instrumental design in intermunicipal operational arrangements

Published at: 16 November 2020

Call for Papers for the Journal Spatial Research and Planning

for a special issue on Regional management of growth: strategic and instrumental design in intermunicipal operational arrangements


German and European metropolitan and city regions face the challenge of high population and economic growth. This means that regionally integrated and cooperative policies for land management play a major role. There is broad consensus that an adequate provision of developable land for both residential and commercial uses cannot be achieved by municipal planning alone.

As sole actors, municipalities are not in a position to provide the management of these complex challenges. Their strategies are not sufficient for the numerous requirements for development that occur in the conflicting areas of demand for new land, protection of open space and the pressure to grow. They need to be enhanced in coopera-tion with informal, regional and private actors.

Formal and informal policies of regional management of growth have therefore gained considerable importance - not just in Germany. Countries like Germany, France or Switzerland certainly have a leading role in many aspects of regional governance. For many years, innovative solutions have been tested and, in some cases, consolidated. However, there is still room for improvement, especially with regard to the establishment of new forms of conflict resolution and the balance of interests. Many strategies have not or only unsatisfactorily been implemented for various reasons. There are still strong conflicts of interest that relate, among other things, to federal and municipal land-saving or sustainability goals (national sustainability strategy, qualitative settlement development) and require an intensive recurring discourse in society, politics and planning on how to deal with land. We see a wide variety of strategic and instrumental approaches, structures of players and institutional arrange-ments for regional management of growth. The massive political pressure to act may well ease previous obstacles to action and promote the discussion on land policy and planning instruments in order to produce innovations in the governance of growth management.

There has been very little systematic research on the approaches, contents, contexts and outcomes of regional growth management in the European and German context so far. There is a lack of an outline of current planning practices and, above all, specific analysis on the actual impact of growth-shaping (regional) policies and planning-related issues. In parallel, regional growth management, especially in border regions, faces further challenges due to different planning systems. In this context, we see a major need for research with regard to cross-border plan-ning strategies and target discussions.

This special issue intends to fill this gap. It will include cross-sectional contributions on the content and effects of growth management as well as regional case studies. These will highlight specific methods and practices in their regional and local planning context. In order to provide examples (projects or studies) from the practice of spatial development and spatial planning, international case studies and comparative studies are explicitly envisaged. Thus, German developments are to be considered reasonably and also in an international context. The aim is to learn from best practice and particularly from the successful implementation of strategies. Governance must also be improved in border regions. International contributions to the special issue are therefore very welcome!

Papers from practice and research can for instance focus on the following topics:

• basis normative orientations of growth management in urban and suburban areas (e.g. in the relationship between infill and outward development, decentralized concentration, significance of green or blue infra-structures) and their significance for innovative approaches,

• the analysis of regional conflicts of use and objectives with regard to land policy and with restrictions on the availability or exhaustion of development potential,

• investigations on new forms of skepticism or refusal to grow in municipalities, especially by suburban mu-nicipalities (limits to successful regional cooperation),

• innovative tools of land management, e.g. benefit/load balance, conflict management or stakeholder inte-gration (including international best practice),

• approaches for the coordinated development of settlements and infrastructure and sustainable strategies (including international best practice),

• institutional or (institutionally) established modes of regional coordination and cooperation,

• new forms of vertical integration of growth management policies in the multi-level policy framework of spatial planning, urban development and other relevant policies,

• reviews on the state of research and planning practice in this area of interest.

Papers may be written in English or in German and may be submitted within the categories ‘Articles’ and ‘Policy and practice perspective’. Interested authors are requested to first submit an abstract of between 150 and 250 words in length in order to ensure that the proposed paper is thematically appropriate for the special issue. In a second step - after feedback from the guest editors - the manuscripts are submitted (see timetable).

All interested authors are asked to comply with the journal’s Instructions for Authors ( All submitted manuscripts will undergo the usual double-blind refereeing process.

The following **timetable **is aimed at:

• Deadline for submission of the abstracts: 31 March 2021. Please send your abstract to Dr. Barbara Warner (

• Authors receive feedback on their submitted abstracts: 1 May 2021.

• Deadline for submission of papers: 31 October 2021.

• The online first publication will occur about four weeks after the paper in question has been accepted.

• The print version of the special issue is planned for summer 2022.

For content-based queries please contact the guest editors: Prof. Dr. Stefan Siedentop (, Dr. Barbara Warner ( For organisational queries please contact the Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Andreas Klee (