Strategic spatial planning in the era of crisis: Current trends and evidence from the metropolitan area of Thessaloniki

  • Elisavet Thoidou Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Department of Spatial Planning and Development Engineering, Thessaloniki, Greece
Keywords: Strategic spatial planning in Greece; Thessaloniki metropolitan area; metropolitan vulnerability; metropolitan resilience; resilience planning


Strategic spatial planning has enjoyed widespread implementation since the 1990s, especially in urban and metropolitan areas, having its focus on promoting their competitiveness and sustainability. Nowadays, the effects of economic crisis, together with growing environmental and technological risks, trigger the vulnerability of these areas and stress the need for resilience. This paper examines the role of strategic spatial planning in promoting metropolitan resilience in the era of crisis. It is argued that this type of planning is capable of supporting the adaptation of territorial systems to crisis-induced risks, as is, for instance, the case of planning for climate change. This is further analyzed in light of four of the key aspects of the new strategic spatial planning, namely its principles, content, process, and utilization of resources. The paper draws evidence from the case of Greece and examines the abovementioned aspects of the recently prepared new Regulatory Plan for the Thessaloniki greater area. The first results of this examination show that, provided there is political will which allows for necessary adjustments, the Plan has the potential to incorporate the dimension of resilience. The elaboration and exploitation of the strategic nature of the Plan and of its sustainable development principle constitute key elements of a resilience-oriented approach.


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