ESPON Ireland

Supporting Evidence-Informed Spatial Planning in Ireland

ESPON provides a resource for supporting evidence-informed policy-making and spatial planning in Ireland. There are potential benefits from ESPON projects at national, regional and local levels of policy-making and practice. In particular, the introduction of a multi-level planning system following the 2000 Planning and Development Act, has increased the need for research evidence to inform the preparation of spatial strategies and plans from the National Spatial Strategy to City & County Development Plans.

The Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 places further emphasis on the evidence-base for decision making in planning, through a new ‘core strategy’ requirement  in City & County Development Plans.

Aims and Objectives for ESPON in Ireland:

  • Promote participation of Irish researchers, policymakers and practitioners in ESPON projects and networks
  • Promote engagement with the ESPON knowledge base and ESPON methodologies in Ireland
  • Support the development of evidence-informed approaches to spatial strategy-making in Ireland
  • Ensure ESPON projects and reports accurately reflect experience in Ireland
  • Promote awareness of developments in European spatial planning and territorial cohesion policy among policymakers, practitioners and researchers in Ireland.

Assessing the Relevance of ESPON Research to Spatial Planning in Ireland

Rather than assuming that ESPON project results will be of applicable and of benefit to spatial planning practitioners and policy-makers in Ireland, it is neccessary to identify where deficits exist and where European reseach and spatial planning expertise might usefully be applied.

To date we have identified a number of ways in which ESPON research may be particularly relevant:

  • Direct application of specific results of ESPON projects – this is particularly useful where ESPON projects include an Irish case study;
  • Positioning spatial development trends and patterns in Ireland within the context of what is happening in Europe. This may be beneficial in the context of demography, rural development or the comparative performance of city-regions;
  • Application and translation of specific methodologies and analytical frameworks employed in ESPON reports the Irish data and the Irish context.

*Summary Reports on ESPON Projects*

The ESPON Contact Point Team have prepared three Draft Summary Reports based on the results of completed Priortity 1 and 2 projects. The reports on Demography (DEMIFER), Rural Development (EDORA) and Agglomeration Economies (CAEE) provide an accessible overview of the principal results of the selected projects and identify their relevance and policy implications in the context of Ireland. The reports provide a link between ESPON projects and existing research in Ireland and indicate the potential for the application of ESPON results and methodologies in the context of NSS implementation and Regional Planning Guidelines monitoring. The reports are designed to be accessible to practitioners and policymakers and will be limited to approximately 20 pages in length.