The Spatial Planning System and Practice in Post-Socialist Romania: Between the Heritage of “Systematization” and Europenization


  • Benedek József Miskolci Egyetem



Spatial planning, Planning practice, Systematization policy, Europeanization, Romania, European Union


This paper offers an overview of the major processes and characteristics of the spatial planning system and practice in Romania. It is largely based on document analysis, proposing an evaluation of the major legislative documents regulating the field of spatial planning (the basic Law nr. 350 from 2001 for Spatial Planning and Urbanism, and additionally, the seven laws composing the National Spatial Planning Act). We focus on the description of the planning practices indetified in the official spatial planning documents from various spatial scales, from regional to local, by considering the interactions established between institutional, economic, political and cultural factors from the socialist period and during the post-socialist transition period. The article argues for the major effects related to a low-speed but obvious Europeanization process of the spatial planning institutions and practices expressed through the uncritical and unreflected introduction of neo-liberal ideas in the spatial planning legislation and practices. The resulting spatial planning system has taken a hybrid shape, represented by a mix of three major European planning styles: comprehensive integrated, land-use oriented and urbanistic planning styles.

Információk a szerzőről

Benedek József, Miskolci Egyetem

Professor, External Member of the Hungarian Academy of Science,

Faculty of Geography, Department of Geography in Hungarian, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca

Vice-President of the Doctoral School, Faculty of Economics, Institute of World- and Regional Economics, University of Miskolc,


Bădescu, G., Angi, D, Benedek, J., Constantinescu, S. (2024): Historical Legacies and Their Impact on Human Capital: Comparing Regions within Romania. East European Politics & Societies and Cultures. Forthcoming.

Benedek, J. (2001): Introducere în planning teritorial. [Introduction into Territorial Planning] Ed. Risoprint, Cluj-Napoca.

Benedek, J. (2004): Amenajarea teritoriului și dezvoltarea regională. [Spatial Planning and Regional Development] Editura Presa Universitara, Cluj-Napoca.

Benedek, J. (2013): The Spatial Planning System in Romania. Romanian Review of Regional Studies, 9:2, 23-30.

Benedek, J., Török, I., Máthé, Cs. (2018): Evidence-based designation of development regions in Romania. Regional Statistics. 8:1, 1-20.

Benedek, J., Varvari, Ș., Litan, C. (2019): Chapter 8: Urban pole policy and regional development: old vine in new bottles? In: Lang, T., Görmar F. (ed.) Regional and local development in times of polarization. Re-thinking spatial policies in Europe, pp. 173-196 Palgrave/MacMillan, Basingstoke

Benedek, J., Ursu, C., Varvari, Ș. (2022): Growth pole policy’s induced development and spatial inequalities in the metropolitan areas of Romania – a critical assessment. Tér és társadalom (Space and Society), 36:2, 47-67,

Bodocan, V., Benedek, J., Rusu, R. (2018): Twenty first century cities: from global challenges to local responses. In: Solarz Wojchieh Marcin (ed.) New geographies of the globalized world. Routledge Studies in Human Geography, p. 77-92. 256 p. Routledge, New York.

Böhme, K., Redlich, S. (2023): The territorial agenda 2030 for places and a more cohesive European territory? Planning Practice & Research, 38:5, 729-747,

Böhme, K., Schön, P. (2006): From Leipzig to Leipzig. Territorial Research Delivers Evidence for the New Territorial Agenda of the European Union. disP 165, 61-70.

CEC (commission of the European Communities) (1997): The EU Compendium of Spatial Planning Systems and Policies (Luxemburg: Office for Official Publications of the European Community). Available at (accessed 25.11.2023).

CEC (Commission of the European Communities) (1999): European Spatial Development Perspective: Towards Balanced and Sustainable Development of the Territory of the EU (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities). Available at: (accessed 25.11.2023).

Cocheci, R.M. (2016): Planning in Restrictive Environments – A Comparative Analysis of Planning Systems in EU Countries. Journal of Urban and Landscape Planning, 1, 78-94.

Cotella, G., Adams, N., Nunes, R.J. (2012): Engaging in European Spatial Planning: A Central and Eastern European Perspective on the Territorial Cohesion Debate. European Planning Studies, 20:7, 1197-1220. DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2012.673567.

Erős, N., Török, Z., Hossu, A., C., Réti, K., O., Malos, C., Kecskés, P., Morariu, S., D., Benedek, J., Hartel, T. (2022): Assessing the conceptual substance of sustainability of the urban development plans in an Eastern European country. Sustainable Cities and Society. 85, art. Number 104070,

ESPON (2007), ESPON Project 2.3.2—Scenarios on the Territorial Future of Europe. Ministry of Interior and Spatial Development in Luxembourg. Available at (accessed 12 October 2013).

ESPON (2018): COMPASS – Comparative Analysis of Territorial Governance and Spatial Planning Systems in Europe. Final Report. Available at (accessed 25.11.2023).

Getimis, P. (2012): Comparing Spatial Planning Systems and Planning Cultures in Europe. The Need for a Multi-scalar Approach, Planning Practice & Research, 27:1, 25-40,

Knieling, J., Othengrafen, F. (2015): Planning Culture—A Concept to Explain the Evolution of Planning Policies and Processes in Europe? European Planning Studies, 23:11, 2133-2147,

Lüer, Ch., Böhme, K. (2023): Reenergizing European spatial planning. Planning Practice & Research, 38:5, 714-728,

Ministers responsible for Spatial Planning and Territorial Development (2011): Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020: Towards an Inclusive, Smart and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Regions, Gödöllő. Available at (accessed 25.11.2023)

Ministers responsible for Spatial Planning and Territorial Development (2020): Territorial Agenda 2030: A future for all places, Berlin. Available at (accessed 25.11.2023).

Nadin, V., Fernández-Maldonado, A.M. (2023): Spatial planning systems in Europe: multiple trajectories. Planning Practice & Research, 38:5, 625-638,

Nagy, J., Benedek, J. (2018): Towards a balanced metropolitan governance: combating the “back-door” status of peripheral rural areas. Transylvanian Review, 27:1, 3-20.

Nagy, J, Benedek, J. (2021): Can the EU Cohesion Policy Fight Peripherialization? In: Rauhut D., Sielker, F., Humer, A. (eds.) EU Cohesion Policy and Spatial Governance. Territorial, Social and Economic Challenges, 142-156. Elgar Studies in Planning Theory, Policy and Practice, Edward Elgar.

Newman, P., Thornley, A. (1996), Urban Planning in Europe—International Competition, National Systems and Planning Projects. London, Routledge.

Reimer, M., Botevogel, H.H. (2012), Comparing Spatial Planning Practice in Europe: A Plea for Cultural Sensitization. Planning Practice & Research, 27:1, 7-24.

Schmitt, P., Smas, L. (2023): Dissolution rather than consolidation – questioning the existence of the comprehensive-integrative planning model. Planning Practice & Research, 38:5, 678-693.

Török, I., Benedek, J. (2018): Spatial Patterns of Local Income Inequalities. Journal of Settlements and Spatial Planning. 9:2, 77-91.

Trkulja, S., Tosic, B., Živanovic, Z. (2012): Serbian Spatial Planning among Styles of Spatial Planning in Europe. European Planning Studies, 20:10, 1729-1746.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe – UNECE (2008): Spatial Planning. Key Instrument for Development and Effective Governance with Special Reference to Countries in Transition. Economic Commission for Europe Report ECE/HBP/146

(Geneva: UNECE). Available at (accessed 25.11.2023).

Veres, V., Benedek, J., Török, I. (2022): Changes in the Regional Development of Romania (2000 – 2019), Measured with a Multidimensional PEESH Index. Sustainability, 14, 14500,

Waterhout, B. (2008): The Institutionalisation of European Spatial Planning. Delft, TU Delft.

Waterhout, B., Mourato, J.M., Böhme, K. (2016): The Impact of Europeanization on Planning Cultures. In: Knieling, J. (ed.): Planning Cultures in Europe, Chapter 13, 275-290, Routledge, London.




Hogyan kell idézni

Benedek, J. (2023). The Spatial Planning System and Practice in Post-Socialist Romania: Between the Heritage of “Systematization” and Europenization . Észak-magyarországi Stratégiai Füzetek, 20(04), 17–29.

Folyóirat szám