What is Spatial Planning?

Spatial planning is a system of (legislatively regulated) planning and management activities to achieve the general benefit of the use of living space. Its content is purposeful integrated and coordinated action on the spatial development of society and the natural, built and social environment to ensure the sustainability of its development.

The European charter of spatial planning characterizes it as a geographical projection of the economic, social and cultural policy of society and its policy in the field of the environment, while it is understood at the same time as a scientific field, administration and policy technique developed as an interdisciplinary comprehensive approach aimed at balanced spatial development and physical organization of space in accordance with a comprehensive strategy of sustainable development.

The field of study Spatial Planning is a synthesizing discipline with a focus on the training of university-educated professionals prepared to ensure a complex of cross-sectional spatially relevant planning activities aimed at ensuring sustainable spatial development in a balanced unity of socio-cultural, natural-ecological and economic aspects.

The study field of spatial planning forms the professional basis for effective and sustainable economic, social and ecological policy and is synonymous with the theoretical, methodological and instrumental basis of spatially relevant planning activities and for a new quality of creating a relationship between man, satisfying his needs and the environment.

The field of study Spatial planning includes the problems of protecting and creating the environment in integrity with the social and economic development of zonal, residential, regional and superior settlement systems in the planning position of territorial entities represented by state administration and self-government at the local, regional, national and international levels, as well as business entities. At the same time, spatial planning creates a framework for integration processes and is therefore particularly focused on the regional, supra-regional and pan-European dimension.

Spatial planning represents a logical system of subsequent activities that proceed from the assessment of development conditions and potentials, to the formulation of development goals, the development of strategic and operational plans for spatial development, the coordination of spatially relevant sectoral planning activities and the management of the implementation of integrated development plans. Therefore, it is based on a system of cross-sectional planning activities, primarily socio-economic spatial planning, landscape planning, spatial planning, planning of transport infrastructure, spatial management and a system of monitoring and information about the territory. Special attention is paid to the preparation of graduates for moderating processes of social participation and mediating conflicts between subjects of spatial development.

Justification of the need for spatial planning

The development of information post-industrial society, processes of globalization and dynamically continuing integration processes in Europe in the context of changes in the value orientation of the population bring completely new problems of ensuring the sustainable spatial development of society. This development is conditioned by the fact that the increase in tasks in the field of spatial planning is facing a deficit of specialists, which is reflected in practice not only in the Slovak Republic but also in EU countries (see the published declaration of MOE AG ARL, CEMAT, EUREG and other documents of the European Commission and AESOP) Within the individual existing fields of study, there are tendencies to start education on the basis of interdisciplinary cooperation. Precisely in the phase of changes, in which spatial and settlement-structural claims can be pushed to the back by unilateral economic interests, it is particularly important to direct education in the field of spatial planning in its integrative, future-oriented position.

The traditionally understood activity of specialists within the individual professional disciplines who currently fulfill the tasks of spatial planning is no longer enough to keep up with the ever-expanding field of complex spatial planning tasks, the necessity of interdisciplinary professional coordination is coming to the fore, which can only be offered by an adequately prepared spatial planner, whose studies themselves have brought up interdisciplinarity, thus creating the prerequisites for being able to cope with this task in practice.

Through the globalization of ecological and economic contexts, free access to information and international scientific cooperation, but also in the context of the processes of European integration, the contents and structures of spatial planning systems and thus also the basis for education are gradually converging, which must also be responded to
SR. Despite the respected diversity within the European Association of Schools Educating in the Field of Spatial Planning (AESOP), there is an effort to prepare such graduates who will be able to handle the issue of integrative spatial planning in a pan-European context. Therefore, the issue of internationalization of education in the field of spatial planning is coming to the fore.

Graduates of spatial planning study fields establish themselves in various professional fields throughout Europe. Graduates can apply their professional knowledge not only in spatial planning itself and related areas of planning practice, state administration, regional or local self-government, but also in various other economic areas (industry, trade, banking, etc.). The variety of roles played by spatial planners is growing significantly. In the Slovak Republic, the importance of educating spatial planners comes to the fore, especially in the context of the constantly criticized readiness of the Slovak Republic and its territorial and business entities to draw on the implementation of development projects with the support of pre-accession and EU structural funds. An important factor is also the decentralization of administrative activities, including spatial planning and territorial development, and the related need for experts for their performance.

Current representatives of the subject area educated within various fields of study in the past are characterized by a one-sided orientation towards the processing of planning documents, while the effort to coordinate enforcement and social acceptance of existing partial planning decisions was often not developed, therefore the importance of the management and implementation phase and readiness for moderating processes of social participation and mediating conflicts in the education of spatial planners must play a key role.

Education must also adapt to the development dynamics in the new conditions of the market economy, which are also related to changed ownership conditions. Therefore, in addition to the teamwork skills of specialists, the spatial planner must be able to lead the process of enforcing and implementing the planning concept in the direction of the common goal of sustainable spatial development.

The foundations for the creation of an independent field of study in the Slovak Republic were laid by several international projects. Based on the projects of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, EU in Bratislava, UPMF Grenoble, University Newcastle Upon Tyne and ALR Hannover, joint curriculum for postgraduate training courses in the field of spatial planning and subsequently based on FA STU Central European training center in the field of spatial planning. In 2002, Lynul 4 years became the European Commission. As part of the TIGER project, the participants of which were STU Bratislava, University of Žilina, SIF Györ, ME Budapest, RV Bochum, University of Hannover, University of Cologne, University of Berlin, TU Delft, TU Wien, TU Graz, KI Budapest and UB Wien, a study program for teaching transport infrastructure planning was implemented. These projects laid the foundations for starting not only postgraduate, but also graduate education in the field of spatial planning in the Slovak Republic in the position of a university field of study tied to systematic scientific research activity, scientific and pedagogical potential.