The public actor assigns the rights for land use and development through the use of spatial planning. Through time, all countries in the world have progressively developed and consolidated spatial governance and planning systems that are a more or less direct consequence of their model of society, their administrative traditions and technical cultures. Each of these systems is characterised by a specific set of legal and administrative devices, through which land-use and development rights are regulated, public-private partnership finalised to territorial transformation are formed, and the action of different levels and sectors coordinated.
In addition to national territorial governance and spatial planning systems, since the Second World War a number of transnational organization instituted and consolidated, may they be supranational or intergovernmental in nature, as an answer to the incremental emergence of globalization tendencies. Despite not being characterised by any territorial governance and spatial planning system, such organizations often concur, to a greater or lesser extent, to influencing the evolution of urban and territorial policies in the various countries. This occurs through the development of more or less coercive guidance documents (e.g. The European Spatial development Perspective or the United Nations' New Urban Agenda), through the provision of specific development actions and incentives (e.g. World Banks' financial support to local development, EU cohesion policy etc.), or even through the development of rules and regulations to be taken on board by countries (e.g. as in the case of those areas in which the European Union detains direct competence).
The course addresses the issues and problems outlined above, in order to provide students with a critical comparison of selected territorial governance and spatial planning systems in Europe and beyond, as well as an informed perspective of the institutional and operational influence of international organizations over domestic contexts.