Joint Research Center – Territorial development
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Persisting territorial disparities across and within the EU represent a potential threat to the future of the European project. These inequalities have been further exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Therefore, it is crucial to understand existing challenges and opportunities across European locations for improving policies coherently with the principles of leaving no place and no one behind. This work introduces the exploratory concept of lonely places, which is spatially embedded and identifies a plurality of places that present a vulnerability in terms of lack or insufficient local endowment, accessibility, or connectivity.

This study presents a unique spatial, multi-scalar and interdisciplinary approach to places. It aims at creating knowledge going beyond traditional operational classes of policy programmes, the urban/rural dichotomy, or administrative boundaries. This work also includes several dimensions (e.g., physical infrastructure, access to schools, cultural facilities, democratic participation, migrants’ integration, etc.), which are all useful to create fully integrated policies. 

Findings from this research enhance and support evidence-based policy actions to favour cohesion among territories and avoid the possibility that places might act as an obstacle to individuals to achieving their full potential. Results presented in this report can also inform other specific EU policies and frameworks, as well as policies at national, regional, and local levels

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Joint Research Center – Territorial development

The Joint Research Center  – Territorial development unit supports the territorial articulation of the EU policy agenda, its external investment and global outreach. Our aim is to deliver world-class science-for-policy support to bring Europe closer to citizens and places, turning territorial diversity into value.

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