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[en] At the “heart of Europe” lies an often overlooked and little nation: Luxembourg. As founding member of several European and international institutions (EU, OECD, NATO, UN), host to several institutions of the European Union (Parliament Secretariat, Court of Justice, the European Investment Bank), and ranked 16th among global financial centers (City of London 2010), it is by no means insignificant. Luxembourg’s smallness is in many ways enigmatic. Yet at the same time, it offers scholars of urban studies a unique laboratory in which to study global processes operating within a small frame. This paper presents the recently started research project entitled Sustainable Development in Luxembourg, which has been funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche. The project aims at assessing the current efforts and national and local policy instruments in with regards to their contribution to sustainability goals in spatial development.
Unlike its neighbouring nations, Luxembourg seems only just entering a post-flexible era (if at all). The financial ruptures since 2008 have had relatively little impact, and as such, Luxembourg continues to grapple with spatial structural changes associated with its post-industrial and prospering tertiary economy. Its comparably young sustainable development policy is primarily challenged by recent demographic changes, and its geographical specificity. Of its 503 000 residents, roughly 200 000 are landed immigrants. On each working day, the nation’s population increases circa 50% as workers from Lorraine, Wallonia, Saarland, and Rhineland-Palatinate enter the country and commute to work. Each day, the City of Luxembourg’s population doubles in size – and its nodal position in an ever growing Grand Region at the crossroads that lead to Cologne, Paris, and Brussels, is continually strengthening in importance.
Concurrent pressures on the real estate market and low rental vacancy rates pose a real barrier to settlement within or near the capital city. Rising of real estate prices, and rapid land-use changes have led to fast growth of outlying municipalities inside and outside of its national borders. There are thus strong impacts at the local level in terms of urban development, with high pressure on the provision of housing and transportation infrastructure, and result in conflicting trajectories in terms of sustainable land-use objectives and the preservation of green spaces within the country. The fields of housing policy and mobility are thus promising case studies towards a more thorough analysis of the significance, policy relevance, barriers, and shortcomings of sustainable spatial development strategies.
This research aims at critically examining the discourse of sustainable development, in the context of Luxembourg’s urban and regional transformations and corresponding governance structures. And while sustainable development and sustainability remain highly contested concepts just as they are more ubiquitous than ever as urban planning tools (e.g. Krueger and Gibbs 2007; Newig et. al 2007), the case of an Luxembourg poses questions concerning management within and across borders and thus possible stories of insiders and outsiders, winners and losers.
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Krueger R. & D. Gibbs. 2007. (ed.), “The Sustainable Development Paradox: Urban Political Economy in the United States and Europe.” New York: The Guilford Press.
Newig, J., Voß, J.-P. & J. Monstadt. 2007. “Governance for Sustainable Development in the Face of Ambivalence, Uncertainty and Distributed Power: an Introduction.” Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning 9 (3-4), 185-192
Event name :
Regional Studies Association Workshop on Urban Systems 2.0: The Spatial Organization, Structure, Performance, and Planning of Contemporary Urban Systems