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Quality of life and territorial development: what territories do we want in the future?

There is an increasing interest in integrating quality of life (QoL) into policymaking at different geographical levels in Europe. Beyond jobs and economic growth, the QoL of residents should be at the core of public policies? objectives, considering the uniqueness of territories. The importance of people's QoL is also increasingly more explicitly reflected in local, regional, national and European policymaking along with increasing demands for the participation of citizens in the political processes.

Examples at European level are Cohesion Policy, which aims to reduce imbalances in the economic, social and territorial preconditions for people's well-being, the Territorial Agenda 2030, which aims to ensure a future for all places and people, or Long-term vision for the EU's rural areas, striving for a vibrant tapestry of life and landscapes.

QoL is the underlying objective of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of t he EU in the perspective of 'a future for all places' (Territorial Agenda 2030), and is an overarching goal of the National Spatial Development Strategy of Slovenia 2050 (under preparation). The vision for future spatial development is to achieve territorial cohesion and ensure a high QoL for all people, whether they live in urban or rural areas, or in mountainous, lowland or border areas. The document also outlines the important role of sectoral policies in these endeavours.

Overall, ways of integrating the concept in policymaking are suggested by recent ESPON evidence. The conceptual map developed by ESPON provides a universal framework that can be applied to different territories and at various geographical levels. QoL cannot be measured with the same indicators at all territorial levels, but three spheres -personal, socioeconomic and ecological- and their respective domains and subdomains can be used. Detailed information on this topic is available in the

ESPON working paper Is our life good enough? and will be discussed in an EWCR session organised in partnership with the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU taking place on 13 October 2021.

Later this year, as part of the ESPON week (29 November - 3 December) and the Slovenian Presidency, a policy brief will be published targeted at policymakers at different geographical levels. This forthcoming, highly communicative publication will explain in a short and simple way the deliberative approach developed by ESPON, engaging citizens, experts and policymakers in co-deciding what, why and how QoL should be measured to enable a good life. The ESPON approach will allow us to design and implement more efficient, place-based and coordinated public policies, and to decide on the future of our territories together; therefore, it should be of interest to a wide range of policy initiatives and pilot projects in different policy domains. Overall, it offers a unique opportunity to better tailor policies to citizens' needs, and implement new practices and solutions.

QoL cannot be measured with the same indicators at all territorial levels, but three spheres -personal, socioeconomic and ecological-  can be used "

This article appears in the EURegionsWeek 2021 Issue of TerritoriALL

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This article appears in the EURegionsWeek 2021 Issue of TerritoriALL