CWPS-WISERD leads major new project to IMAGINE a more spatially just future

Researchers in the Centre for Welsh Politics and Society / WISERD@Aberystwyth are leading a major new European project to examine inequalities between regions and explore how the concept of ‘spatial justice’ can be built into regional policy. The IMAJINE project (Integrative Mechanisms for Addressing Spatial Justice and Territorial Inequalities in Europe) was launched with a meeting in Brussels in January, attended by the 15 consortium partners.
The five-year study aims to come up with new policy approaches for tackling inequality and promoting a fairer distribution of resources across the EU. Having been awarded a grant of almost €5m by the European Union, it is one of the largest social sciences projects to be financed as part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. It will combine the expertise of economists, geographers, planners, political scientists and sociologists working both on European-level analysis and detailed case studies in 11 countries, including Wales. Elements of the IMAJINE study include: analysis of socio-economic statistics on inequalities; an online survey to explore public perceptions of regional inequalities and cohesion policies; investigations into the connections between regional inequalities and migration, and regional inequalities and movements for political autonomy; research on how governments use the distribution of public services and resources to address inequalities; ‘participatory scenario building’ exercises with stakeholders to explore potential policy options for tackling inequality.
The IMAJINE team in CWPS-WISERD, including Professor Michael Woods, Professor Rhys Jones, Dr Anwen Elias, Dr Maria Plotnikova, Dr Catrin Wyn Edwards, Dr Rhys Dafydd Jones, Dr Huw Lewis and Dr Elin Royles, is responsible for the overall coordination of the project, leading a work package on spatial justice and territorial autonomy movements, and contributing to research across all parts of the project.
Professor Michael Woods said: “Recent events have shown that many people feel that the regions in which they live are not getting a fair deal. Territorial cohesion is a key principle for the European Union, yet since 2008 inequalities between different regions in Europe have increased and there is a growing consensus that we need to re-examine policies for social cohesion and regional development. By taking a broad, multi-disciplinary approach, we hope in IMAJINE to encourage fresh thinking and new ideas.”
For more information see the project website at