Spatial justice on the horizon? A combined Theory of Change scenario tool to assess place-based interventions

Simone Piras*, Paulina Tobiasz-Lis, Margaret Currie, Karolina Dmochowska-Dudek, Dominic Duckett, Andrew Copus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a methodology to assess the internal and external coherence, and the robustness to future uncertainty, of place-based interventions addressing spatial (in)justice. The methodology merges elements of Theory of Change (ToC) and mechanism mapping with scenario planning. It was designed based on analysis of a range of European interventions (public policies and bottom-up initiatives), selected to highlight the ways spatial injustices have been tackled across different scales. The first phase of the methodology uses a ToC mechanism map to illustrate the logic of the intervention, including its baseline assumptions (internal) and contextual conditions (external). In the second phase, scenarios for the locality are developed based on potential states of global and local macro-trends, revealing how the contextual conditions are expected to change, and whether the intervention's baseline assumptions are likely to hold. This then allows the elaboration of spatial justice trajectories, and for the ToC mechanism map to be updated. To effectively illustrate the methodology, we show how it has been applied using a case study intervention implemented in a territorially disadvantaged area. We present the methodology as a flexible tool allowing detection of more general stylised facts, and spatial comparisons between a broad range of interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)952-973
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Issue number5
Early online date18 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2022


  • spatial justice
  • scenario
  • intervention logic
  • systematic methodology
  • mechanism mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


Dive into the research topics of 'Spatial justice on the horizon? A combined Theory of Change scenario tool to assess place-based interventions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this