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Towards a Ladder of Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning Participation

Maritime Spatial Planning


Institutional systems and practices in marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) are evolving rapidly. At the same time, cross-border learning and exchange are still at an early stage. This chapter is based on the need to assess and compare participation processes across cases and countries and foster learning to develop public participation in MSP.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • What degree of participation can be achieved in MSP?
  • Which key dimensions of participation need to be considered in MSP?
  • What challenges does transboundary MSP imply?

Implementation Context:

This study is contributory to the book "Maritime Spatial Planning: past, present, future" edited in 2019.

Aspects / Objectives:

This study aims to provide a framework for public participation in transboundary MSP context, for practitioners and researchers.


The study identifies the dimension of participation in MSP based on the metaphor "ladder of participation" theorised by various authors. Then, based on the outputs of the BaltSpace and Baltic SCOPE projects, key challenges for public participation are highlighted.

Main Outputs / Results:

This study provides an overview of the degree of participation that can be achieved in MSP and highlights key dimensions to be developed in a framework for participation in a transboundary context. This framework has both research application and practical application benefits.


Although this publication is based on the Baltic Sea case study, the framework provided for participation in transboundary MSP could be useful in other contexts. 

Responsible Entity:

Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Funding source:

The chapter was developed under the project “Economy of maritime space” funded by the Polish National Science Centre.

Contact person:

A. Morf : (andrea[dot]morf[at]gu[dot]se)