2018 Volume 6 Issue 3 Pages 125-140
In this template file as introduction for the format of this journal. As a country with a long history of spatial development, France is distinguished in the world by its profound tradition of spatial planning. Since the mid-20th century, a multi-dimensional spatial policy framework and a multi-layered spatial planning system have been established and developed successively, for the purpose of guiding comprehensive and well-balanced spatial development all over the country. They help promote balanced regional development and urban-rural development, implement special management over specific areas, and encourage the cooperation of governments and departments at various levels. As a critical review on the spatial policy framework and the spatial planning system of France which have been in force since the 2000s, this paper analyses in a systematic way the structure of the policy framework and the planning system respectively, as well as the interrelation between spatial policies with spatial plans, elaborates the hidden logic of coordination through an integrated spatial planning system for the purpose of a well-balanced spatial development all over the country, and summarizes some key facts that guarantee the efficiency of coordination through integration, such as cooperation among governments and departments, presenting integration in urban plans, and the active role of central government. It concludes that the French experience of coordinating various spatial plans formulated by different stakeholders at different levels through an integral spatial planning system based on an integral spatial policy framework can serve as inspiring reference for developing countries like China that are facing the urgency of structuring an integral spatial planning system to deal with the disconnection or even conflict among different departmental plans concerning spatial development.