Green paper of Estonian spatial planning 2020

The Green Paper on Spatial Planning is an insight into Estonian planning practices, 25 years after the planning regulations entered into force following the restoration of Estonia’s independence. It contains different aspects of spatial planning practices in Estonia with examples like public participation, competence of a planner, instruments of planning, finances behind planning, risks of spatial planning and many more. The people mainly responsible for preparing the Green Paper are specialists in the field of planning from the Ministry of Finance (currently in Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture), with significant input from experts outside the Ministry.

For the full paper please visit the website: Green-Paper-on-Estonian-Spatial-Planning.pdf (

Local Governments of Estonia- Administrative reform 2017

As a result of the local elections in October 2017, a large-scale merging of the municipalities across Estonia took place with the Administrative Territorial Reform; instead of 213 now only 79 local governments remain. The merged municipalities are obliged to draw up new comprehensive plans for their substantially extended boundaries. This is also a legal requirement that will be facilitated by the increased planning capacity of the consolidated administrations.

Additionally, there has been decisive restructuring in the regional level in Estonia. Starting from 2018 the activities of the County Governments were terminated. Some functions were transferred to the ministries and other government agencies, and some were transferred to the municipalities to fulfil those either autonomously or jointly. This calls for significant changes in the future planning system as a whole and in the distribution of the roles and responsibilities more specifically (VASAB, 2023). A detailed report on the administrative reform can be found in:

Research and reports of OECD and other organisations

The OECD has produced various reports on Estonian regional development. A few of the reports have been highlighted and brought out here:

  1. Estonia- regions and cities at a glance 2018
  2. Regional Development Policy in Estonia 2019
  3. Effective public investment across levels of the government- Estonia 2017
  4. The state of national urban policy in Estonia 2017
  5. The governance of land use- country fact sheet Estonia 2017
  6. Shrinking smartly in Estonia- Preparing regions for demographic change 2022
  7. The present and future provision of education in Estonia | Shrinking Smartly in Estonia : Preparing Regions for Demographic Change
  8. Adapting land use and spatial planning to shrinkage in Estonia | Shrinking Smartly in Estonia : Preparing Regions for Demographic Change

Other interesting research regarding Estonian spatial planning:

  1. Estonian Human Development Report 2023 (
  2. Future of regional economy in Estonia 2019 (
  3. The mandate for maritime spatial planning and land-sea interactions in Estonia within a rethought multilevel, integrated and inclusive governance framework (
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