This essay examines the implications for urban and regional planning of the financial crisis, which is not yet over and is affecting local European economies. The author underlines the vulnerability of the old continent and its regional variants. Faced with the difficulties of detailed measurement of the spatial outcomes of the crisis, the essay presents five scenarios for European growth which, in a not necessarily alternative form, allude to five different game plans for possible spatial development strategies at continental level. By making reference to the themes of the knowledge society, the creative economy and life long learning, the centrality of the landscape and of rural contexts, cultural processes and new developments, like that of the very many links with emerging economies on a global scale, the essay leads us to realistically consider the idea of a Europe with two gears.
Keywords: Financial crisis (global); European space; scenarios