Territorial development is understood as the process through which the geography of territories inhabited by human societies is progressively transformed. It involves physical components (infrastructure, landscapes and townscapes, etc.), but also the territorial structure or settlement pattern, i.e. the geographic distribution of population and human activities, in particular the size of and relationships between cities and their rural hinterlands.
Territorial development is a comprehensive concept also used as an objective of public policies (“territorial development policy”). This comprehensive character results from the fact that it does not only aim at economic growth in the respective regions, but also at sustainability in its economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects. Territorial development has therefore a highly qualitative dimension requiring substantial amounts of coherence in the conception and implementation of public policies.“
Source: CEMAT Spatial Development Glossary