Governing multi-actor decision processes in Dutch industrial area redevelopment

E.G.J. Blokhuis

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

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In the first part of the thesis, a literature review is presented. In this literature review, industrial areas in the Netherlands are discussed, leading to the conclusion that industrial areas are important for realizing sustainable economic growth in the Netherlands. Industrial areas play an important role in accommodating employment, in stimulating local and regional economies, and in creating a high value added. Furthermore, I conclude that process features have a significant influence on the outcome of industrial area (re)development projects. Subsequently, the most important problem aspects of the current industrial area planning approach are discussed, together with several causes of these problems. It is argued that most of these problematic failures can be traced back to one main problem: the rapid obsolescence of the existing stock of industrial areas. The dimensions of the Dutch industrial area redevelopment task affirm this. This creates a large necessity for redevelopment. However, based upon the disappointing figures on yearly realized redevelopment projects and on the low spatial yields of actually realized redevelopment projects, it is concluded that the execution of industrial area redevelopment projects stagnates. When starting up a redevelopment project in the current increasingly complex and rapidly changing environment, interdependent negotiation processes within and among organizations appear to be problematic, consuming substantial time and effort. Focus within this research lies therefore on studying, supporting and accommodating the consensus-building process within redevelopment projects. The point of departure in this research is the postulate that the main cause of the occurring stagnation in industrial area redevelopment is the absence of a well-functioning process governance system. Several authors support this statement; they posit that the regional arena is the appropriate level for executing such governance. Because of a lack of insight into effective ways to implement a governance system, and because of the presumed advantages related to the acceleration of industrial area redevelopment processes when gaining this insight, the general research objective is as follows: ‘To explore ways to effectively support the governance of involved stakeholders’ choice behavior, in order to stimulate the current decision-making processes in industrial area redevelopment projects’. Thus, governance – and especially meta-governance – is a promising approach for application to complex industrial area redevelopment projects. Several best-practice industrial area redevelopment projects reveal that centrally governing such alliances contributes to project success. The aim of meta-governance within industrial area redevelopment projects is to establish cooperation between relevant parties, in order to realize a number of functions and purposes from a public, social importance, through the establishment of one central governing agency, responsible for the management of the decision-making process. In Dutch industrial area redevelopment, regional development companies seem most appropriate for executing this central governance role. Assuming that meta-governance can be a solution to the occurring problems in the Dutch industrial area redevelopment market, it is essential to analyze the consensusfinding processes, as well as causes of tension and conflict, in order to theoretically support governing agencies in managing decision-making processes. Therefore, the specific goal of the research is to better understand how individual and interactive decision-making of the most important actors in industrial area redevelopment processes can be modeled, in order to analyze and predict the occurrence of cooperation or conflict, and how this decision-making can be influenced by a regional governing agency. A better understanding of these processes is a key requirement for the development of a decision support tool for this regional governing agency, in order to support the acceleration of industrial area redevelopment projects. A formal model of the collaborative decision process has not been developed for this domain, incorporating a governance approach. Therefore, several available techniques for analyzing both individual and interactive decision-making are explored in the second part of the thesis. From this, it is concluded that the discrete choice approach seems applicable for modeling individual choice behavior of actors. Furthermore, the application of game theory seems very interesting for modeling interactive and interdependent choice behavior. In order to make a game-theoretic model that is suitable for studying strategic interactions in industrial area redevelopment, a relatively new approach is advocated in which game theory is combined with a multiattribute trade-off technique. Eventually, the application of game theory leads to an insight in the occurrence of conflicts, and in the causes of these conflicts. The 2x2 game is regarded as most appropriate for application in this research because this game type has been used very often in conflict modeling and conflict management, and it suits the real world negotiation processes in which two players are involved, each roughly having two strategies. Within 2x2 games, three tools are most utilizable for solving conflicts: (1) changing the information of the involved players; (2) changing the payoffs of the players; and (3) changing the rules of the game, focusing on the sequence of decisionmaking and the possible allowance of communication in the game. Because the research focuses on static 2x2 games of complete information, it is concluded that gaining insight in the second tool is most feasible and interesting. In the third part, the results are represented. Firstly, the individual choice behavior of involved actors is modeled, thereby giving a better and more systematical insight in stakeholders’ preferences when accepting or rejecting a development plan, in the (dis)similarities between both stakeholder groups’ preferences in making that choice, and in the most important points of interest when composing a development plan proposal. Resulting data analysis showed that the plan attributes ‘technical quality’ and ‘cost coverage’ are important for both stakeholder groups when choosing a plan proposal. A high level of these attributes in a plan results in a high probability of being chosen, while a low level results in a low choice probability. Besides this, companies find the attribute ‘development speed’ very important when choosing a plan, and municipalities value ‘architectural quality’ highly. Furthermore, municipalities proved to be less demanding in accepting industrial area redevelopment plan proposals. Secondly, the interaction between involved stakeholders is modeled as an interdependent process, using a relative novel approach in which conjoint analysis and game theory are combined, in order to explain the occurrence of cooperation or conflict within Dutch industrial areas redevelopment negotiations. Data analysis reveals that there is one major source of conflicts; stakeholders choosing not to cooperate based upon the presented negotiation setting. A more in-depth analysis of negotiation settings ending up in mutual cooperation demonstrated that the appraisal of both stakeholders for the proposed development plan is the most influential factor, together with an eventual absolute difference between both players’ appraisals. This leads to the conclusion that the content of proposed plans is very important in such negotiations; factors like power and risks play a secondary role. Thirdly, a model is created that supports the decision-making of a central governing agency. This model is based upon the results of the individual and interactive choice models, giving recommendations on how to put meta-governance into practice in industrial area redevelopment. The model consists of three major steps: (1) giving assistance in assessing the initial state of the negotiation; (2) calculating whether the possible conflict occurrence can be prevented by marginally changing the payoffs of both players; and (3) indicating how the equalizing of appraisals can be put into practice. This final step gives insight in the contribution of specific changes in plan proposals to solving the conflicts that are discovered in the first part. After testing the model, it is concluded that altering payoffs in games in order to avoid conflicts is very effective in these games. Furthermore, these payoffs can often be altered through the use of minimal resources. In cases in which the municipality values the proposed plan lower than the company – raising the levels of the attributes technical quality, architectural quality, and value development results most often in an equaling of both players’ appraisals. Furthermore, the attribute architectural quality functions most often as the only solution. Reciprocally, in cases in which the company has a lower plan proposal appraisal, raising the levels of the attributes development speed, technical quality, and cost coverage most often results in an equal plan proposal appraisal. In general, tools are already available for executing interventions on above-mentioned attributes. Thus, focus should be on actual execution of the governance task, not on adding tools to the existing instrumental palette. Concluding, a model is created with which it is possible to give recommendations concerning the decision-making of a central governing agency in different possible industrial area redevelopment negotiations. It entails a new, structured way of solving conflicts, which is empirically testable, and delivers some real world recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Built Environment
  • Schaefer, Wim, Promotor
  • de Vries, Bauke, Promotor
Award date1 Jun 2010
Place of PublicationEindhoven
Print ISBNs978-90-6814-629-5
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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