Strategic urban planning in the Netherlands

S.M. Beekman, H.G.A. Rikhof

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Since the mid-1980s, several Dutch towns have initiated many urban planning and design activities for their existing area. This represented a shift in that previous urban planning projects typicallyconcerned expansion in the outskirts of the city, or urban renewal. The complex and expensive renovation of the existing housing stock rarely allowed a deep interest in urban design. Since 1985, attention shifted from the housing stock to the city as a whole. Furthermore, public andprivate actors increasingly become involved in the planning process. It became clear that a more comprehensive plan for the whole existing town or region was needed. Conventional planning instruments were considered ill-suited for this new challenge. The paper discusses promising attempts of various urban planning instruments to get a stronger but also more flexible hold on thetransformation of the urban planning area in the Netherlands. These new planning instruments have three common characteristics: (i) they give special attention to the different levels of urban management needed for different urban areas, (ii) these strategic plans provide an integral view on the urban developments, and (iii) these plans introduce a new strategy to deal with both private initiatives to transform urban sites and monitor wishes, proposals, etc. from inhabitants in the neighbourhoods. A comparative analyses of several cities indicates, however, that, in addition to these common characteristics, major differences between their strategic plans exist depending upon their historic patrimonium, economic status and planning tradition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2nd Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture & Urban Planning, 15-19 August 1994, Vaals, The Netherlands
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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