Spatial planning alive

Municipalities about value of planning


In the study 'Municipalities about the added value of planning' (summer 2014) conducted by the University of Utrecht and Inbo, we asked a large number of Dutch municipalities about their considerations on engaging in spatial planning. What hinders and seduces them? And how do they prepare for their new role in relation to initiatives in society and the repositioning of housing corporations and other market parties?

The survey and interviews with city and town councils and local government officials indicate how active the local government is in preparing for the new reality, her new role and relationships with market parties and society. Local planning is alive, albeit in a quite different way municipalities used to work:

  • Initiatives from society (residents, entrepreneurs, social institutions), more than ever, determine the agenda of municipalities. Municipalities prepare for the creation of appropriate conditions and try to avoid the common pitfalls: over asking promoters, overwhelming promoters with procedures and taking over initiatives.
  • Municipalities have different motivations in facilitating initiatives from society. Municipalities must be clear about this, towards themselves and towards society. Because what motivates municipalities, largely determines what society can expect and how they work together. Do municipalities want to cut spending and/or realize a compact government? Does the municipality recognize that it depends on the knowledge, experience and commitment of society and can’t do it alone? Is the organizational capacity of the society well in the picture? Do the locations that the initiatives focus on have enough potential?
  • In terms of creating conditions communities play different roles: from regulating, inviting, encouraging to letting go. The process, with agreements on conditions, responsibilities, support and results are leading herein. Creating a spatial plan is of minor importance, but certainly not redundant.

In the coming period these and other conclusions will be deepened and operationalized in workshops with surveyed municipalities. In parallel Inbo already uses the conclusions in making structural concepts, urban development strategies and master plans.  

More information: Guido Wallagh