Applying the lessons of strategic urban planning learned in the developing world to the Netherlands: a case study of three industrial area development projects

Robin S. de Graaf, Geert P.M.R. Dewulf

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Abstract

Worldwide there is an increasing interest in strategic urban planning. Strategic urban planning is a way of urban planning that is based on strategic planning principles common in the business sector. The need for strategic urban planning is recognized and acknowledged in developing countries, but barely in European countries. This article explains the reasons for this lack of recognition by comparing the possibilities for strategic urban planning in developing countries to a European country: the Netherlands. The major similarity found is that current institutional characteristics in both developed and developing countries still limit the possibilities for strategic urban planning. Institutional change is a prerequisite for successful strategic urban planning, but very difficult to attain as indicated in various cases in developing countries too. The major difference is related to the cultural aspect of urban planning. In the Netherlands, and in many other European countries too, it is broadly accepted and considered legitimate that governments have a chief coordinating role. It is common that they develop for the stakeholders instead of with the stakeholders. This differs from developing countries where stakeholder participation and joint development are considered crucial to develop sustainable planning solutions. Based on these findings the conclusion is that strategic urban planning has its limitations. As a method, it has much potential, but planners and academics must carefully tailor the method to the specific context where it will be applied.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-477
Number of pages7
JournalHabitat International
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Strategic planning
  • Strategic urban planning
  • Pattern-matching
  • SWOT
  • Public sector
  • Urban planning
  • METIS-267349
  • IR-73531

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