Explaining dutch spatial planning cover

Author T. van Dijk, Dr. F.M.G. van Kann, Prof.dr. J. Woltjer

ISBN code

9789491937415 (print)


207 pages

Prijs (gedrukte versie)

€ 47,99

-> NB This book will be available on februari 13, 2019 <-

Spatial planning, in the sense of controlling land use, occurs in most parts of the world. People adapt the landscapes they inhabit – requiring coordination amongst each other and thus some sort of plan. Regardless of building the ancient Maya cities in the Amazon or today's shining skyscrapers of Doha, land use needs some sort of guidance for a city to become a city. However, the ways in which planning occurs differ greatly throughout time and space. Planners have always been intrigued by the similarities and differences between these approaches. Unlike other disciplines, however, this has not produced an extensive body of comparative literature.

Given that a planning system is embedded in its political, cultural and institutional context in a very complex way, that it differs within and across countries, and that it is subject to constant change (not just formally but above all informally, making it very difficult to describe the system accurately), the lack of systematic comparative overviews should come as no surprise. A superficial description of one system alone would fill an entire book, an account of its evolution over time would fill a bookshelf, and a collection covering the globe would fill a library.

This book aims to show not only that we can identify distinct planning cultures across space and time, but also that planning cultures exist within one system. Every planning system at every place and time is inevitably a conglomerate of subsystems, each with their specific views on reality and ways of approaching that reality. These subsystems have their own histories, their own jargon, and their central policy documents, procedures and organizations.

In this book we aim to detail the Dutch planning system and its cultures. We do so for two reasons. Firstly, it would be impossible to describe multiple planning systems in sufficient detail while at the same time making the points we wish to make. Secondly, Dutch planning is considered the best example of comprehensive practice by many. It tends to integrate a large variety of subjects, it is elaborate and dynamic. By pointing out the planning cultures within this comprehensive system, we can show how the different objects of planning efforts lead to specific planning cultures.

We use non-Dutch examples to illustrate how similar objects of planning abroad also produce particular planning cultures. We adopt the conceptual model used by Keller, Koch and Selle in 1996 for their comparative study of planning cultures within a selected part of Europe. This involves (1) the issues addressed by the planning system, (2) the organizations, structures and legal framework, and (3) the underlying assumptions and values. Our main focus is on the first two aspects of planning.

This book honours the legacy of late Henk Voogd, professor in Planning at Groningen University, the Netherlands, who compiled lively accounts of how Dutch planning developed. To make this knowledge accessible to a contemporary international audience, we rewrote it with the result you witness now. T. van Dijk
Dr. F.M.G. van Kann
Prof.dr. J. Woltjer