Project

NWO-SURF R-LINK

Goal: R-Link studies how bottom-up, incremental and often small-scale spatial planning initiatives can help solve larger scale societal challenges. This knowledge helps to develop vital and inclusive urban areas.

Date: 1 March 2016 - 1 March 2021

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Project log

Wendy Guan Zhen, Wei Yi Tan
added 5 research items
Having endured benign neglect from the central government and general disdain from the rest of the country, Groningen has developed into a tenacious and self-reliant town where citizens are increasingly engaged with shaping and transforming their city. This chapter illustrates the eigenlogik of Groningen and its citizens through two recent yet decidedly different community-led initiatives, set against a historical backdrop of urban planning projects. Citizen participation here has changed drastically since the 1960s as a result of political change and larger societal transitions. More recently, following the 2008 financial crisis Groningen has seen a rash of initiatives with varying levels of citizen participation. In response, the city’s local government has adapted its approach to facilitate and ‘invite’ participation. Critically reflecting on the narratives and power structures behind the initiatives described, this chapter discusses the discrepancies between levels of participation and concludes that although the city is welcoming to initiatives, the boundaries and thresholds to citizen participation remain opaque.
Participate! Portraits of Cities and Citizens in Action offers an introduction to the complex world of urban development, identity and participation. It explains how the self-understanding of cities is mirrored in their approach to urban development. The basis of the book is formed by portraits of six European cities: Berlin, Hamburg, Paris, Lyon, Amsterdam and Groningen. The book fills a gap as it provides general introductions to cities, a brief outline of the city’s planning system, a short historic introduction to the city’s planning culture. With telling and outstanding examples of citizen participation this book offers important insights in both the intrinsic logic of the cities and the mechanisms – sometimes more inclusive, sometimes more exclusive- of participation. Participate! is one of the results of the R-link project, a unique cooperation of Dutch policy makers and scholars on participation and urban development. Of interest for urban planners, architects, city journalists and students and academics in the field of urban planning.
Every-day mobility anecdotes provide in-depth insights into, and a deeper connection with, the complex reality of how mobility practices are conceived and perceived in a way that more aggregated research approaches overlook in their quest for the summary of travel patterns. Drawing on a study conducted between 2017 and 2019, this article proposes the use of a research method that adds rich insights into understanding travel mode choice from the users' perspective in a way that primarily expert-oriented perceptions of sustainable mobility may not. Furthermore, this method encourages an inter- or post-disciplinary understanding of reality, which researchers have indicated may also contribute to a more sustainable future.
Wendy Guan Zhen, Wei Yi Tan
added a research item
This article studies how social learning can contribute to change, by applying the concepts of Turning Points and Critical Junctures to the pre-implementation lifecycles of small-scale bottom-up initiatives. It proposes that Turning Points, which have a relatively small immediate impact, and Critical Junctures, which have larger, more visible and more immediate effects, should both be considered crucial to the pre-implementation lifecycle of such initiatives and their capacity to endure and act towards implementation. It shows how social learning contributes to Turning Points, Near Misses and Critical Junctures by, for example, turning frustrations into spite, which fuels endurance and eventually implementation; or by allowing long-term endurance to make at first rejected possibilities become acceptable. The emerging Turning Points, Near Misses and Critical Junctures each play relevant roles for endurance and implementation dynamics. These findings highlight the importance of a more differentiated approach to bottom-up initiatives (including those not yet implemented) in urban planning and urban studies, recognizing their struggles for implementation, and the potentials and hurdles that social learning processes can provide therein. To support this differentiated approach, a micro-level application of Turning Points and Critical Junctures is shown to provide a useful lens, especially when considered in conjunction.
Kim Carlotta Von Schonfeld
added a research item
Innovation has become a guiding principle for European Union policy. Funding schemes, research, and planning across all Member States are expected to be innovative. This article provides a critical analysis of the drivers and effects of this evolution. While positive results have been achieved due to innovation policies, this article proposes that taking a wider critical perspective reveals important caveats. The article zooms in on the EU’s innovation policies by analysing policy documents, projects funded, and on-the-ground impact on three citizen initiatives. The analysis asks whether and how the EU’s self-set goals of sustainability, social inclusion, and economic growth are approached and met in them. The findings suggest a problematic funnelling process. First, an emphasis on innovation is created with the objective of systematically unblocking resistance to the development and implementation of novelties in the name of competitiveness, job creation, and economic growth. Second, the idea of innovation is very loosely defined, while, when translated into urban planning, it is interpreted narrowly in terms of efficiency and behavioural change, digitalization, and smart technologies. As a result, (narrowly defined) innovation-led economic growth begins to supersede alternative values and visions for the future of European cities and regions. This can represent a problem for EU Member States as it creates a very limited, risk-based, and divisive direction of development. To contribute to the (re-)establishment of alternatives, this article finally offers policy recommendations primarily concerned with the reinstatement of the public interest beyond innovation-centred planning perspectives.
Lilian van Karnenbeek
added a research item
Co-creation has emerged as a hot topic in contemporary planning pedagogies. Co-creation is seen as advancing the mutual exchange of knowledge between various actors in an educational setting. Despite the growing interest in co-creation in planning pedagogies, the potential types and flows of knowledge between learning communities are weakly conceptualised. This article proposes the community knowledge triangle as a fitting conceptual tool for understanding mutual knowledge exchange relations in co-creative settings. The triangle was utilised in a planning course to unpack the co-creative logic. The results showed that academics, practitioners and students exchanged knowledge in multiple directions, yet not in a reciprocal relationship.
Lilian van Karnenbeek
added a research item
Self-organisation in environmental service delivery is increasingly being promoted as an alternative to centralised service delivery. This article argues that self-organised environmental service delivery must be understood in the context of legal rules, especially environmental legislation. The article’s aim is twofold: first, to understand the changing relationship between the government and citizens in self-organised service delivery, and second, to explore how self-organised environmental service delivery complies with environmental quality requirements stipulated in legislation. The empirical study focuses on wastewater management in Oosterwold, the largest Dutch urban development that experimented with self-organisation. The results show that while individual wastewater management was prioritised and implemented at scale, the applicable legal rules were not adequately considered and integrated. Consequently, the experiment led to a deterioration of water quality. The article concludes that the success or failure of self-organisation in delivering environmental services such as wastewater management critically hinges on ensuring compliance with environmental legislation.
Melika Levelt
added a research item
De belangstelling voor maatschappelijke initiatieven is het afgelopen decennium toegenomen. Vanaf 2008 kwamen bouwwerkzaamheden door de economische crisis stil te liggen. Op de braakliggende terreinen ontstond zo ruimte voor eigen initiatief waardoor de aandacht ervoor als middel om maatschappelijke doelen te bereiken toenam. Ook fundamenteler groeide de belangstelling ervoor: maatschappelijk initiatief zou een aanvulling kunnen zijn op een ‘haperende’ vertegenwoordigende democratie (zie bijv. Tjeenk Willink, 2018). Burgerinitiatieven als middel om de vormgeving van de ruimte meer in handen van de gemeenschap te leggen, brengen het bestuur dichter bij burgers. En ze vergroten de rechtmatigheid van ruimtelijke ingrepen. Dit is geen eenvoudige opgave en geenszins vanzelfsprekend. Een initiatief nemen – of meedoen aan een initiatief – vraagt veel vaardigheden van burgers. Wie dat kan en in staat is een stem op te eisen, behoort in veel gevallen niet tot de groep die zich politiek niet vertegenwoordigd of in de steek gelaten voelt. Er is al veel geschreven over deze valkuil van het werken met burgers. Toch estaan er nog weinig praktische hulpmiddelen die hier een oplossing voor bieden. Hulpmiddelen die gericht zijn op het ontdekken van nieuwe belanghebbenden. Die op een gestructureerde en open manier recht doen aan de stem van álle belanghebbenden en belangen. Van deskundig ambtenaar tot omwonende, en van politiek vertegenwoordiger tot belangenvereniging. Om daar verandering in te brengen is het Omgevingscanvas ontwikkeld in samenwerking met verschillende maatschappelijke initiatieven die gebruik maken van publieke ruimte. Het Omgevingscanvas is een hulpmiddel met meerdere lagen. In de eerste laag helpt het canvas om nieuwe belanghebbenden te ontdekken en ze een stem te geven. In de tweede laag geeft het canvas de mogelijkheid om gestructureerd de belangen die spelen rond een ruimtelijk initiatief en de beoogde locatie met elkaar te confronteren en te ontdekken hoe zij zich tot elkaar verhouden. In de derde laag nodigt het canvas uit om belangen af te wegen, het project te verrijken en onderbouwde keuzes te maken zodat het vervolg van het project verantwoord kan worden.
Melika Levelt
added a research item
Incrementele gebiedsontwikkeling heeft sinds de crisis aan populariteit gewonnen. Door flexibeler in te spelen op veranderende omstandigheden en de capaciteiten van bewoners, ondernemers en gebruikers van een plek te benutten, gaat de kwaliteit van gebieden omhoog en neemt het draagvlak voor ontwikkelingen toe. Wat blijft hiervan over nu de crisis voorbij is? Dit artikel gaat op zoek naar sleutels voor het succesvol handhaven van een incrementele aanpak.
Wendy Guan Zhen, Wei Yi Tan
added a research item
The role of the citizen in planning processes is rapidly changing. At least, that's how it is assumed. The debate around this issue is not new. In the 60s, there was a call for less technocratic and top-down planning approach. In this article, we discuss how the perspective on citizen participation in planning has develop in time (in The Netherlands) and what impact it has had on planning practice. De rol van de burger in ruimtelijke planvorming is in verandering. Althans, dat is de gedachte. Het debat hierover is echter niet nieuw. Al in de jaren zestig ontstond een roep om minder technocratisch en top-down tot plannen te komen. In dit artikel bespreken we hoe de kijk op de participatierol van burgers in de loop van de tijd is veranderd en welke weerslag dat had op de praktijk: is er in de loop van de tijd wezenlijk iets veranderd of is er niets nieuws aan de horizon?
Wendy Guan Zhen, Wei Yi Tan
added a research item
Within international planning educational circles, the Netherlands has long been held up as an exemplar of effective national and regional land use planning practices. Well-known examples are the water management policies (van der Cammen and de Klerk 2012). The clearly defined administrative hierarchies, the policy consistency, and the management of the land resource with governmental controls in planning have been praised in planning literature. The Dutch planning system is seen as a great example for other countries, just as Sullivan's Portland example (Bontje 2003; Fainstein 2005). The urban growth boundary (UGB) of the Regional Framework Plan of Portland is likewise one of the most outstanding elements of the land use planning system in State of Oregon. This is an example of an instrument accompanied by many other complementary ordinances, regulations, and rules that together result in a desired planning outcome. The UGB is therefore often compared to national planning instruments in the Netherlands intent on enforcing a strict boundary between the urban and the rural. In the Netherlands, this divide has always been a keystone concept of the land use planning system, which is to keep as much open space 'open' as possible , while concurrently address the need for expansion and growth by ensuring enough land for residential development in a context of land scarcity in the upcoming decades. This is a similar situation to Portland where the growth necessary for the next 20 years needs to be balanced by the geographical constraints of the nature and agricultural areas. Although the regional UGB enjoys statutory status in Portland, regional coordination is considered an informal norm within the Netherlands. For example, certain provinces keep to an 80-20 rule, whereby the majority of new developments should take place within existing urban contours. The regional focus of Portland's planning system is relevant for international planners as most land use issues tend to cross administrative borders in nature and involve more than a single government level. On the surface, the Dutch planning system might not have much to offer as compared to Portland as the legal force is maintained mostly at the local level in the form of municipal land use plans (Needham 2016). Although the 2008 revision of the planning law (WRO 2008) does enable regional and inter-municipal zoning plans
Melika Levelt
added 5 research items
Michiel Stapper
added a research item
Planning consultants are increasingly hired to organize citizen participation processes for urban development projects. However, the ways in which planning consultants engage in and perceive the involvement of citizens in urban development projects remain relatively understudied. This article opens the black box of consultancy employees' perceptions toward citizens in urban development processes. Employees from two consultancy firms in the Netherlands were interviewed, and several focus groups were organized. This research shows that consultants have wide-ranging views concerning the ways of incorporating citizens' interests in urban development projects. With the use of Q-methodology, a typology of how consultants engage with citizens is proposed. Furthermore, we show that the different perceptions of consultants lead to a different approach in identifying the needs and problems of citizens. This finding gives insight into the context in which decisions about urban development are made.
Wendy Guan Zhen, Wei Yi Tan
added a research item
Met de participatiesamenleving krijgt de burger een hoofdrol in het bepalen van zijn leefomgeving. De democratie wordt bevorderd, de geactiveerde burger mag zijn wensen voor de leefomgeving uiten en de overheid kan kosten besparen. Het klinkt ideaal, maar ook idealistisch. Waar liggen de grenzen en welke aannames zitten hierin? Een onderzoeksconsortium van kennisinstellingen, professionals en burgerinitiatieven, genaamd R-LINK, stelt kritische vragen en zoekt antwoorden. Voor meer zie: https://www.ruimteenwonen.nl/de-kunst-van-het-loslaten
Kim Carlotta Von Schonfeld
added 2 research items
Social learning is the process of exchanging and developing knowledge (including skills and experiences) through human interaction. This key planning process needs to be better understood , given the increase and variety of non-planners influencing planning processes. This article explores who learns what from whom through social learning in planning. We unpack social learning theoretically to be able to map it, and employ empirically-based storytelling to discuss its relevance to planning practice. We conclude that social learning can lead to positive and negative outcomes and provides a useful analytical lens to understand planning practices at the level of individuals.
This article highlights the psychological dimension of social learning. Insights from psychology address the interrelated role of personal and group dynamics in social learning. This can provide a useful starting point for a rewarding use of social learning as an analytical tool in co-creative planning. Such an approach to social learning proves beneficial to (i) identify both positive and negative potential effects of social learning, (ii) untangle hidden power relationships at play at individual and small group levels in relation to social psychological factors, and (iii) discern the role of individuals and small groups within their larger contexts. The findings are empirically illustrated with a case of incremental urban development in Groningen, the Netherlands.
Lilian van Karnenbeek
added a research item
Current urban developments are often considered outdated and static, and the argument follows that they should become more adaptive. In this paper, we argue that existing urban development are already adaptive and incremental. Given this flexibility in urban development, understanding changes in the so-called ‘rules of the game’ which structure and change collective action, is increasingly relevant. Gaining such insights advances the ability of planners to deal with perceived spatial problems. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, to develop an analytical framework for scrutinizing changes in rules in incremental urban developments and second, to test the analytical framework in a real-life incremental urban development. Building on Ostrom’s IAD Framework we develop an analytical framework that makes a distinction between formal and informal rules, connects sets of rules, actors and interaction patterns and provides a comparative, longitudinal perspective. The case of the Navy Yard in Amsterdam, the Netherlands is used in order to test the framework’s application, proving the relevance of investigating how rules in urban development change.
Melika Levelt
added an update
Project goal
R-Link studies how bottom-up, incremental and often small-scale spatial planning initiatives can help solve larger scale societal challenges. This knowledge helps to develop vital and inclusive urban areas.
Background and motivation
This project is about bottom-up and incremental urban development. This type of urban planning is much advocated in planning debates but planners have much struggle to deal with it.
The project consists of different sub-projects that focus on 1) conceptualization of Community-Linked Incremental Urban Developments (CLIUDs); 2) the link between small scale initiatives and large-scale goals and challenges; 3) legal tools in CLIUDs and the role of consultants; 4) social learning and social psychological mechanisms in successful CLIUDs; 5) the deliberative process in CLIUDs between initiators, stakeholders and municipalities and, taking inspiration from business models, the development of a tool to help increase legitimacy of CLIUDs in through the deliberative process; 6) an overview, comparison and analysis of all 14 CLIUD-cases in the research.
 
Leonie Janssen-Jansen
added a research item
Contractual agreements are becoming increasingly important for city governments seeking to manage urban development. Contractual governance involves direct relations between the local state and different public and private actors and citizens. Although abundant literature exists on public–private partnerships related to urban development projects, agreements made between citizens, interest organizations and market parties, such as Community Benefits Agreements remain under-explored and under-theorized. While it may seem that the state is absent from contemporary forms of contractual governance, such agreements remain highly intertwined with government policies. The central aim of this paper is to better conceptualize Community Benefits Agreement practices in order to build understanding of how contractual governance caters for direct end-user involvement in urban development, and to yield insights into its potential as to render development processes more inclusive. Based on academic literature in planning and law, expert interviews and several case studies in New York City, this paper conceptualizes end-user involvement in urban development projects and innovates within urban planning and governance theory through the use of two new concepts—project collectivity and the image of a fourth chair.
Melika Levelt
added a project goal
This project is about bottom-up and incremental urban development. This type of urban planning is much advocated in planning debates but planners have much struggle to deal with it.
R-Link studies how bottom-up, incremental and often small-scale spatial planning initiatives can help solve larger scale societal challenges. This knowledge helps to develop vital and inclusive urban areas.
The project consists of different sub-projects that focus on 1) conceptualization of Community-Linked Incremental Urban Developments (CLIUDs); 2) the link between small scale initiatives and large-scale goals and challenges; 3) legal tools in CLIUDs and the role of consultants; 4) social learning and social psychological mechanisms in successful CLIUDs; 5) the deliberative process in CLIUDs between initiators, stakeholders and municipalities and, taking inspiration from business models, the development of a tool to help increase legitimacy of CLIUDs in through the deliberative process; 6) an overview, comparison and analysis of all 14 CLIUD-cases in the research.
 
Melika Levelt
added 2 research items
Hoewel planningsprocessen zich al langere tijd buiten de formele kaders van Rijk, provincie en gemeente om afspelen, zoals in regionale samenwerking of bij zogenaamde bottom-up planning waarin burgers en bedrijfsleven als initiatiefnemer aan zet zijn, neemt de aandacht hiervoor de laatste jaren enorm toe. Dit stelt andere en nieuwe eisen aan de planningsprofessional. Institutionele benaderingen in planningsonderzoek dragen daar aan bij. Het mag wel maar werkt niet Planologie in Amsterdam heeft, zoals Willem Salet het zelf omschrijft in Rooilijn (Salet, 2015) pragmatisme als grondslag. Een pragmatist kijkt naar wat mogelijk is gegeven de complexe wereld waarin hij opereert. Hij zoekt naar de mogelijkheden om " collectieve actie legitiem en effectief [te organiseren] in de complexe en moeilijk te besturen orde van stedelijke regio's " (Salet 2015, p. 18). Om effectief te opereren in deze orde, is gevoeligheid voor instituties voor een planner essentieel om tot oplossingen voor ruimtelijke vraagstukken te komen (Salet 2000). Salet (2000) onderscheidt drie lagen in 'zijn' institutionele benadering voor de Planologie. Ten eerste besteedt de institutionele benadering van planning aandacht aan instituties in de vorm van sociale regels en systemen van overtuiging. Dit is een veelal impliciete laag in de planning waarin gewoontes zich manifesteren. Deze gewoontes zijn het fundament van sociale relaties en ze werken door in alle aspecten van de samenleving. Planners en onderzoekers moeten proberen deze impliciete instituties expliciet te maken om effectief te kunnen opereren en het planningsproces te begrijpen. De tweede laag van een institutionele planningsbenadering is de laag van formele regels en wetten en de systemen (regimes), zoals het economische en politieke systeem, waarin de planner opereert. Hoewel deze laag van expliciete instituties ogenschijnlijk bepaalt wat de mogelijkheden van een planner zijn, ligt dit in de praktijk anders. Wat volgens de laag van formele instituties mag en legitiem is, werkt lang niet altijd zo uit. Regimes conflicteren met elkaar en de impliciete institutionele laag kleurt voor een belangrijk deel hoe de formele instituties in de praktijk uitwerken. Zowel professionals in de planningspraktijk als onderzoekers moeten zich bewust proberen te worden van deze formele regel én de feitelijke omgang met die regels in de praktijk. Met betrekking tot deze formele regels maakt Salet een belangrijke kanttekening: formele regels zouden zich vooral moeten richten op de ordening van het spel (de verhoudingen tussen spelers, de verdeling van verantwoordelijkheden) en niet sturend van aard moeten zijn (gericht op gewenste uitkomsten). In de praktijk, merkt Salet op, gaat dit echter nogal eens mis en worden veel te veel spelregels geïntroduceerd die de uitkomst van het spel willen bepalen. Regels die a priori de uitkomst van het spel om tot een oplossing voor ruimtelijke vraagstukken bepalen, voorkomen juist dat deze uitkomst er is, omdat er geen ruimte is voor het proces. De derde en laatste laag in de institutionele planningsbenadering van Salet is de laag van reflectie in de planningspraktijk. Deze reflectie op het eigen handelen en de bovengenoemde impliciete en expliciete instituties waar de planner mee te maken krijgt, maakt de planner tot een pragmatist: een planner die gevoelig is voor de instituties is zich niet alleen bewust van de eigen bewegingsvrijheid maar ook van de bewegingsvrijheid van de andere partijen die van belang zijn om de ruimte vorm te geven: investeerders, huishoudens, projectontwikkelaars enzovoort. Gegeven de bewegingsvrijheid van alle actoren en de aspiraties vanuit politiek en maatschappelijk initiatief gaat een planner pragmatisch op zoek naar mogelijkheden om, zoals Salet
In the last decades, citizen initiatives have become more important for neighbourhood development. This applies as well to sustaining urban green and the (temporary) development of urban food gardening and small parks. Development through citizen initiatives is not a straightforward task for planners as it means a new way of planning and legitimizing of planning decisions. Although citizen initiative and involvement in planning has gained much attention in planning practice in the last decades, planners still struggle with it. Citizen and entrepreneurial initiators of land-use projects for green and urban farming also have difficulty to understand the process of project approval or denial. Following the analysis of Schatz and Roberts (2016) of an 'untenable governance ménage à trois' of relational, participatory and neoliberal planning, it seems that in bottom-up planning three types of planning come together: technocratic, deliberative, and neoliberal. This makes the current struggles of planners and initiators involved in bottom-up spatial planning no surprise. In this paper we explore, based on a literature review, ingredients for a tool that could help professional planners (civil servants) and initiators to better understand each other and the planning process and improve the substantive discussion on land-use initiatives and in this way the accountability, credibility and thus, legitimacy of decision. To come to our list of ingredients, we take inspiration from the work of Mouffe and others who have stressed the conflicting views and interests involved in any policy issue. Taking her 'agonistic approach' to policy-making we aim to develop a tool that gives more room to substance in policy making: the different motivations, ambitions and political views of people in planning processes. Following scholars that take the work of Mouffe one step further, we look at concepts of boundary work and boundary objects (Metze, 2010), policy arrangements (Buizer, 2009) and a trading zone approach (Saporito, 2016) to come to a better understanding of, and a practical solution to, how to work with conflicting views in practice on planning process as well as substance. Second, we turn to social psychology and conflict resolution (Illes et al. 2014, Nash et al. 2010) to better understand the conflicts at stake around land-use decisions and to identify productive and counterproductive strategies to work with these conflicts. Third, we take inspiration in business literature to better understand how we can depict conflicting views for land-use and how we can come to a workable and integral concept of how to use a specific plot of land.