The Urban Connection | An actor-relational approach to urban planning [Book]

We recently found out this book, that is somehow related with our programme and want to share some of the ideas that Luuk Boelens had in mind when writing the book. Described with these words:

The Urban Connection develops a promising actor-relational approach to urban planning. With respect to the usual governmental planning, it is focused outside in, instead of inside out. It derives its leitmotif from the actual debate about state controlled versus neo-liberal planning and reflects on innovative post structuralist scholars in the field of planning, economics, social geography and governance.

The publishers, 010 share at their site some pages of the book. We have taken from there the preface, written by Jacqueline Cramer [Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning]:

“An internet saying runs as follows: It’s not them, it’s just a whole lot of us. As I see it, this also applies to the spatial layout of our country. It’s not them that determine the layout, but us.

In this book, Luuk Boelens researches the relationship between the various actors in spatial development. So just who are we, and what do we do? In regional development, governmental authorities co-operate with the market on the policy of doing things ‘decentrally wherever possible’. With the New Law on Spatial Development, the mutual relationships between governmental authorities have become clearer and other involved parties have gained a firmer foothold. At the same time, the notion of ‘doing things centrally where necessary’ must be legally established in policy.

The state is investing in co-operation with other governing bodies, market parties and residents. I wish to expand this collaboration further. In this context, scientific study is important to ensure good foundations. Accordingly, the publication of this book is a welcome addition to the body of knowledge of this subject.

For sustainable development, it is essential to involve the inhabitants of a region in the planning schedules. The future user should actually be invited to join the planners at the discussion table right from the outset. The district of Room beek in Enschede is an excellent example of this. The residents had a loud voice in the planning process. The state contributed by providing the funding. Residents, companies and the municipality examined the wishes for the new neighbourhood and worked together from the plan-forming to the implementation stages. The result is a sustainable housing estate that is interesting in architectonic terms, with much private clientship, and with social housing, various facilities, activities and culture.

Research provides invaluable information. Trial projects lead to an efficient working method which, in turn, leads to a good result. Science helps advance real-life practice. This book supplies insight into such processes, and is the consequence of a five-year study by professor Dr. Ir. Luuk Boelens at the vrom Chair of ‘Scientific Applications in Spatial Planning’ at the University of Utrecht.

I expect this book to supply even more inspiration for the co-operation between the many parties involved in regional planning.”

-Text by Jacqueline Cramer

More info at 010 Publishers and an interesting review at UrbanTick.

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