Stimulating spatial quality? Unpacking the approach of the province of Friesland, the Netherlands

Stefan Hartman*, Constanza Parra, Gert de Roo

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
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    The article introduces the concepts of robustness and flexibility into the discussion on spatial quality to unpack the approach adopted by the Dutch province of Friesland in pursuit of their ambition to stimulate spatial quality. The analysis of how robustness and flexibility are manifested in Friesland, respectively the capacity to counteract negative impacts on spatial quality and the capacity to progress to more enhanced forms of spatial quality, reveals a multi-component, dynamic and selective approach. Multi-component refers to the combination of regulations, the building of purposeful organizations and teams and deliberate actions to influence spatial development projects and plans. It is dynamic because the approach is adapted to the dynamics of the multilevel governance system wherein the province and its actions are embedded. It is selective because spatial quality is reduced to a limited set of factors, decision-making is done by a selected set of actors and some measures tend to address a limited set of themes. The findings suggest that stimulating spatial quality strongly depends on how spatial quality is conceptualized and formalized in the arena of politics and planning, negotiated in multilevel decision-making processes alongside decisions on whether to make resources available for this purpose.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)297-315
    Number of pages19
    JournalEuropean Planning Studies
    Issue number2
    Early online date7-Sep-2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1-Feb-2016


    • Spatial quality
    • robust
    • flexible
    • governance
    • decision-making
    • MORVAN

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