The impact of regional designing: New perspectives for the Maastricht/Heerlen, Hasselt/Genk, Aachen and Liège (MHAL) Region

Jannette Kempenaar, Marlies Brinkhuijsen, Adri van den Brink

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Regional designing is employed to envision regional futures that aim to guide decisions on the environment in the region over a longer period of time. However, longitudinal studies on the long-term use and effect of regional designing are lacking. This paper investigates the impacts of regional designing in the complex and fragmented setting of a cross-border region. Since the late 1980s, the region was subject to four regional design episodes that each had different impacts: from a new perception of the region to initiating regional collaboration and effects on the Dutch professional debate. The study showed that regional designing is a powerful means to overcome difficulties that arise from the fragmented setting of a cross-border region. Moreover, it revealed that the context in which regional designing is embedded determines in what areas regional designing will have its impact. Both plans and people are important in the transference of regional design outcomes to other planning arenas and conditions, such as status and available funding, improve the chances of transference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-376
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning B
Issue number2
Early online date16-Jun-2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Regional design
  • cross-border planning
  • impact analysis
  • plan evaluation

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