The starting point for a Metropolitan Strategy for the Netherlands, as a result of the Interperspective Perspectives series



The urbanisation in Randstad Holland has not yet achieved its full potential. Besides the presence of the needed hardware, infrastructures, facilities and open spaces, the tIP final debate aimed to discover what elements are still missing that can push Randstad Holland to become a more successful urbanity. This debate formed the concluding session of the tIP series, initiated by the Deltametropolis Association, in collaboration with all the universities in Randstad Holland.


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foto Fred Ernst


The outcome of the lectures and corresponding expert meetings revealed that a number of common themes were present throughout the series. These form the starting point for a metropolitan strategy for the Netherlands. In doing so, the Deltametropolis Association tried to avoid naming specific clusters of metropolitan programmes because these appeared to be the outcome, rather than the actual cause. What was clear, however, was that there was a clear structural dimension to filling out such a metropolitan strategy.


1. Each session touched on the importance of imbedding the international scale into the local context.

Provisions and activities that convey an international story have an important iconic effect in the urban field in which they are located, these therefore also have a strong local effect. The presence of international provisions and activities differs greatly per city in the Netherlands. This effectively means that the nodes in Dutch cities do not compete at a national scale, but on a North-Western European scale. International nodes are not only the places where international provisions and activities take place, but also the places where many international migrants live.


2. A change from centre-periphery relationships, to network thinking.

In the past few decades, several new international centres have developed in the peripheral areas beside the centres of larger Dutch cities. Even within the larger cities, some areas have become more important than the actual city as a whole. This trend will increase over the next few years due to the accessibility of these places and the types of places. The metropolis will develop along the services and provisions of the centre, and the mutual connections that are formed in-between these functions. The synergy between different centres will therefore develop less out of the accessibility of these centres, but more through the economic, cultural and/or social connection between these centres.


3. Preserving and strengthening the public character of public spaces.

The metropolis is characterised by places where people meet and come together. It therefore requires a public character and safety in its public spaces. The metropolis offers an abundance of activities. Flexible and temporary use of public spaces and buildings should therefore always be possible. The use of location-aware social media can strengthen the attractiveness of places, by making existing local activities more visible. The activities produce mobility between places in the metropolis. This requires the adaption of normal behavioural patterns by its users.


4. A move from sector policies to integrated policies.

Large-scale urban development plans can no longer be solved through zoning. Urban challenges therefore need to be tackled in their full complexity and connectivity in networks at different scale levels. The current culture of allocating responsibility for specific issues through strict divisions in public administration is inadequate in tackling the real issues that these developments entail.


5. Urban development always necessitates collaborative parties and different forms of alliances.

This requires an equal role between the public sector, private sector and civil society. It needs to be an open form of collaboration, based on content and responsibility. The Netherlands is rich in its different formations of self organising collaborations. These involve both collaborations of stakeholders working on joint ambitions, as those working on conflicting or opposing aspirations. This tradition seems to be disappearing, however. The current crisis in both the public and private sector therefore calls for new forms of collaboration.


These are the initial impressions, which Deltametropolis Association believe should be centrally addressed when forming a metropolitan strategy for the Netherlands. More information click here