In search of the right question..

The New Planning Groundwork - Reporting back

18 juli 2019

The New Planning dialogue is a platform, to discuss the progressing issues and the crucial questions about the planning and policies, with a broad audience of planners, policymakers, developers, and academicians. At the first masterclass, “The New Planning- Groundwork”, organized on 4th July 2019, we hosted 35 inquisitive minds to interact over the current unprecedented challenges.

According to the literal meaning of ‘groundwork’, this was the first opportunity to lay the foundation of the dialogue with the consortia of The New Planning. This interaction was utilised to formulate the right direction and focus on the extensive project.


The challenge for Dutch spatial planning is evident. There is a requirement to strengthen the coordination and integration of sector policies that have an impact on the sustainable development of the territory. At the same time, the tools used for integration are no longer fit for purpose and the underpinning institutional apparatus of the Dutch planning doctrine no longer exists.

Every one present during the event agreed upon these facts and are facing similar institutional disputes. Thus, the fundamental understanding is, not the focus on solution-oriented planning, rather clarifying and strengthening the process of spatial planning and development. To be able to achieve the appropriate solutions, it was necessary to ask the right questions. In this first activity of the dialogue, we pivoted on collecting the most relevant questions to find a direction for this dialogue.



The masterclass was organized with a selected group of presenters, who shared their perspectives on planning practice. Discussion from various angles were initiated; a perception of urban planner of the changing urban fabric, insights on the environmental law, analysis of a spatial planner on comparative study, practical approaches on metropolitan vision and regional perspectives and a lot of open-ended arguments, that we foresee the answers for during the span of this dialogue.

The first part of the discussion were more solution-oriented, demonstrating international experiences, to inspire and motivate the Dutch planners and developers to innovate something new. These discussions were a follow-up of the presentations from Henk Bouwman, Jochem de Vries, Tobias Arnoldussen, Vincent Nadin, Verena Balz. They presented and raised questions about the changing context of the Dutch planning with the new law, omgevingsvisie (environmental vision), and interesting international examples.



Following are the presentations from the groundwork masterclass. You can click and download the presentations.

The changing context of planning – Jochem de Vries (University of Amsterdam)

“Rules of planning should leave room for societal innovation”.


De omgevingswet: the new law of the land – Tobias Arnoldussen  (University of Amsterdam)

“Risks of Omgevingswet: Deregulation on one level but ‘re-regulation’ on another”.


Dutch spatial planning, role of comparative research – Vincent Nadin (Delft University of Technology)

“In UK, I have to walk 2 kms from the train station to find a bus. Is this integration?”


The new planning – empowering resilient societies – Verena Balz (Delft University of Technology)

“Resilience is then society’s ability to respond to pressing societal demands while maintaining institutional coherence and social cohesion.”


Het Hart van Holland and Leiden- Regional Environmental Vision – Fred Goedbloed (Leiden Municipality)

“According to the Omgevingswet- An environment and planning vision is an integrated vision on the physical living environment. Thus Leiden collaborated with 10 municipalities and a water board to create this vision”.


Metropolitan dimension of integrated approach – Henk Bouwman (METREX)

“Strategies are needed crossing the borders of politics. The government is institutionally handicapped to instrumentalize change”.


The participants (representing their organisations) were encouraged to respond to the developing direction of The New Planning project. The directions were projected through a workshop set-up that unfolded the questions for the participants.

How can the gap between the vision and the implementation be bridged? Which are the present or future challenges that planning should focus on? How can NOVI support planning and decisions through various scales? At what scale should challenges be addressed by NOVI?

On the same day, we got the opportunity to briefly interview two of the project collaborators; Dagmar Keim and Henk Bouwman. The focus of Amsterdam municipality is towards social resilience, while METREX as a network of European metropolitan regions and areas, focuses on the cross institutional strategies of planning.

To read the detailed interview you can follow this link.

The panel discussion with the speakers at the end of the event, lead to a list of directions and learnings for the dialogue (see link- What is The New Planning). This originates as an important starting point as a common ground for the consortia to define and refine the project focus for the research and dialogue.

Flow diagram showing the program structure Flow diagram showing the program structure.

Join the dialogue to opinionate, influence and revolutionize the planning model and support the project by your eminent participation.

Follow the link to know more about the project and connect to us.

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