- Randstad Holland towards 2040 - perspectives from national government    click here to open paper content1321 kb
by    van der Burg, Arjen J, & Vink, Bart L. | arjen.vanderburg@minvrom.nl/apost/   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The new spatial strategy for Randstad Holland is to upscale the four urban regions, to intensify land use and to improve internal and external accessibility. Governance of Randstad Holland is multi-scalar and works through different mechanisms, not trough formal government reform.

1. Randstad Holland was first seen as a separate spatial entity in the 1930’s. Culturally and physically, it is not a homogeneous area, but ‘Holland’ has dominated Dutch post-medieval history both politically and culturally.
2. Government of Randstad Holland was always divided between the state (i.e. at least 5 ministries), 4 provinces, several hundreds of municipalities (among which the 4 major cities of The Netherlands), and a dozen of water management boards, while public transport is taken care of by a mix of municipal, private and state transport companies and infrastructure providers. To create vigorous urban regions that can survive in world competition, this structure came to be considered as inadequate: complex, slow, working at cross-purposes. Restructuring of formal government has worked in some sense: merging of small municipalities merging of water management boards, and the creation of statutory urban planning-and-transport regions (around each major city). All other attempts at restructuring, such as creating one Randstad Province, or creating a Transport Authority, have failed. In conformity with modern theories, major operations aiming at new Randstad-level formal structures, will be forsaken. All urban regions in the world have complex governmental structures, Randstad is no exception. Voluntary governance structures have arisen (e.g. Noordvleugel – Amsterdam Metropolitan region), and will be further stimulated (e.g. between harbors). Contractual planning between the State and regional authorities have created coordinated policies. Around 30 projects of national interest, ranging from transport to urban development, are ‘governed’ by couples of on the one side a cabinet minister and on the other side a regional politician, both by contract sharing the responsibility to promote speedy decision-making and provision of means. The Randstad 2040 vision project is one of these projects with a high national urgency and the only one where the aim is to produce a long term vision as basis for new investment projects (the other projects are on their way to implementation).
3. The Randstad is considered not only to be a local or regional planning object but also a planning object of national interest. The Dutch National Planning Agency has long time been a pioneer in spatial planning for multi-government polycentric regions. From the 1960’s onwards National Government has designed planning strategies to prevent urban sprawl and to strengthen the major cities, at the same time to protect open landscapes (esp. the famous Green Heart), and to develop major harbor- and other economic hotspots that make The Netherlands competitive in the world economy. In 2008 the newest strategy document has appeared (Randstad, a vision for 2040). The new elements of the 2040 vision will be explained and compared with previous policies.
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