Flexible urban development

Analyze this

The organic development of Marineterrein Amsterdam is one of the topics included in the extensive R-LINK project.

Analyze this

The organic development of Marineterrein Amsterdam is one of the topics included in the extensive R-LINK project.

  • Short

    The organic development of Marineterrein Amsterdam is one of the topics included in the extensive R-LINK project. The R-LINK project is a five-year research study carried out by several knowledge institutes, municipalities, and social organizations. The project explores how different forms of regional development can contribute to solving urgent social issues, with the ultimate aim of uncovering the conditions that help to create sustainable, vital, and inclusive urban areas. The organic development of the Marineterrein is included as a case study.


  • Facts

    PhD research

    PhD candidate Lilian van Karnenbeek is closely monitoring the development of the Marineterrein as part of the R-LINK project. She is critically examining the way organic development is translated into policy and implemented in practice. She is also investigating the relationship between organic development and strategic planning. In other words: short term versus the long term and flexibility versus legal certainty. As part of her research, she is comparing the Marineterrein with other case studies in the Netherlands and abroad, such as Oosterwold in Almere and Carré de Soie in Lyon, France*.

    *Like the Marineterrein, Oosterwold and Carré de Soie are examples of organic regional development. But there are also major differences. The Marineterrein is largely managed by the government, while Oosterwold is shaped by citizens, and Carré de Soie is driven by the market. The idea is to draw a comparison between these three cases at the end of the study.


    Lilian van Karnenbeek’s doctoral research started in 2016 and will end in 2020. In late 2017, she and Professor Leonie Janssen-Jansen published an initial analysis of the organic development process at the Marineterrein. The English-language paper describes how the different players were conditioned by rules during the process of organic development. As part of the R-LINK study, another interview was published with Liesbeth Jansen, the director of Bureau Marineterrein Amsterdam.

  • Info

    Research on local stakeholders’ contract

    Post-doctoral researcher Menno van der Veen is examining whether specific agreements with the local stakeholders (residents, organizations, and companies) can help generate support and involvement. To find out, he and graduate Bibi Witvliet will interview residents and other involved parties in the summer and early autumn of 2018. The starting point: the ten ‘participation standards’ developed as part of the R-LINK study, which form the basis of the analysis. The research will result in a proposal for a local stakeholders’ contract (‘omgevingscontract’ in Dutch) and recommendations for Bureau Marineterrein Amsterdam and the Municipality of Amsterdam on ways to improve participation (as well as examples of successes).

    Professor Leonie Janssen-Jansen

    The R-LINK project was led by Leonie Janssen-Jansen, until she passed away on 11 April 2018. Janssen-Jansen had worked as professor of Land Use Planning at Wageningen University & Research since June 2015. She kept a sharp eye on developments in her field and asked critical questions about decentralization, deregulation, and the fact that the government is outsourcing more and more planning responsibilities. Professor Leonie Janssen-Jansen’s work laid the foundation of the R-LINK project, to which she was deeply committed to the very end. Management of the project was transferred to Wendy Tan of Wageningen University & Research and Melika Levelt of Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.


Playing by the rules?

  • The philosophy behind traditional urban development is often criticised as being old-fashioned and static. The idea that urban areas must be developed adaptively and incrementally has gained in popularity among urban planners, politicians, and policymakers alike. In their article, Lilian van Karnenbeek and Leonie Janssen-Jansen state that existing urban developments are already adaptive and incremental. Due to this existing flexibility in urban development, the paper argues the importance of understanding the rules of the game. These rules determine the behaviour of process players, as well as the urban development outcomes themselves. They assume that the rules of the game change continuously with flexible forms of development and grow organically alongside it, as it were. The authors argue that understanding these rules is of both scientific and social importance. In their article, Van Karnenbeek and Janssen-Jansen present an analytical model that is capable of understanding changes to these rules in a systematic way. The incremental process of the Marineterrein is used as a case study to illustrate the value of this analytical model.

    This is a summary of the article ‘Playing by the rules.’ The full article can be found here.