Urban Development Management

Research area

Urban Development Management (UDM) concerns the art of managing the decisions of the many stakeholders involved in the development of urban areas towards high quality sustainable urban places. UDM aims to design concepts, principles, institutions and instruments that support effective strategies with outcomes that produce and promote an urban environment that meets the demands of sustainability and resilience. These strategies consist of streams of decisions and actions—represented in city policies, spatial plans, governance arrangements, and development contracts—that shape the way actors behave and forge networks, arenas and coalitions for implementing change in urban areas.

The aims are realised through the participation in academic and practitioner-oriented partnerships (e.g. SKG (0.4 fte. Full Professor, 0.6 Associate Professor, and team), ACCEZ (1 post doc), LDE (0,2 fte. researcher, 1 postdoc), AMS (1 post doc), mobilising support and long-term (co-)funding for knowledge development, through carrying out funded shorter-term research positioned within a longer term research agenda (e.g. the urban transformation agenda, the circular built environment agenda), and through the initiation of and participation in research calls by national and international funding organisations (NWO, JPI, H2020, Interreg). The building of the research agenda is supported with a growing group of PhD-students (from 0 in 2015 to 8 in 2019, with 1 promotion in 2017, and 1 promotion in 2018).

Housing Institutions & Governance focuses on how to create adequate housing for all and on how housing contributes to welfare with emphasis on international comparison and cross-country learning. Key research questions are: 1) How to achieve adequate housing for all? 2) What does housing mean for welfare? The strategy of the chair is 1) aiming for long term projects that include research positions for PhD-candidates or postdocs, 2) aiming for cooperation in department, faculty, university and international partners to develop a joint research agenda. Results so far include 1) 1Mhomes (strategic faculty fund, 2 postdocs) how to create homes in the near future: on architecture, urban planning, building technology, governance and finance, 2) H4.0E (INTERREG, 1PhD): creating affordable zero energy dwellings with new technology, 3) UPLIFT (H2020, postdoc): homes as means of integration for young people in Europe, 4) Global Housing (part of Global Urban Lab): 2ALL, Addis Ababa Living Lab (NWO, 2 PhDs + 1 postdoc), other PhDs with scholarships; housing at the centre of urbanisation (UNHabitat)

Governance of land development is about the interaction between planning, property rights and property markets, and the governance of the relationship between the private interests of landowners and common societal goals. The research focus is on evaluating and innovating the governance of land development. The concepts of effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy play a major role in this. Current projects focus on the authorities as land developers, new land development legislation: better practice, the Europeanization of the governance of land development, innovative and participatory land policy instruments, and bridging internal and external effectiveness towards a legitimate governance of land development.

Area Development connects public, private and third sector organisations involved in the practice of area development across The Netherlands. The five interrelated core objectives of Area Development are to develop knowledge and instruments for area development practice, connect actors, professional disciplines and policy sectors relevant to the field, promote (more) quality, sustainability and progress in projects, contribute to relevant education and research programs, stimulate the exchange of knowledge between academic research and practice. The Area Development research program focuses on four key aspects of urban area development projects: value, process, collaboration, and design. Key research questions focus on these aspects, particularly how to understand them in the context of public-private-civic governance around spatial projects in the built environment. Examples are: what is the impact of professional design studies on specific area development strategies? or: what are the institutional barriers/enablers in the private financing of public infrastructure in area development projects?

Main research topics

Institutions and institutional change, and the governance and management thereof are binding concepts, drawing on theories on state-market-society relationships and the action perspectives available to different groups.

Policies, plans, and evaluation of these plans and policies, including the decision-making processes in which they emerge and are implemented, is another binding focus within the section, drawing on literature on policy and planning in the public and private spheres and applied to urban planning and development, including land use and housing.

Urban transformations: identifying governance challenges and strategies for urban transformation, i.e. the densification and mixed-use development of existing urban areas, leading to questions of land use, accessibility, housing affordability and resilience.

Circular development of urban areas and regions: the exploration of the implications of a circular or closed-loop economy on the governance and management of urban development, including land use, housing, economic functions and infrastructures and the institutions and institutional changes needed to implement these changes.

The analysis and design of transdisciplinary research and education environments. Today’s urban challenges call for joint problem-solving approaches between academia and practitioners, both in education and research. The UDM section operates in many of these environments. The development and functioning of such environments, as well as the output and impact they deliver, are part of the research focus.

Research leader

Prof.dr. Willem Korthals Altes