Dynamic landscapes of spatial governance

Amsterdam, Planning

Professor Tuna Tasan-Kok’s Inaugural Lecture sets out new lines of planning research and education to be taken up by the WHIG project.

On Friday, 24 May 2019, Professor Tuna Tasan-Kok, recently appointed as Professor of Urban Governance and Planning, delivered her Inaugural Lecture entitled “Dynamic Landscapes of Spatial Governance” in Amsterdam.

Dynamic Landscapes of Spatial Governance

As one of the project’s Principal Investigators, Professor Tasan-Kok’s academic trajectory and scientific contributions were fundamental in both the creation and underlying rationale of WHIG. During her Inaugural Lecture, she presented new avenues for planning research and education, which will also shape the activities of WHIG, and the work of the Amsterdam team in particular.

The lecture commenced with an illustrated perspective on how to ‘read’ contemporary cityscapes, representing the spatial landscapes that characterise different places. Professor Tasan-Kok explained how these tangible structures are essentially the result of relational, institutional and administrative processes that increasingly occur in a project-oriented manner. Complex decision-making processes involving a variety of actors and regulations transform the nature of planning. They create new role divisions, blurred boundaries between public and private sector actors, as well as new power dynamics in urban development. In the Dutch context, these changes will be amplified by the new Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet), which will come into effect in 2021 and that allows for more flexibility. Focusing on the Amsterdam metropolitan area, the consequences of these transformations concerning the link between planning, governance and the production of housing will be studied within the framework of the WHIG project.

New landscapes of spatial governance

New landscapes of spatial governance, in which the public-sector planner is just one of many actors, requires new forms of collaboration in urban development. In this respect, Professor Tasan-Kok underscored the importance of co-producing knowledge in her lecture. Not only is the scale and nature of investments into urban built environments under-researched, but there is a lack of information, understanding and knowledge on the connection between public-sector planning interventions and property market dynamics. Therefore, throughout the lifetime of the WHIG project, the Amsterdam team will collaborate with key stakeholders from public and private organisations (municipal policymakers, developers, investors, etc.). The aim is to bring these different actors together to discuss, share and gain new insights into investment flows, governance arrangements and regulations of housing production from different perspectives.

Changing conditions and new form of planning education

Professor Tasan-Kok ended her lecture by arguing that the changing conditions also require new forms of planning education: planners need to be prepared to understand and navigate complex governance landscapes. As an example, an in-depth understanding of property market dynamics will become indispensable. In line with this premise, the WHIG Amsterdam team is currently running a master thesis project in the MSc Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Amsterdam entitled ‘Changing actors and investment landscapes of the property industry in urban development’. Eleven master’s students are currently finalising their master theses connected to property investment landscapes, property actors and property-led planning processes, some of which will be presented on this blog in the coming weeks.

“Dynamic Landscapes of Spatial Governance” was a thought-provoking lecture from which the WHIG project will draw much inspiration in the coming months. The WHIG team congratulate Professor Tuna Tasan-Kok on her impressive achievement.

BY SARA OZOGUL

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