Making a difference: boundary management in spatial governance

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

In trying to influence spatial development, people engage in discussions about distinctions between places or areas, and the roles of government and society, while they need to relate to other groups of stakeholders. In other words, boundaries (between meanings of places, between government and society, and between different groups of people) are omnipresent in spatial governance. Does the peri-urban area belong to the city or to the countryside? Can nature be integrated into farming? What should be the role of governments in relation to bottom-up initiatives? And how can people collaborate in spite of their differences in background, culture and knowledge? People have devised various tools and strategies to deal with boundaries. This study investigates those boundary arrangements in practices of spatial governance, such as boundary concepts, boundary organisations and social learning. This is done by analysing a number of case studies of spatial governance practices, mainly in the Netherlands.

Chapter 1 introduces the theoretical concepts, research question and aims and the research design. The study distinguishes physical (between meanings of places), institutional (between social institutions) and social boundaries (between groups of people). Such boundaries are socially constructed, not only through their delineation, but also through their contestation and change. In other words, people take actions towards boundaries. For such actions they make use of boundary arrangements. In this thesis, boundary management is performing boundary actions by means of boundary arrangements in order to influence a governance process. The research question is: what is the role of boundary arrangements in the management of physical, social and institutional boundaries in spatial governance?

Chapter 2 analyses how the compact city concept is applied in four urban regions across Europe, how this concept yields trade-offs among dimensions of sustainability. In addition, it analyses strategies that have been developed by planners in the four regions to deal with those trade-offs. The urban – rural boundary is important in this chapter. Chapter 3 compares and analyses two overlapping and competing place concepts for peri-urban areas in The Hague Region, the Netherlands. The urban - rural boundary is central. Chapter 4 reveals discourses of collaborative planning in an urban region characterised by population growth and in a region characterised by population decline, both in the south of the Netherlands. One alternative discourse envisions a leading role for governmental actors in spatial planning, while another discourse envisions a leading role for societal actors. This chapter is mainly concerned with the boundary between government and non-government.

Chapter 5 analyses two Dutch approaches to more effective agri-environmental management: one landscape approach and one farming system approach, both with increased self-governance by farmers. This chapter is about the nature – agriculture boundary as well as the boundary between government and non-government. Chapter 6 tells the story of a collaborative project with farmers’ organisations and regional governments for a rural landscape with more landscape services. Social boundaries among different groups are important, as are the boundary between government and non-government, and the one between nature and agriculture. Chapter 7 analyses three cases in which a landscape concept supported mutual understanding and learning leading to collective action. Dealing with social boundaries in trans-disciplinary landscape planning is the main issue.

Chapter 8 answers the research question, specifies the contribution to scientific debate and provides suggestions for further research. In addition, it gives reflections on the usefulness of the theoretical lens, the research design and the role of the researcher, and specifies societal relevance of the research and policy implications. The chapter includes a typology of boundary arrangements and yields a number of insights for the study of boundaries as well as for the study of spatial governance.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • van den Brink, Adri, Promotor
  • Termeer, Katrien, Promotor
Award date26 Oct 2016
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789462578685
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • spatial analysis
  • governance
  • landscape architecture
  • space
  • space utilization
  • integrated spatial planning policy
  • landscape planning
  • urban planning
  • land use planning
  • land policy
  • government policy
  • netherlands
  • european union

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