Playing by the rules? Analysing incremental urban developments

Lilian van Karnenbeek*, Leonie Janssen-Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Current urban developments are often considered outdated and static, and the argument follows that they should become more adaptive. In this paper, we argue that existing urban development are already adaptive and incremental. Given this flexibility in urban development, understanding changes in the so-called ‘rules of the game’ which structure and change collective action, is increasingly relevant. Gaining such insights advances the ability of planners to deal with perceived spatial problems. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, to develop an analytical framework for scrutinizing changes in rules in incremental urban developments and second, to test the analytical framework in a real-life incremental urban development. Building on Ostrom's IAD Framework we develop an analytical framework that makes a distinction between formal and informal rules, connects sets of rules, actors and interaction patterns and provides a comparative, longitudinal perspective. The case of the Navy Yard in Amsterdam, the Netherlands is used in order to test the framework's application, proving the relevance of investigating how rules in urban development change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-409
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Collective action
  • Incremental urban development
  • Institutional change
  • Rules
  • Urban planning

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