The concept of integration in spatial planning: An exploration

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Integration has become a central standpoint in planning practices in Europe. Several researchers (e.g. Nadin ,2007; Vigar, 2009) incorporate the notion of integration in spatial planning. Nadin (2007) distinguishes spatial planning for traditional land use planning by its ability to encourage long term strategic visions, bring together and integrate policies, support sustainable development and improve cooperation between stakeholders and society. Vigar (2009) even argues in his article on integrated spatial planning that integration and spatial planning can be considered tautological concepts. In the Netherlands the concept of integration has taken shape via the ambitions of the national government, in the 2006 spatial memorandum (Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment et al., 2006). To operate the ambition ‘integrated spatial development’ was introduced as a new planning process, a process designed to deal with several planning issues at the time, including integration (see Louw et al, 2003; Boelens and Spit, 2006). As a result of the economic set-back, many of the integrated spatial development projects in the Netherlands have come to a standstill, mainly due to their integrative, large-scale, and therefor costly character. As a result, discussion amongst professionals arises whether or not such (regional) development projects will be possible in the (near) future, and how these projects can be completed in integrative ways (see for instance Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations et al, 2011). Although integration is a key concept in spatial planning, the actual meanings of the concept in relation to different planning processes and in different views of stakeholders are still vague. This paper explores the different meanings of integration in spatial planning / spatial development processes. Previous designed frameworks for integration (e.g.Eggenberger and Partidário, 2000; Healey, 2006; Kidd, 2007; Vigar, 2009) will be used to conceptualize the meanings of integration in spatial planning. Furthermore, and based on the frameworks for integration, the paper assesses the comprehensiveness of the integration concept in spatial planning, thereby taken into account that not all planning objectives require integrative planning processes. The Dutch integrated planning practice will be used as exemplifying case study.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 26th Annual Congress of AESOP, Ankara, 11-15 July 2012
Place of PublicationAnkara
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventAESOP 2012, 26th Annual Congress -
Duration: 11 Jul 201215 Jul 2012


ConferenceAESOP 2012, 26th Annual Congress

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