The Role of an Area-oriented Approach in achieving environmental policy integration in the Netherlands and its applicability in Bulgaria

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An integrated approach to environmental policy and urban spatial planning has not yet been adopted by many local administrations in Europe. However, such integration is likely to provide a more streamlined planning process that incorporates environmental measures in the physical development of urban areas. In this paper, we argue that among many local governments there is already a growing wish to apply environmental policy integration (EPI) principles in spatial planning in an effort to achieve better quality of life in the cities and to preserve natural resources. Within Europe, most attempts to develop EPI approaches can be found in western countries, while efforts to find integrated approaches to the urban environment and spatial planning in Eastern Europe are in their infancy. The main reason for this is that most of the post-communist countries are still addressing the challenge of reconstructing their political, social, and economic systems. In this research, we analyse and compare policy practices for EPI in urban planning in the Netherlands and Bulgaria. We first discuss the Dutch area-oriented policy approach, which has gained popularity during the last decade as a means of integrating environmental qualities in urban land use plans. We then go on to analyse the effectiveness of specific area-oriented methods developed and applied in Rotterdam, and define their applicability in the planning practice of the local authorities of the city of Burgas in Bulgaria. The main conclusion of the study is that the degree of effectiveness of an area-oriented policy is dependent on the impact of specific success factors. Despite the differences between Rotterdam and Burgas in terms of the presence of these success factors, we assert that the area-oriented policy approach applied in Rotterdam can be transferable, and can be adapted to the specific local circumstances in Burgas and used as an instrument for integrating EPI into urban land use planning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1411-1443
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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