chapter  3
24 Pages

Innovations in governance and planning: Randstad cooperation


This chapter deals with the innovation of governance and planning in European regions in general, and more specifically, the urbanized Randstad area of the Netherlands. As one of the smallest countries of Europe, Dutch society has always been intensely interconnected with the outside world. The Dutch econ - omy serves as the gateway to Europe, with its strength in international trade and services. Education and culture are well linked with the outside world, albeit with different accents during the last century. The prewar generation was strongly influenced by dominant European countries, namely the UK, Germany, and France. My own generation grew up in the postwar circum - stances of the 1950s and 1960s. As with everywhere else in Western Europe, this generation became overwhelmingly dominated by North American influences. Even in the critical students’ epoch of the early 1970s, I estimate that about 80 percent of our academic textbooks came from the US. The current generation of students is no longer solely influenced by North American culture, and the gradual unification of Europe has generated a new fascination for countries within Europe itself-particularly, this includes many of the new member states in Central and Eastern Europe-as well as the booming countries in Asia. We are well aware that history is changing at a faster rate and on a larger scale than ever before. With more economic and cultural potential in the “new world” than ever expected, countries such as China and India, as well as the region of East Asia, are setting new trends, not just in economic development but in many facets of explosive urbanization. It is in these emerging climates that Western engineers, urban planners, and architects have the opportunity not only to apply the best of their capabilities but also, increasingly, to learn about changing urban forms and innovative ways to deal with these explosive conditions.