From developing Zuidas in Amsterdam and tackling the problems in Rotterdam-Zuid to protecting the Netherlands against the water in the Delta Programme – large spatial planning projects in the Netherlands soon have everyone joining in: central government, provinces, municipalities and of course countless private players. And it’s different every time. So all these projects are also processes – processes that often take years, in which objectives alter over time, briefs change hands and projects end up on more than one political agenda. What is spatial design in this context?

In 2011 the Dutch government decided to take part in the 5th IABR: Making City, with seven big spatial planning projects. Fifteen design offices and three architecture schools engaged in design research at the heart of the political game to deepen and sharpen the assignments so as to make room for new ideas in an environment where this is not always the natural course of events. This book documents that process as well as the results and maps out the extent to which spatial design is bound up with a whole host of social and political agendas.

The Netherlands in Projects is the seventh volume in the Design and Politics series, an initiative of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.