Achieving spatial quality in integrated planning: an evaluation of the Dutch ‘room for the river’ program using qualitative comparative analysis

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In line with recent trends towards area-oriented planning, flood risk management has seen a shift from a water control strategy towards a water accommodation strategy. In the Netherlands, this resulted in the policy program Room for the River. The projects in this policy program are expected to achieve two key objectives: first, the accommodation of higher flood levels, i.e., water safety, and second, improving the spatial quality of the riverine areas. Whilst research has shown that the program is successful with respect to increasing water safety, less is known about its second objective. This paper thus has two aims: (1) assessing the extent to which the program has been able to achieve spatial quality and (2) identifying the conditions that explain this. To these aims, archival and survey data were collected, and analyzed using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). The analysis shows that there are various combinations of conditions for achieving spatial quality. We conclude that these different combinations entail different strategies, and that by means of those, the program management has been successful in achieving spatial quality in the Room for the River program.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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