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Enhancing sustainable development by means of the Workbench Method

  • Ecology


b37111 579..584 Enhancing sustainable development by means of the Workbench Method Sustainable development is a hopeful aspiration for most cities. However, the successful implementation of the sustainable development concept must be questioned, since our current environments are still characterized by urban sprawl, fragmentation, and quantity-driven urban developments, more than ten years after the introduction of the Millennium Development Goals. The Workbench Method was implemented in Amersfoort Municipality in the Netherlands, with the objective of enhancing spatial quality by means of participatory planning. In this commentary we argue that spatial quality is in many ways linked to sustainable development initiatives, and that the Workbench Method can thus also contribute to and enhance sustainable development, as it incorporates specific steps within a process of participation. From spatial quality ... As in most countries, spatial quality was not always the main focus of Dutch spatial planning policies. The Netherlands has experienced a shift in spatial planning since the 1950s (Leidelmeijer and Van Kamp, 2003) from compact-city approaches, with a focus on functionalism, to a focus on immaterial aspects, such as quality of life. The 1970s was the first time that the notion of liveability gained ground and it was not only professional expertise that was included in spatial planning, but local community inputs as well. The idea that `everybody is an expert' (as local communities are the actual users of an area) enhanced the bottom-up approach within spatial planning processes. The 1980s brought the interconnection of natural diversity, social cohesion, and spatial planning (Hooimeijer et al, 2001), resulting in a shift towards a more interactive process in planning, focusing on long-term planning, that eventually linked to sustainable development initiatives. Since then sustainable development has man- ifested as a hopeful aspiration for most cities and one of the most fundamental challe

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