Spatial Patterns, Congestion and Modelling
Transport Economics, Management and Policy series
Edited by Eliahu Stern, IIan Salomon and Piet H.L. Bovy
Chapter 1: The compact city: Conflict of interest between housing and mobility aims in the Netherlands
1. The compact city: Conﬂict of interest between housing and mobility aims in the Netherlands Kees Maat 1. INTRODUCTION Urban land use has been dispersing and thinning out over the past few decades. For many, this implied that they could realize their dream of suburban living. While the countryside, including the ‘Green Heart’ of the Randstad metropolis, was being urbanized, the economic base of the urban facilities and services was being eroded. Moreover, the emerging spatial structure promoted the use of the private car and implicitly discouraged people from using bicycles and public transport. Consequently, the need for private cars kept on growing. Already during the 1970s, opinions differed on whether the trend could be reversed. The reversal would mean promoting a more compact pattern of urbanization, thereby halting the trend toward a greater dependency on mobility, especially on the private car. That debate is still going on at the international scale. The Netherlands was one of the ﬁrst countries to raise the topic. In fact, the Netherlands made the promotion of compact cities the cornerstone of its spatial planning policy. However, the government is now distancing itself from this principle. As it turns out, the goal of curbing mobility by planning compact cities proves to be much harder to achieve than anticipated. In spite of all interventions to this end, the mobility rate is hardly diminishing. Nor are there signs of a shift from the use of cars to the use of bicycles and public transport. The difference...
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