Chapter 7: Agglomeration benefits and spatial planning policy
What would have happened without a specific overspill policy? Amsterdam would have grown into a mammoth city with 1 to 1.5 million inhabitants . . . Eventually, the part of the Noord-Holland province around Amsterdam would have turned into a car city, something like Los Angeles. Roel De Wit, 2007. Amsterdam would have grown into a city with millions of inhabitants if the later Prime Minister, Joop den Uyl, had had his way in the 1960s. As the alderman for, amongst other things, urban development and public works, he aspired to large-scale expansion, both by developing land in surrounding municipalities and by drastic restructuring of the historical city centre. In his biography, Annet Bleich (see further reading) referred to a ‘Manhattan by the Amstel river’. His appointment as Minister for Economic Affairs in the Cals administration in 1965 put a stop to his plans. Joop den Uyl was succeeded as alderman by Roel de Wit, who focused on Purmerend instead, at that time still a provincial town with about fifteen thousand inhabitants. This was the beginning of the so-called ‘overspill policy’ or ‘growth centre policy’, which restricted growth at the fringe of the large cities for the benefit of more distantly located, sometimes newly designed, centres of urban growth.
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