Town Planning Review 86.3: Best paper freely available online for limited time only!

Posted on July 01, 2015 by Chantel Baldry

Resilient practices: a paradox-oriented approach for large-scale development projects

The editors of Town Planning Review have chosen 'Resilient practices: a paradox-oriented approach for large-scale development projects' by Stan Majoor to be the best paper in Volume 86 Issue 3. The article will be freely available online for a limited time.

Dr Stan Majoor analyses the capacity of large-scale development projects to deal with changing circumstances. He took inspiration from the theory on evolutionary resilience that studies the ability of complex socio-ecological systems to change, adapt and, crucially transform – by self-organisation – in response to external stresses and strains.

Large-scale development projects that combine integrated investments in real estate, public spaces and infrastructures are, due to their long planning and realization phases, particularly prone to changing circumstances. The paper wonders how they could have resilient capability, and explores if such resilient capability could contribute to more equitable outcomes.

The paper argues that resilient capability is connected to projects’ ability to manage the paradoxical tensions between requirements of flexibility and innovation, on the one hand, and efficiency and reliability on the other. Resilient capability is found in practices that understand the relationship between these dualities and deal with them without replacing or attenuating the tension that ground them. The Amsterdam Zuidas project is used to explore and test these concepts in practice.

Dr. Majoor said, “large-scale development projects are infused by high expectations regarding economic benefits and spatial quality. The global economic crisis has once again shown that most of them have difficulties adapting to changing economic, social and spatial realities. They occupy important places in cities and require large public and private investments. Nevertheless, their benefits are often criticized, particularly from a perspective of social justice and spatial quality. We need to reflect upon strategies that can make these interventions better capable of change and innovation throughout their development trajectory”.

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