RC - Rotterdam,Zoetermeer,Gouda; RZG Zuidplas

Short description: 

Case Rotterdam-Zoetermeer-Gouda: ‘Governance’ for regional development

Spatial development is increasingly framed as development on a regional (or supra local) scale. The case Rotterdam-Zoetermeer-Gouda (RZG) covers a large area in the heart of the Randstad Holland, the most internationally oriented metropolitan region in the Netherlands. On this area a large potential development program has accumulated over the years – housing, industry, horticulture, nature development, water storage, recreation - but without coherence. The area is the lowest lying in the Netherlands and suffers from high water tables. By removing the area from the protective veils of the famous Green Heart (a national landscape where urbanization has to be limited) national government made it possible in 2001 to start a process of planning for the area. Subject matters and actors come from all spatial scales: national, regional, and local. The reality of government is one of fragmentation and competition, as usual in the world. National political ambitions as to decentralization, to promote market-led development or PPP, profiling ambitions by the middle layer of government – the provinces – complicate the game.
In such a situation governmental reorganization is not a feasible option. In the Case RZG a process characterized as ‘plans-people-profit-process’ was designed and is under way.

The Netherlands
Randstad metropolitain region




Type(s) of MILU

Interweaving: use of the same space for different functions.


RED - the urban fabric and its infrastructure.

GREEN - green spaces and urban rural relations.

BLUE - water-systems and water related issues.



Stuurgroep drioehoek RZG

Planning and design:



Lessons learned
The approach of the RZG project can be typified as 'governance' and fits into the political ambition to make spatial planning more development than control oriented. Under the guidance of the province of Zuid-Holland actors from all angles cooperate.

There is no stable end situation yet, but choice of development locations is framed now in a different context than before. Importantly: the financial possibilities are reckoned with from the start, and the province and other parties have anticipated on the future and uncertain realization process by erecting a land bank and buying agricultural land.

Tensions exist of course: to whom 'belongs' the area, which has no natural single authority? What traffic facilities will be covered by the State? Can the lowest lying parts be skipped for development although they are closest to the Rotterdam and Gouda core cities? Is it possible to go from ‘strategy’ through 'plans' to 'projects'? 

The idea is that the different scales of interest find themselves reflected in different development projects.