Fragmented governance architectures in Amsterdam

Mar 16, 2021

Entrepreneurial urban governance is a dynamic and complex process, which requires equally dynamic and complex institutional infrastructure. Although the entrepreneurialisation of local administrations received quite some scholarly attention, the extent and format of institutional and organisational structures in a market-oriented system often remain unnoticed. In a new article published by Environment and Planning A, I collaborated with Sara Ozogul to share our research findings on this topic.

We developed a conceptual perspective arguing that complex institutional and organisational arrangements in market-driven urban development can be comprehended through fragmented governance architectures. We propose an original thesis: entrepreneurial urban governance requires, and ultimately creates, fragmented governance architectures that accommodate complex institutional and organisational arrangements in market-oriented urban development.

Focusing on the increasingly complexifying and problematic residential property production in Amsterdam, our comprehensive frame of analysis focuses on the way property industry activity is regulated by the public sector; the way public administrative structures relate to property market activity; and the way policy interventions and tools are narrated in regulations affecting residential property production.

Even though entrepreneurial governance arrangements in Amsterdam are not new, our article poses that the degree of fragmentation has intensified since the 2008 financial crisis with the subsequent de-regulation, particularly at the national level, and – once the repercussions were felt in Amsterdam – with various attempts to re-regulate residential property production at the local level. The Dutch national government loosened its regulatory framework to make more room for private market activities. Meanwhile, housing shortages across the Netherlands turned residential property production into a highly politicised issue. Correspondingly, in recent years various government layers and agencies began to produce more guidelines, visions, and ambitions to push forward their own agendas based on their constituencies.

Based on rich empirical evidence, including discourse analysis, policy analysis and in-depth interviews with key policy and property industry actors operating in Amsterdam, we illuminate a complex regulatory environment expressing divergent attitudes toward property market activity, intra-organisational discrepancies within Amsterdam’s local administration up to the level of individuals engaging with property development, and the circulation of fuzzy policy narratives on property industry actors. In Amsterdam, we argue, these factors create the underlying infrastructure that allows an increasingly entrepreneurial governance system to roll out at the local level. Without strong and consistent public-sector leadership, this fragmentation is likely to increase.

Full reference

Tasan-Kok, T. & S. Özogul (2021). Fragmented governance architectures underlying residential property production in Amsterdam. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space.


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