The Additional Value of Multi-level Governance in Retail Planning: The influence of regional and provincial coordination on the effectiveness of the retail planning of municipalities

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In the Netherlands retail planning was formerly the national government’s responsibility, until it was decentralised to provinces and municipalities by the Nota Ruimte in 2004. This led to large differences between provinces, but also between regional authorities, in their powers, decision-making processes and legal structures. This governance change seems to have led to ineffective collaborative planning at the regional level. Different programs were initiated to improve regional coordination and governance in retail planning, but there is still room for improvement. The retail sector faces structural problems, spatial inequalities, sectoral pressure, and new challenges. Therefore, this research aims to identify in what ways differences in the regional (and provincial) governance structures of retail planning influence the (local) effectiveness of municipalities’ retail planning in practice. An exploratory ‘multi-level governance’ approach was used, with a qualitative comparative casestudy, for comparing two groups of municipalities (and other involved governmental actors) with a presumably different governance structure. By conducting interviews and analysing municipalities’ policies, differences in their governance structures were demonstrated, which indeed seem to have led to local differences in retail planning. A higher level of multi-level governance seems to have had a mostly positive impact on the effectiveness of municipalities’ retail planning.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen