Transforming business parks into mixed working and living areas in The Netherlands. Legitimately solving bottlenecks in organic transformation processes through new legislation in the Environment and Planning Act

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Transforming obsolete inner-city business areas into mixed living and working areas deals with two spatial issues at once, since it reduces the housing shortage by reincarnating these sites into attractive urban areas. However, such transformation processes face multiple bottlenecks, such as fragmented land ownership, local resistance and environmental zoning restrictions. Furthermore, zoning plan requirements restrict organic transformation strategies. In 2021 the Environment and Planning Act is expected to enter into force in the Netherlands, which emphasizes on organic development, flexibility and customization. It offers new opportunities for resolving organic transformation bottlenecks. Municipalities already make use of these new opportunities by acting as experimental areas through the Crisis and Recovery Act. The Act allows municipalities to deviate from current planning legislation and enables them to make use of new legislation in the Environment and Planning Act in advance. Through nine case studies, this qualitative research investigates whether the Environment and Planning Act actually offers new possibilities to facilitate organic business park transformation processes and in what ways municipalities legitimize this. It is concluded that the new planning legislation provides sufficient opportunities for resolving transformation bottlenecks, while guaranteeing legal certainty for stakeholders. These solutions are legitimized through input-, throughput- and output reasoning.
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