Project by
Stef Bogaerds
Master Track
Urbanism
Supervisors
Wouter Vanstiphout, Rene van der Velde
Date of graduation
28-01-2014

TOWARDS A NEW (A)POLITICAL LANDSCAPE

This project is focused on a new spatial decision-making model in the rural environment of The Hoeksche Waard – an area on the south of Rotterdam – and how transparent and democratic these choices should be determined.

Throughout history, the Hoeksche Waard (as other countryside areas in the Netherlands) has many times been seen as a territory in which spatial problems in a dense country can be solved adequately mainly by powers outside the area itself. As such, the contradiction between national politics vs. countryside interests, is not an abstract division or gap, but a reality which is constantly facing the rural population. That’s why this project suggests a Netherlands governed based on ‘super’ municipalities, where the local authorities have full control, power and voice about their spatial environment and will not be directed by the Province or the National Government. The fully-decentralized Netherlands will be a good step forward towards a more ‘democratic’ rural environment, but real democracy should come from the ‘people’ itself and is able to reshape or even amputate crusted institutions. This needs to require alternative perspectives, which discuss new directions.

That’s why the new spatial decision-making model proposed in this thesis, goes beyond the current political model of representative democracy, but introducing several forms of democracy based on the scale, importance, specific interests of the spatial interventions. By rethinking how spatial choices are made in the contemporary rural area, the Hoeksche Waard hopefully becomes more tangible and understandable. Where people don’t agree or disagree with spatial forces from outside the region, but deeply think how the future of the Hoeksche Waard need to be shaped and what their role is.

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