Large-scale development projects that try to attract and spatially accommodate flows of international investment money are prominent features of the planning agenda of many internationally oriented metropolitan areas in the western world. In this study the focus is on the innovative aspiration evident in some of the latest generation of projects, to create a mixed-use economic and urban area. This ambition for ‘new urbanity’ is often expressed in a preliminary stage of planning but hardly ever materialises in the spaces which are eventually built. How can this discrepancy be understood and what opportunities are there for the creation of more lively mixed-use projects in the future?
Extensive qualitative case study research on Zuidas Amsterdam, Ørestad Copenhagen and Forum Barcelona has unravelled complex processes of symbolic-cognitive and organisational framing in these projects. This book examines how the ambition to become a new integrated urban place has been conceived and developed and questions to what extent new urbanity has developed into a validated social norm, capable of influencing major actors’ paths of action. It concludes that the problematic implementation of new urbanity can mainly be attributed to the fact that it is still a ‘disconnected innovation’, an ambition which has no connection with the organisational framing of projects and the functioning of their operational domains.
Stan Majoor is an urban planner and political scientist who works at the Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan and International Development Studies (AMIDSt) of the University of Amsterdam.