Future of the city

the power of new connections

On 23 April 2014, the Council presented its advisory report 'The future of the city: the power of new connections to the Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector, Mr Stef Blok.

City of Rotterdam
Hollandse Hoogte / David Rozing

In this report, the Council concludes that the strength of the Netherlands' cities can be further developed and exploited. Although cities worldwide are becoming ever more important global economic drivers, the earnings potential of cities in the Netherlands is at risk due to the failure to take advantage of the benefits of agglomeration. At the same time, increasing engagement on the part of the urban population and the business community can be seen in cities in the Netherlands, often in association with government authorities and the societal midfield. The resultant civil initiatives serve to redefine the relationships between the various parties in cities. These developments prompt a fundamentally different view of the city and its role. 'Complementarity' is the new watchword, with greater attention devoted to the infrastructural and administrative connections between urban regions coupled with a stronger emphasis on each city's specific qualities in combination with those of its neighbours ('borrowed size'). This entails drawing yet further on the self-organising strength of urban communities. The process is likely to give rise to greater differences both between and within cities, something which the Council sees as unavoidable.