LUP-37806 Spatial Planning and Scarce Resources


Studiepunten 6.00

Individual Paper1
Group work6
Excursion (one day)4
Course coordinator(s)T Hartmann
Lecturer(s)T Hartmann
Examiner(s)T Hartmann

Language of instruction:



Spatial planning inherently is an activity that is targeted at the future use of spatial resources. Spatial resources are scarce. This scarcity is not only environmentally determined, but to a large extend a result of a political process. Spatial planning creates or alleviates scarcity of land by intervening in the allocation and distribution of land. It thereby intervenes with private property rights - i.e. granting, changing, or taking them. Whether scarcity is good or bad depends on the perspective and the policy goals. Once these goals are set, one of the greatest challenges spatial planning is its implementation. This course focuses not on the policy goals, but on its implementation (the policy goals will be discussed in ‘LUP-32806 Political Dilemmas of Spatial Planning’).
Implementing spatial policy is at the very core of spatial planning as a discipline. For the implementation of spatial planning objectives there are different instruments of land policy at the disposal of planners to deal with property rights of landowners. The instruments reach from tax incentives land readjustment, pre-emptive right, or even expropriation. The selection of such instruments of land policy is often presented in a functionalist approach as if it depended merely on technical choices. However, instruments are embedded in a political process. They correspond to specific interpretations of the role of the state and/or its private partners. Which instruments are appropriate, thus largely depends on the context in which they are used. Thereby planners need to find the right balance between flexibility and legal certainty.
In an increasingly dynamic society that is reinventing itself continuously, it is vital for planners to understand this context of society & innovation. This course discusses how the public actors strategically can use certain instruments of land policy in such a context.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand how different policy instruments can impact scarcity of land and other spatial resources. This means understanding the rationale and basic functioning of instruments;
- reflect on the strategic and political dimension of using instruments of land policy;
- systematically develop strategies to use instruments in different contexts.

These learning outcomes are taught in a way that students are enabled to articulate interdisciplinary research questions relevant to the domain and practice of spatial planning. This is achieved with intense training on preparing an academic paper on instruments of land policy (including supporting planning objectives with relevant facts and figures obtained from literature and translating identified research questions into a detailed research plan based on interdisciplinary literature; structure and compose a comprehensive and original planning advice and identify the conflicting stakes and ethical implications involved in, and prompted by, different planning approaches and the envisioned scenarios). The strategic use of instruments also relates to the complex and dynamic nature of the contemporary challenges at various scales of intervention (local, regional, national and international). This gets students connected to current social debates to strategically relevant spatial developments


Lectures, group-work (literature study, preparation and delivery of thematic presentations), and a mini-excursion to Utrecht Central.


Oral presentation (30%);
Academic paper (groups of 2 students) (70%).


A reader will be prepared and announced in Learning environment@WUR.
Presentation slides from class will not be handed out.

Verplicht voor: MLPLandscape Architecture and PlanningMScB: Spec. B - Spatial Planning1AF