TPR, 67 (2) 1996
WILLEM KORTHALS ALTES
Marketing planning and its dangers
H ow the new housing crisis in The
Netherlands came about
Fascinated by the idea of 'the end of growth', Dutch planners turned away from
the ongoing business of growth management in the 1980s. Their newly
formulated marketing stategy based on the idea of a 'policy life cycle', analogous
to the product life cycle, suggested that they should focus on other issues with
more political appeal. However, one of the criticisms in the literature is that
invoking the product life cycle may all too easily lead firms to phase out product
lines prematurely. The phasing out of growth management was also premature.
Thanks among other things to immigration, there is a continuous need for more
housing in The Netherlands. The bottleneck in meeting it is the supply of
building land in locations which meet the stringent criteria of The Fourth
National Physical PlanningReport ('Vierde NOla overde RuimtelijkeOrdening' ,
1988), and its supplement, The Fourth ReportExtra ('Vierde Nota over de
RuimtelijkeOrdening Extra', 1990), approved in 1993. The resulting 'new
housing crisis' threatens to undermine political support for Dutch policies
evolving around the 'Randstad' with its towns and cities arrayed around the
'Green Heart'. Clearly, the discourse constructed by planners pursuing a strategy
of marketing planning in the 1980s incorporated some flawed assumptions which
put a question mark against the continuing relevance of planning.
-----------------------------------Upon taking office in 1994, the Dutch government announced that it would build an
~dditional 15000 subsidised homes annually. In early 1995, the target until the year
005 Was increased by SS 000 units, over and above a 1993 increase of 162000 units.
National planners have learned their lesson and will base future policy not on
U ~rofessor A. Faludi is at the Amsterdam study centre for the Metropolitan Environment (AME),
nlversity of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, NL-I018 VZ Amsterdam; W. K. Korthals
~ltes, formerly of the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) and AME, is at Kolpron Consultants,
nOofdweg 330, 3067 GK Rotterdam.
Paper submitted March 1995; revised paper received July 1995 and accepted October 1995.
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