Town Planning Review

Don’t blame public law: the legal articulation of certainty in Amsterdam land-use planning

Town Planning Review (2016), 87, (4), 459–479.

Abstract

In Amsterdam, development contracts are increasingly used to provide legal certainty for stakeholders in land-use planning. Under changing conditions, they are more difficult to adapt than other legal frameworks. This paper investigates the legal articulation of certainty; it scrutinises how instruments of both public and private law are interacting with each other and how they limit adaptation in practice. Two cases from Amsterdam are presented to demonstrate that development contracts signed between governments and private sector developers are more rigid than zoning regulations in the face of changing circumstances. The paper concludes that, instead of deregulation, a careful articulation of different legal instruments can enhance adaptive capacity.

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Savini, Federico