Exploring the drivers and barriers of bottom-up urban development projects

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Urban interventions initiated by citizens, (end)users and small independent professionals have increased in number since the recent economic crisis. Many of these ‘bottom-up’ Urban Area Development projects (UAD’s) result from citizens’ dissatisfaction with conventional practices or give room for ambitions to self-organization. Current Dutch policies, in line with EU policies, emphasize the potential and added value of these bottom-up developments in co-creating healthy, inclusive and resilient cities. However, theoretical knowledge of what these ‘bottom-up’ projects are, and proven methods of how they can be successfully supported and governed is lacking.
This paper aims to contribute to filling this gap. It starts with a literature review which identifies the characteristics of ‘bottom-up’ UAD’s and what distinguishes them from conventional, ‘top-down’ organized UAD’s. Drawing on bodies of literature, a framework was developed to analyse the institutions of UAD’s. It introduces a number of variables, influencing processes and outcomes of UAD’s. A first exploration of two distinctive Dutch cases shows to what extent this framework is valid and how different types of UAD’s show a different emphasis on - and implications of - the variables. It also provides a richer picture of the drivers within strategies, developed by actors.
Further analysis shows a dependency on - and necessary collaboration between - bottom-up and conventional top-down actors in order to achieve successful bottom-up UAD’s, amongst others. Future, extensive case-studies within this research will examine the tentative proposition, that this ‘merge’ or ‘cross-over’-approach is essential in order to successfully govern and support bottom-up UAD’s.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusUnpublished - 9 May 2018
EventAESOP Annual Congress 2018 "Making Space for Hope" - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 10 Jul 201814 Jul 2018


ConferenceAESOP Annual Congress 2018 "Making Space for Hope"


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