Land for housing: Quantitative targets and qualitative ambitions in Dutch housing development

Arend Jonkman, Rick Meijer, Thomas Hartmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


The struggle of cities to achieve quantitative housing objectives can partly be explained by the struggle to cope with increasing value conflicts with other (qualitative) policy objectives, including the realization of affordable housing, climate adaptive areas, inclusive neighborhoods, and high-quality public spaces. In public debate in the Netherlands, too high ambitions and a ‘piling-up’ of policy objectives are often mentioned as causes of non-conformance of quantitative housing objectives. However, despite such non-conformance, a plan or policy may still function well by informing the decision-making process and invoking scrutiny of conflicting objectives. This paper aims to understand how municipalities cope with the implementation of housing developments with pluralistic policy objectives. Therefore, the performance of the policy objective to accelerate the production of housing is studied by exploring how value conflicts between this quantitative and qualitative objectives are addressed. A survey among Dutch municipalities and two additional in-depth case studies reveal that the non-conformance of the acceleration of the housing production not only results from exogenous processes, but is also a result of accumulating policy decisions favouring qualitative ambitions. The case studies reveal that municipalities especially struggle with trade-offs between qualitative and quantitative objectives. This result shows the relevance of additional research that focus on value conflicts in public policy implementation processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105957
Number of pages11
JournalLand Use Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


NWO (438.17.158)


  • Housing development
  • Land policy
  • Policy analysis
  • Policy performance
  • Value conflicts


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