Rules versus ideas in landscape protection: is a Green Heart attack imminent?

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    Landscape protection in metropolitan areas is an ongoing activity that lies outside the remit of political office-holders. As political agendas change, the importance of landscape protection on strategic planning agendas may also change. This paper raises the question whether this strategic level of landscape protection ought to rest on rules or ideas, and uses the Dutch Green Heart as a case study. The success of Dutch planning has been attributed to a planning doctrine which has evolved around a principle of spatial organization consisting of an open landscape (a Green Heart) in the middle of a ‘rim’ city – in this case the Dutch Randstad. After this success had been recognized, policies were developed to formalize the protection of the Green Heart in strategic planning rules. Political controversies ensued, which resulted in the abolition of Green Heart policies at national level. Recently, the province of Zuid-Holland adopted a new structural vision and a byelaw in which there is no role for the Green Heart in development control. This paper analyses this new system of strategic development control and discusses the role of rules as opposed to ideas in landscape protection.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    JournalInternational Planning Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Green Heart
    • Landscape planning
    • planning doctrine


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