Equivalent cooperation with stakeholders
Area-oriented working is the key to optimal spatial planning, in our view. The starting point for planning is thus not a concrete policy assignment formulated by the authorities. It actually stems from all the tasks and wishes playing a role in an area. Collaboration is needed to be aware of these tasks and wishes. Not only between authorities and semi-government bodies, but also with interest groups, private organisations and individual residents.
Collaboration in an open setting, where parties approach each other equally and study the tasks and interests of other area parties. Collaboration unrestricted in advance by sectoral policy or sectoral sources of funding, but where the area assignment is actually approached integrally.
At the same time, planning often begins with one or a few concrete policy tasks, there are planning and other preconditions, and there is a more or less defined financial framework. The focus is on strategic and other environmental management. Witteveen+Bos considers it a challenge to work together in an area-oriented way in this context too. By making ‘environmental management’ a real part of our integral design process, we make maximum use of the space to approach parties in the area (stakeholders) as equal partners, transparently. For us, this means: involving stakeholders at an early stage, first devoting attention to wishes and tasks in the area, and then working together in integral design sessions. It is our belief that this increases the quality of plans and the support for them. This way area-focused cooperation also manages important risks later on in the planning process. Risks of late changes to plans, or delays due to lack of support.