Planning strategies for dealing with population decline: Experiences from the Netherlands

Raoul Beunen*, Marlies Meijer, Jasper R. de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper explores the selection and implementation of planning strategies and land use instruments for dealing with population decline in three different regions in the Netherlands. The study shows that each region developed very specific responses that can be explained by the different discourses that dominated planning and policymaking in that region. Although the perceptions about population decline, its consequences and suitable responses are strongly context specific, in all three regions responsible governments deemed it necessary to adapt existing policies and plans and to tailor strategies to a situation with population decline. The study also shows that ideas about using planning as a tool to stimulate economic growth prevail in the studied regions, but that it are precisely these ideas that hamper the development and implementation of policies for dealing with population decline. The paper also illustrates how Evolutionary Governance Theory can be useful for explaining why regions take different routes in dealing with population decline and for analysing the different dependencies that influence the selection of strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104107
Number of pages10
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date18 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Land use policy
  • Population decline
  • Spatial planning
  • Strategy
  • development
  • discourse
  • governance
  • growth
  • policy instruments
  • population decline


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