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Spatial developments

Density of housing, work and retail trade in urban areas, 2000-2008

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The Dutch Spatial Policy Document focuses on the development of urban centres in urban networks and in new key projects (NSPs). The density of functions in urban centres and around NSPs is high. Following a decline between 2000 and 2006, the function density in most highly-urbanised centres increased again between 2006 and 2008.

Function density in highly-urbanised centres

According to the Spatial developments in urban areas, the dynamics of urban environments 2000-2006 study (Ruimtelijke ontwikkelingen in het stedelijk gebied, Dynamiek van stedelijke milieu's 2000-2006), 44 municipalities have got a highly-urbanised centre in the Netherlands. These highly-urbanised centres have a very high density of housing, work and retail trade/amenities, with the centre of Amsterdam taking the lead. Although changes in density in highly-urbanised centres show a varied picture, the density increased in most centres between 2006 and 2008. A decrease was seen in just 6 of the 44 urban centres, with the most decline seen in Dordrecht, Venlo and Drachten. Following decline between 2000 and 2006, an increase was seen again in Zoetermeer, Maastricht, Arnhem and Groningen. The highest increase in the period 2000 to 2008 was seen in Zwolle, Haarlem, Breda, Alkmaar and Amersfoort. Changes in density were primarily influenced by an increase in the number of homes (just above 1% over the whole period) and a decrease in the working population between 2000 and 2006, followed by an increase between 2006 and 2008. The change in the number of retail outlets followed a similar pattern as the changes in the working population.

Density around new key project stations

In 2008, the spatial intensity of housing, work and retail trade/amenities was lower in the vicinity of the six NSP stations than in the urban centres. The highest densities were seen around the main stations in Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, while the stations in Amsterdamse Zuidas and Breda had relatively low densities. There were no significant changes in spatial density at the NSPs between 2006 and 2008. On average, a slight increase in intensity was seen. There was a particular increase in function density during this period near the Amsterdamse Zuidas station, where a considerable increase in the working population and number of retail sites was seen. A decrease in function intensity was only seen in the vicinity of Den Haag Centraal station in The Hague, where shops and homes disappeared. Construction activities near NSP stations have a negative effect on spatial intensity in the short term.

Centres essential for urban networks

The Spatial Policy Document states that developing urban centres is essential for creating urban networks. Urban centres increase the level of urbanisation, form the basis for synergy in urban networks and ensure the better utilisation of existing built-up areas, infrastructure and traffic and transport hubs. The Dutch government is actively contributing to six key projects for centre formation: Zuidas in Amsterdam, Rotterdam Centraal, Utrecht Centraal, Den Haag Centraal and the area around the stations in Arnhem and Breda. There is also the ambition to increase the intensity in other existing centres.

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Reference for this page

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2014). Density of housing, work and retail trade in urban areas, 2000-2008 (indicator 2011, version 03 , 20 May 2014 ). www.environmentaldata.nl. Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.

The Environmental Data Compendium is a partnership of CBS, PBL, RIVM and WUR.