Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)


Action oriented planning, regulation and investment dilemmas for innovative urban development in living lab experiences

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An Urban Europe Joint Programming Initiative

The University of Amsterdam leads this large international research project on the contemporary dilemmas in developments at the urban fringe. Together with Aalborg University (Denmark), Yildiz Technical University (Turkey), and Aalto University (Finland), and the municipality of Amsterdam, a range of urban development projects are researched in five different cities. Central in this research are the way planning dilemmas are manifested and dealt with in the projects. 

Planning Dilemmas

Urban planning can be arranged in different ways, but trade-offs between the extremes of self-organization and control are always present to some extend. In order to achieve effective innovation in urban development, a balance between these extremes, suited to the specific context, is needed.

Three major dilemmas are identified and elaborated in APRILab:

  • Intervention Dilemma: between highly controlled spatial processes and the accommodation of emergent urban change;
  • Regulation Dilemma: between instrumentalism and generic normative guidance of self-regulation;
  • Investment Dilemma: between supply and demand driven investment strategies.

Our findings are shared in the form of deliverables which can be found on the deliverables page.


Research is conducted in actual urban developments in four different cities. Methods of action-based research are applied in addition to more traditional qualitative research methods. Different perspectives from a range of stakeholders are included in the research to give a deeper understanding about the trade-offs and their emergent effects in the projects. 

Published by  AISSR

18 November 2015