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Reorienting future opportunities and
redefining the strategy for the Wijde Biesbosch area

Setting the scene

schaalniveaus Wijde BiesboschThe development of the Wijde Biesbosch area is part of the Revitalisation Rural Areas programme of the Province of Noord-Brabant. After a four years planning period the implementation started in 2005, for which a period of ten years was allocated. Currently, the implementation is about half way. Meanwhile, the world has changed so much, that the principles and strategy needs to be revised. The economic crisis called for drastic government spending cuts. Government agreements for funding of rural development have been suspended. Furthermore, national and provincial elections in the past two years have changed the policy priorities, most of which will become effective as from 2012 on. As a consequence, the Province of Noord-Brabant will no longer be able to provide for the finances, management and support on which the ten-year's development process was based. It appears now that unanticipated global and national developments have profound implications for regional and local levels. Significant changes in management and approach - a paradigm shift - is needed to make initiative and involvement from local society the driving forces for continued regional development.

Essential issues

The Board of Provincial Executives has asked the committees of the nine regions in the province to submit proposals how they want to continue the development of their regions, based on more private initiatives, self-organisation and innovative financing. This soon led to discussions and papers on redefining areas and new organisational structures. More important however, are the questions: what is it all about? Who, actually, are the problem owners now authorities are withdrawing? Does this imply a change of goals? Which approach could supply sufficient flexibility to anticipate and act upon unforeseen, but inevitably emerging new changes? Do the current cooperating parties want to continue their alliances or are new ones more desirable?

Initiated change

Verandering in acht fasenFor finding answers Interactive Consult has created a process framework on behalf of Regiowaarde and initiated a change in thinking. After all, future development will have to be based on local initiatives and responsibility, and with new alliances that act on multiple scales simultaneously with less administrative pressure.

This requires a different approach and more flexible planning to allow regions to work steadily on their desired future, despite great uncertainty and constant change. Using a metaphor about penguins in the book "Our Iceberg Is Melting" we split up the process in recognizable steps with representatives from the Wijde Biesbosch. Decision-making was prepared for with scenarios. These explorations led to a proposal to the Board of Provincial Executives by September 2011. The next coming months will be used for working on further development and alliance building.

More information

Heroriëntatie op gebiedsontwikkeling in de Wijde Biesbosch (in Dutch)

Brochure: Samenvatting rapport over heroriëntatie (in Dutch)
Brochure: Verandering in acht fasen (in Dutch)

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