The research program social innovation in regional governance, rethinking concepts, strategies and instruments aims to deepen our understanding of contemporary transitions in regional planning practices, focusing on the shifting relations between public and private organisations. Both public and private players are searching for a new distribution of roles and responsibilities and for means that fit these new roles. New alliances and new forms of cooperation and governance are developed and explored. The program aims to reflect on these practices, feed them with feedback, knowledge and new ideas and develop a new methodology for spatial planning on a local and regional scale. Important issues are identity, democracy, the science-policy nexus, place keeping, population decline, and liveability. The program is a cooperation of different groups of Wageningen University, The Dutch Cadastre, the Province of Noord-Holland and various local and regional partners.

As part of this program three PhD projects have been started:

Jasper de Vries: the role of trust in spatial planning 

Sanne Holtslag-Broekhof: spatial planning, property rights and land owners

Albert Aalvanger: Negotiating rules and roles in local governance

Key publications

De Vries, J., Roodbol-Mekkes, P., Beunen, R., Lokhorst, A.M., Aarts, N (2014) Faking and forcing trust: the performance of trust and distrust in public policy. Land Use Policy 38: 282–289.

Van Assche, K. Beunen, R. & Duineveld, M. (2013) Evolutionary Governance Theory: an Introduction. Springer Briefs in Economics.

De Vries, J.R., Beunen, R., Aarts, N., Lokhorst, A.M., Van Ark, R.G.H. (2013) The pivot points in planning: How the use of contracts influences trust dynamics. Planning Theory (online first)

Van Assche, K, Beunen, R. Holm, J., Lo, M. (2013) Social learning and innovation. Ice fishing communities on Lake Mille Lacs. Land Use Policy 34: 233-242.

Duineveld, M., K. Van Assche, R. Beunen (2013) Making things irreversible. Object stabilization in urban planning and design. Geoforum. Online first:

Van Assche, K., R. Beunen and M. Duineveld (2013) Formal/ informal dialectics and the self- transformation of spatial planning systems: an exploration. Administration and Society. Online first:

Domingo, I. and R. Beunen (2013) Regional Planning in the Catalan Pyrenees: Strategies to Deal with Actors’ Expectations, Perceived Uncertainties and Conflicts, European Planning Studies.

Van Assche, K., R. Beunen, M. Duineveld and H. de Jong (2012) Co-evolutions of planning and design: Risks and benefits of design perspectives in planning systems. Planning Theory. online first.

Van Assche, K., R. Beunen and M. Duineveld (2011) Performing Success and Failure in Governance: Dutch Planning Experiences. Public Administration, 90 (3): 567-581.

Dijk, T. van; Beunen, R. (2009) Laws, People and Land Use: A sociological perspective on the relation between laws and land use
European Planning Studies 17 (12). – p. 1797 – 1815.

Duineveld, M.; Beunen, R.; Assche, K.A.M. van; During, R.; Ark, R.G.H. van (2009) The relationship between description and prescription in transition research. In: Transitions towards sustainable agriculture and food chains in peri-urban areas / Poppe, K.J., Termeer, C., Slingerland, M., . – Wageningen, The Netherlands : Wageningen Academic Publishers

More publications can be found in this document: new directions in planning theory or on the website




Kernwaarden landschap Amerongen en Leersum – project | Vereniging Dorp en Natuur

Naar een dorpscooperatie in Nieuw Dordrecht – wetenschapswinkel | kenniswerkplaats

Samenwerkende dorpsraden ‘t Veld/Zijdewind, Oude Niedorp en Winkel – dorpsonderzoek kenniswerplaats

Burgerschap in krimpregio’s – VKKL

Sociale Cohesie in Nederwetten – wetenschapswinkel

Krimp in Kloosterburen – wetenschapswinkel