Contractual arrangements in urban regeneration

In a new publication in Urban Studies, Martijn van den Hurk and I provide in-depth empirical insight into contractual arrangements for urban regeneration projects in the Netherlands.

Urban regeneration projects involve complex contractual deals between public- and private-sector actors. Critics contend that contracts hamper opportunities for flexibility and change in these projects due to strict provisions that are incorporated in legal agreements. However, empirical evidence on what is actually written within contracts is often missing.

In this new article, my co-author Martijn van den Hurk and I address how practitioners deal with contractual arrangements for urban regeneration. We present an analysis of what is included in contracts and how the actors involved navigate within contractual arrangements. The article taps into data sources that are difficult to access, addressing how contracts are used by practitioners, and presents questions for future research on contracts in the urban built environment.

Our analysis draws attention to two common practices in Dutch urban regeneration projects. First, we show that local authorities tend to avoid confrontation and conflict with their contractual partners. Second, although contingency provisions are designed to render adaptability and facilitate the redefinition of task allocations between the public- and private-sector parties, we demonstrate that actors find other ways of changing the original arrangements.

Full reference:

Van den Hurk, M. and T. Tasan-Kok (2020). Contractual arrangements and entrepreneurial governance: Flexibility and leeway in urban regeneration projects. Urban Studies, 57(16), 3217-3235.