Democratic Nature of Urban Development in Groningen in the 1980s - PTT, Brink, Casino and Museum
Abstract It is essential for democracy that political parties should act within their promulgated policy frameworks, which are formally represented in election programmes. If political parties deviate from this principle, the election would lose its meaning, jeopardising democracy. In this respect, planning in Groningen in the 1970s, which realised progressive plans like the traffic circulation plan, was democratic, although it was criticised for lacking public participation. However, planning in the 1980s casts serious doubt on its democratic nature. Various large-scale projects were promoted, and they caused harsh criticism even within the government party, Labour Party. This paper focuses on four projects, that is, the PTT (office development), Brink (residential towers), Casino and Museum, all of which were planned in or next to the inner city of Groningen in the 1980s. This paper will examine these projects in terms of the policy frameworks of the Labour Party, which were created in the 1970s. These projects brought about drastic change of historical landscape, and were clearly contrary to the party frameworks or those measures that were introduced to guarantee the frameworks, such as the local land use plan. As a result, they gave rise to not only strong opposition among citizens, but also criticism of party members who still cherished those party frameworks.
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