In its annual budget proposal (Miljoenennota) and letter Working on Growth, the Dutch Government announced its plan to send an Agenda Stad (the Dutch Urban Agenda) to parliament in 2015. This Agenda Stad comprises measures to strengthen growth, quality of life and innovation in Dutch cities. A more detailed version of Agenda Stad based on the key points below was agreed on in the council of Ministers on November 14th, 2014.
- Economic growth. International research shows that cities are increasingly important drivers of the economy.
- Increasing concentration of innovation and start-ups in the city. Urban areas are more and more responsible for approved patents.
- Cities determine the quality of life of a growing group of people. Issues like traffic jams, insecurity and unoccupied housing threaten the quality of life, and thereby the investment climate and competitiveness of the city.
Good position of cities not a given
Many Dutch cities and urban areas do well in international rankings, both in terms of competitiveness and quality of life. However, international competition between cities is on the rise. Dutch cities will need to anticipate on issues like climate change, inequality and unoccupied housing in order to stand out from others.
A number of advisory boards have pointed at potential threats to Dutch cities: lagging productivity growth, innovations that don’t transcend the pilot-stage, governmental inertia, uncoordinated profiling and a lack of investments in research and development. These threats highlight the need to prepare the Dutch network of cities for the challenges coming its way.
Ambition: Dutch cities in the lead worldwide
Agenda Stad strives to work together with cities and stakeholders to position Dutch cities in the lead worldwide, both in terms of competitiveness and quality of life. Therefore the Agenda Stad has been formulated in such a way that it provides concrete short-term actions on the one hand and long-term strategic guidelines on the other.
To improve cooperation between government, entrepreneurs and the public in the city, three leading perspectives are important:
- Eliminating obstacles. Cities need the resources and regulatory space to grow, differentiate and experiment
- Cooperation within and between urban areas. Cities can strengthen their position internationally by combining their efforts and working together across administrative boundaries.
- Creating conditions for (system) innovation. An infrastructure with open data, energy networks and good transport concepts can add quality to cities and thus create new opportunities for entrepreneurs.