I currently work hard on finishing my master thesis. A brief summary:
Every municipality in the Netherlands has its own Commission on Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). This committee advises the municipal government/council/board on aspects concerning architecture, urban design and public space. In order to improve the transparency municipalities are obliged to set up a policy document which contains concrete criteria to which CABE can test building permits. This document is called the ‘welstandsnota’. It is the municipality’s primary instrument used to promote design and architecture to raise the standard of the built environment. However, experts are now in debate about the existence of CABE. Many municipalities wish to see this independent commission disappear due to austerity of municipal funds and deregulation. In stead municipalities would rather test these building permits to the criteria of the ‘welstandsnota’ themselves. Nonetheless, the law does not accept this. This has resulted in the fact that more and more municipalities consider abolishing the ‘welstandnota’ as well as the CABE. Thus causing them to lose the most important policy instrument that enables them to influence the quality of the built environment.My master thesis project reflects the current social debate on the CABE and serves primarily as an assessment framework for municipalities. The research concerns a study on the options that municipalities have to control the quality of the built environment, other than through the ‘welstandsnota’. Many municipalities are afraid that the quality of the built environment will deteriorate when they abolish this policy document. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to explore the potential of other planning instruments, which municipalities can use to ensure valuable spatial characteristics in certain areas.
Ultimately, an overview of the various planning instruments will be given, including the ‘welstandsnota’, which can serve as an assessment framework for municipalities. In this overview, the (im-)possibilities, advantages and disadvantages of the various planning instruments will be compared with each other.