The Randstad metropolitan region encompassing Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht in the western Netherlands is regarded worldwide as a model of a `successful' polycentric metropolis. It is widely cited as an example of an effectively functioning region made up of inter-connected small cities providing complementary functions which together provide the benefits of one larger monocentric city. The methods of strategic spatial planning, regional design and strategic projects are used as models for practitioners and students around the world.
However, the functioning of this cluster of cities as a polycentric networked region is controversial both in terms of the actual relations between its component parts and in terms of the value of promoting such a relationship in policy. In short, does the Randstad really function as a polycentric metropolis? What are the costs and benefits of a Randstad metropolis? Should the concept be pursued in government policy and action and how? These questions are of critical interest within the Netherlands but also in other complex urban regions around the world.
This book will provide explanations of the place of complex city regions in the globalisation process, a critical analysis of the Randstad itself and lessons for strategic planning in other metropolitan regions.