“The sleeping beauty”
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Nowadays, large scale greenfield development projects in the Netherlands belong to the past. There is an increasing need for new strategies for urban sustainable development, in order to protect the scarce land and to empower citizens. Also the recent economic crisis demands new approaches – such as organic urban growth. Brownfield redevelopment is such an approach that is in particular in the public interest, because it; reduces health and safety risks by site remediation; improves efficient use of scarce land and existing infrastructure, by protecting greenfields and re-using brownfields; enhances the urban quality and boosts urban renewal; and enhances competitiveness and employment. Notwithstanding, brownfield redevelopment projects are stagnating in the Netherlands, because of the following significant problems related to brownfield redevelopment; fragmented ownership; high remediation and development costs; a lack of knowledge and experience on the process; financing difficulties; the Dutch active land policy; strict law and property rights. In this contribution, urban land readjustment is discussed as an effective planning instrument, which can tackle down the problems related to brownfield redevelopment. Urban land readjustment is currently discussed in the Netherlands as a promising bottom-up instrument. The instrument positions landowners and land users central in the process. Stakeholders (public and private parties) can only participate on a voluntary basis in a readjustment process in the Netherlands. Inherently this implicates that stakeholders will only participate in a readjustment process when their individual interest can be realized. The instrument must therefore be able to operate in the difficult field of conflicting individuals interests. The issues that is explored in this study along four qualitative case studies (Reedijk, Induma-West, Koeweide & de Lammenschansdriehoek) is, to what extent such an instrument threatens public and private interest in urban brownfield redevelopment. Thereby the study focusses on to what extent land readjustment; (1) tackles down the problems related to brownfield redevelopment; (2) assures individual private and public interests; and (3) to what extent it operates in the difficult field of conflicting individuals interests. This research concludes that land readjustment is not merely an instrument which tackles down fragmented ownership. More importantly land readjustment directly or indirectly adequately assures individual private and public interests in brownfield redevelopment, because it; enhances collaboration between the stakeholders; lowers the transaction costs for acquiring land; spreads risks, increases collective responsibility and increases financing possibilities. Nevertheless, land readjustment should never be the goal, but must solely be an instrument for brownfield redevelopment. Also should be acknowledged that land readjustment also creates new and different tensions in the field of brownfield redevelopment.