Unpacking the Complexities of Social Value Integration in Amsterdam's Planning and Property Development Landscape


  • Nagwa Kady University of Amsterdam
  • Sara Özogul University of Groningen


Urban planning, Social value, Property development, Entrepreneurialism




The property sector is increasingly recognizing the importance of social value, yet its integration into urban development practices in planning remains limited. The elusive nature of social value, shaped by diverse actors with varying motivations, is exacerbated by the absence of defined goals and objectives. This complexity results in the loss of social value in translation in property development processes, but more so, due to the entrepreneurialism of governments that rely on the private sector to achieve their objectives. This paper diverges from dominant market-driven and entrepreneurial governance narratives, focusing on the actions and interactions of public and private sector actors as pivotal players in contemporary property development. While planning encompasses physical and non-physical attributes that generate social value at different spatial scales (Vigar et al., 2020), the abstract process of perceiving, defining, and translating social values into actual projects persists. To address this, we developed a framework based on Adam and Tiesdell’s (2012) representation of real estate production processes and Jain et al.’s (2020) framework of social value creation. Our framework centers on three aspects: perception, implementation, and operation, which we use to trace social values through the various phases of development in four case studies in Amsterdam. Perception involves how project development actors differently interpret social value concepts which in turn leads to implementation challenges. The implementation phase focuses on the negotiations between public and private actors, dependent on their collaboration and resource acquisition to realize social value objectives. The operation phase emphasizes project maintenance, particularly concerning intangible social values. Through the framework, we identified several key challenges, namely, the shifting influence and motivation of actors as processes intensify, complicating the consistent prioritization of social value. Furthermore, the unregulated nature of social value, coupled with competing priorities such as financial gain, contributes to an ambiguous and inconsistent value-creation process.