HOW CONTINUOUS CERTAINIFICATION BY DECISION MAKERS RESULTS IN MORE UNCERTAINTY
Keywords:infrastructure planning, CERTAINIFICATION, decision-making, uncertainty, urban policies, planning policies
Infrastructure planning is increasingly confronted with a dynamic environment and an engaged society. This necessitates decision makers to interact with their environment, resulting in the adoption of adaptive and participative planning approaches such as combined infrastructure and (organic) area development (De Roo et al., 2020). Giving room to stakeholders and to unforeseen developments implies incorporating uncertainty in planning and decision making and increases the complexity of planning. In current infrastructure planning, decision makers seem to struggle to find a balance between giving room to uncertainties on the one hand, and keeping the decision-making process manageable on the other hand. This often results in attempts to reduce uncertainties, in 'certainification' (Van Asselt et al., 2007; Klijn & Koppenjan, 2016). This focus on certainification prevents adaptive and participative approaches in planning from reaching full maturity (Hajer et al., 2010; Albrechts, 2012).
This paper is based on a recent study
(Veenma, 2021) and aims to provide a better understanding of how decision makers in practice deal with uncertainty in their interaction with other actors. The term ‘decision makers’ refers to elected administrators as well as policy officers who support these administrators in the preparation and implementation of policy. This paper focuses specifically on area-oriented infrastructure planning – i.e., infrastructure projects explicitly designed to improve the quality of a local area (Arts et al., 2016; Heeres et al., 2012). By studying the planning and decision-making process in area-oriented infrastructure projects in practice, insight is gained into the process of interaction between relevant actors in the decision making. Based on this, the research provides recommendations on how to achieve a better embedding of adaptive and participative planning approaches – and thus more ‘room’ for uncertainty – in planning practice.