Planning for Waterway Renewal: Balancing Institutional Reproduction and Institutional Change

Willems, J. J., Busscher, T., Woltjer, J. & Arts, J., 2018, In : Planning Theory & Practice. 19, 5, p. 678-697 20 p.

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Modern waterway networks are ageing and need to be renewed, yet the institutional context in the waterway sector is averse to change because of path dependencies. Waterway renewal requires actors to navigate between institutional reproduction and change. Applying an innovative framework for analysing institutions in a case study of the Dutch national waterways, we mainly find instances of institutional reproduction, which turns waterway renewal into a technical and financial exercise. However, institutional change becomes increasingly evident through a new functional-relational path, suggesting that planning for waterway renewal also entails reconsidering novel waterway configurations and incorporating neighbouring spatial developments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-697
Number of pages20
JournalPlanning Theory & Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Institutional change, waterways, institutions, path dependency, infrastructure planning, public administration, PATH DEPENDENCE, INFRASTRUCTURE, GOVERNANCE, TRANSPORTATION, NETWORKS, CAPACITY, LAND

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