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Breaking the deadlock: lessons from cross-border spatial projects in Flanders and the Netherlands
De Vries, J. (2008). Breaking the deadlock: lessons from cross-border spatial projects in Flanders and the Netherlands. disP 44(172): 48-61.
Peer reviewed article  

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    Marien; Brak water; Zoet water

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  • De Vries, J., meer

    This paper explores the specific char acteristics of decision-making in cross-border spatial projects and draws some lessons for European territorial cooperation. This is done by examining three major infrastructure projects between the Netherlands and Flanders: the construction of a high-speed rail link between Antwerp and Rotterdam, the deepening and widening of the Scheldt River, and the reopening of the Iron Rhine freight railway between Antwerp and the German Ruhrgebiet (which cuts across Dutch territory). The analysis is structured into four issues that are often considered problematic for large spatial projects. First, a sound analysis of the actual problem that spatial projects are supposed to solve and a comparison of alternative courses of action are often lacking. Second, projects usually take longer than planned. Third, projects often encounter strong opposition. Fourth, impact research can be easily discredited in the decision-making process. The paper shows that cross-border projects encounter specific problems in all four areas, some of which could be ameliorated by more involvement by the European Union.

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