Qualitative comparative analysis for analyzing spatial planning processes

Using a complexity lens has not gained widespread attention for explaining why certain planning processes succeed and others fail. This chapter responds by proposing Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as a method for analyzing the performance of spatial planning processes, taking into account the perceived complexity of the contextual environments encountered. This proposal is rooted in a contingency perspective. Contingency perspectives assume that, for spatial planning approaches and organizational formats to perform well, they should be adapted to the environment in which they intend to operate; i.e., a degree of ‘fit’ is required. The perceived complexity of the contextual environments is among the key arguments contingency studies propose as informing fit. QCA follows this argument, but also responds to some of its main critiques. First, QCA can help avoid a deterministic perspective on complexity informing fit, as it assumes complexity as being conceptualized by stakeholders involved in the planning process. Second, QCA can help overcome a reductionist perspective and its simplistic reliance on a pairwise analysis of relations between isolated environmental variables and isolated organizational or decision-making variables. QCA approaches ‘fit’ from a more holistic perspective, by analyzing the performance of spatial planning processes as configurations of alternative spatial planning approaches, organizational forms, and contextual environments. The result is an understanding of ‘fit’ following what QCA considers ‘complex causality’, which is manifested in configurations of various interacting and interdependent conditions. Next to being able to analyze relationships between the performance of spatial planning processes and the perceived complexity of the contextual environment, by using the notion of ‘complex causality’ QCA also allows for analyzing spatial planning processes as complex adaptive systems.

Publication | Verweij, S. & Zuidema, C. (2020). Qualitative comparative analysis for analyzing spatial planning processes. In: G. de Roo, C. Zuidema & C. Yamu (eds), Handbook on Planning and Complexity (pp. 334-352). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Evaluatie 15 jaar DBFM-contracten bij infrastructuurprojecten Rijkswaterstaat

In opdracht van Bouwend Nederland en Rijkswaterstaat hebben we een evaluatieonderzoek uitgevoerd naar publiek-private samenwerking bij het Rijk. De focus lag op het in kaart brengen van de ervaringen en resultaten van 15 jaar Design-Build-Finance-Maintain (DBFM) bij Rijkswaterstaat en het formuleren van aanbevelingen voor de toekomst. Specifiek is gekeken naar de opvattingen over de mate waarin aan de verwachtingen van DBFM – en dan met name de F-component – is voldaan en naar de factoren en mechanismen die daarbij een rol spelen. Het onderzoek is onlangs afgerond en heeft geresulteerd in meerdere onderzoeksrapporten. Ik heb aan twee rapporten meegewerkt:

  • De performance van DBFM bij Rijkswaterstaat: Een kwantitatieve analyse van projectendata. Dit is een deelrapportage.
  • Leren van 15 jaar publiek-private samenwerking: Een evaluatie van de performance van DBFM-projecten bij Rijkswaterstaat. Dit is het hoofdrapport.

Het onderzoeksproject was een samenwerking tussen het Departement Bestuurskunde en Sociologie van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en de Afdeling Planologie van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. De onderzoeksrapporten zijn op aanvraag beschikbaar.

Public-private partnerships for infrastructure development: Finance, stakeholder alignment, governance

For various and well-documented reasons, public-private partnerships (PPPs) are popular governance models for delivering transport infrastructure projects and services. The last decades, we have seen a proliferation of scholarly research into PPPs. We know from this literature that there is a huge variegation of definitions and manifestations of PPPs and experiences with PPPs, and that the performance of PPPs has over the years remained mixed and contested. To learn how the performance of PPPs can be improved, the comparison of different PPP models and experiences from different countries is an important way forward. Comprehensive efforts to that aim are much needed. The edited volume Public-Private Partnerships for Infrastructure Development: Finance, Stakeholder Alignment, Governance, edited by R.E. Levitt et al. (2019), offers various valuable contributions to that agenda. In this book review, I have discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the book.

Publication | Verweij, S. (2020). Public-private partnerships for infrastructure development: Finance, stakeholder alignment, governance. Public Works Management & Policy, 25 (3), 333-336.

Comparative planning research, learning, and governance: The benefits and limitations of learning policy by comparison

In this article, we develop a perspective on the value of, and methodologies for, comparative planning research. Through comparative research, similarities and differences between planning cases and experiences can be disentangled. This opens up possibilities for learning across planning systems, and possibly even the transfer of best planning and policy practices across systems, places, or countries. Learning in governance systems is always constrained; learning in planning systems is further constrained by the characteristics of the wider governance system in which planning is embedded. Moreover, self-transformation of planning systems always takes place, not always driven by intentional learning activities of individuals and organizations, or of the system as a whole. One can strive to increase the reflexivity in planning systems though, so that the system becomes more aware of its own features, driving forces, and modes of self-transformation. This can, in turn, increase the space for intentional learning. One important source of such learning is the comparison of systems at different scales and learning from successes and failures. We place this comparative learning in the context of other forms of learning and argue that there is always space for comparative learning, despite the rigidities that characterize planning and governance. Dialectical learning is presented as the pinnacle of governance learning, into which comparative learning, as well as other forms of learning, feed.

Publication | Van Assche, K., Beunen, R. & Verweij, S. (2020). Comparative planning research, learning, and governance: The benefits and limitations of learning policy by comparison. Urban Planning, 5 (1), 11-21.

The paper is part of the special issue on “Comparative Planning, Learning, and Evolving Governance” in Urban Planning, edited by Kristof van Assche (University of Alberta, Canada), Raoul Beunen (Open University, Netherlands), and Stefan Verweij (University of Groningen, Netherlands).

Publication | Van Assche, K., Beunen, R. & Verweij, S. (2020). Learning from other places and their plans: Comparative learning in and for planning systems. Urban Planning, 5 (1), 1-5.

 

The role of the public partner in innovation in transport infrastructure PPPs: A qualitative comparative analysis of nine Dutch DBFM projects

By transferring risks and responsibilities to the private sector, governments hope that public-private partnerships (PPPs) bring about innovations in transport infrastructure development. Taking the position that a PPP is not equal to outsourcing, this article explores the role of the public partner in innovation in infrastructure PPPs. To this purpose, nine Design-Build-Finance-Maintain (DBFM) projects in Dutch transport infrastructure development were systematically analyzed with qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). The results show that the presence of innovation is associated with multiple, nonexclusive combinations of three conditions: the procurement result of the partnership contract, the composition of the private construction consortium, and the project management by the public partner (i.e., stakeholder management, technical management, and contract management). In particular, the public partner’s choice to enter into a PPP with a construction consortium consisting of a small number of firms is associated with innovation.

Publication | Verweij, S., Loomans, O. & Leendertse, W. (2020). The role of the public partner in innovation in transport infrastructure PPPs: A qualitative comparative analysis of nine Dutch DBFM projects. Public Works Management & Policy, 25 (1), 5-32.

Load more