Urban planning sets the preconditions that determine long-term energy consumption, and production. Thechallenges faced in modern urban planning are large, multi-faceted and interrelated. These challenges lay large claims on physical space and funding, putting both under vast amounts of pressure.The common practice in urban planning for addressing these challenges is a sectoral approach, where a different teams of similar expert develop solutions that fall within their field of expertise.However, in many situations sectoral solutions are no longer feasible as the scale and complexity of the challengessupersedes any sector. As Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and advocate of integrated planning, puts it: “Complex challenges call for truly comprehensive and inclusive approaches and truly transformative and innovative solutions. We need to unravel the different interdependent demands and connect these in inspiring and sustainable pathways forward.” (Ovink & Boeijenga 2018 p. 190)A more integrated approach to spatial planning with the aim of developing combined solutions is necessary.

What do we mean by integrated urban planning?

Integrated urban design cuts across disciplines and silos in order to truly address a challenge within all its complexity. The main aim of integrated urban planning is to“identify opportunities to solve problems holistically.” (Ovink & Boeijengap.191). To meet the current and future requirements of a consistent and rational use of energy, key fields of operation, like urban mobility, energy supply along with efficient energy consumption and a well-balanced use of available space, must be treated and developed jointly, with a focus on the common energy objective.

The challenge of integrated urban planning is to organize our lived space in such a manner that functions strengthen each other, have the opportunity to develop and do not get in each other’s ways. Integrated urban planning is a modern planning approach closely connected with the complex nature of the cities and necessity of creating sustainable and resilient settlements. Integrated urban concepts are complex and must correspond with the local situation.

Why integrated urban planning?

Integrated planning solutions are in many ways’ robust solutions. The multi-disciplinary nature of the solutions ensures that these are capable of withstanding unexpected challenges and have the flexibility to adapt to new situations. Furthermore, a broad range of stakeholders, planners and experts are activated for the development of comprehensive solutions, this forms a strong support for the implementation of urban development projects. As the urbanist, Peter Calthorpe puts it: “The more comprehensive we make systems the more sustainable they are.” (London 2002)

Central to integrated planning is the collaboration of sectors, instead of negotiation between them. “Whereas negotiation always leads to an average – with everyone giving in a bit until a middle ground is reached – collaboration is aimed not at the average but at maximum value. ( … ) collaboration is driven by a determination to add value to all.” (Ovink & Boeijenga p. 145) The interconnectedness and complexity of the challenges means that the added value of these solutions lead to multiple benefits for different sectors and on different scales.

What are the key components of integrated urban planning within the MULTIPLY programme?

MULTIPLY aims to increased energy efficiency through integrated planning in the development of cities and districts. The programme should stimulate integrated solutions with a focus on energy systems, land-use planning and mobility, three themes that are hard to separate in practice.

  • Energy systems – In order to transition to a sustainable energy system we must reduce energy consumption, generate energy from renewable sources and reuse heat-waste. Combination with housing developments can be made to unlock energy savings potentials through renovations and building standards as well as through smart and efficient solutions in mobility. The generation of energy from renewable sources will take up more space than generation from fossil fuels, space needs to be found within current land use planning. Mixed use planning can furthermore be essential for the efficient reuse of heating.
  • Mobility. Improved inter-modality and good public transport services, innovative goods delivery schemes, and smart trafficplans will reduce CO2 emission, congestion and air pollution. These solutions cannot be implemented without developing clever collaborations with land use planning. Electric mobility is a crucial factor for the up-take of more sustainable mobility modes. This will lead to an increased demand for electricity and electrical infrastructure and cannot be addressed separately from the planning of local energy systems.
  • Land-use planning –Within the urban context, efficient use of space is increasingly necessary. In order to create sustainable urban systems a good understanding of mobility and energy systems is necessary to create efficient solutions. These themes have a considerable impact on liveability, health and inclusivity among others.

London S. 2002, “The City of Tomorrow:An Interview with Peter Calthorpe”CRiT journal, issue 3-2002

Ovink H. & Boeijenga J. 2018 “Too bigRebuild by Design’s Transformative Response to Climate Change” nai010, Rotterdam