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The tale of two regions

Symposium hosted by Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, LSE Cities and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

LSE Cities, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment present:The tale of two regions

A comparison between the metropolitan areas of South East England and the Randstad Holland

Click here to read the full report.

How can European cities establish a healthier metabolism, while still maintaining economic growth? How can regional authorities promote access to both jobs and green for all income groups? How should planners respond to moderate economic growth or even decline? Making metropolitan areas more viable and more sustainable requires us to connect our thinking of the regional economy with its social capital and culture.

How can we make cities with a ‘regional DNA’ better? What can we learn from our neighbours? Over a period of eighteen months, the London School of Economics, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the Directorate General for National Spatial Planning of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (DGR) have performed research in these questions, comparing London and the Randstad. By presenting facts and figures on London and the Randstad, and by positioning them in the context of analysis and explorative thinking about what makes cities strong, we hope to inspire debate on the future of the regional metropolis.

Ricky Burdett, professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age programme, handed over the results to the Queen’s Commissioner in the Province of Zuid-Holland Jan Franssen. In the following programme we aimed to present our findings and open up a discussion on Making Cities.

Chaired by Henk Ovink, Deputy Director General and Director of National Spatial Planning at the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.


  • Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at LSE and Director of the Urban Age and LSE Cities. He is a member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board and was Director of the Venice International Architecture Biennale and Curator of the Global Cities Exhibition Tate Modern in London. He has previously been a member of the UK Government Airport Commission (2012-2015) and Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the 2012 London Olympics. He is co-editor of ‘Shaping Cities in an Urban Age’ (2018), ‘The SAGE Handbook of the 21st Century’ (2017), ‘Living in the Endless City’ (2011) and ‘The Endless City’ (2007).

  • Henk Ovink

    Henk Ovink

    Henk Ovink is the first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, a position he was appointed to by the Dutch Cabinet in 2015. As the Ambassador for Water, he is responsible for advocating water awareness around the world, focusing on building institutional capacity and coalitions amongst governments, multilateral organisations, private sector and NGOs to address the world's needs on water and help develop innovative solutions. Henk is also Sherpa on the UN & World Bank High Level Panel on Water. Henk is also Principal for Rebuild by Design, the resilience innovation competition he developed and led for the US Presidential Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force where he was Senior Advisor to the Chair. Previously, Henk was Director General for Planning and Water Affairs and Director for National Spatial Planning for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.