50th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Sustainable Regional Growth and Development in the Creative Knowledge Economy", 19-23 August 2010, Jönköping, Sweden
With industrialisation and rationalisation of the Western economy, the scale of production became larger, production costs declined and competitiveness rose (Kloosterman and van der Leun 2004). It was thought that Economies of scale would weed out small-business. This seems plausible: As a company increases production, the average costs per unit will decrease. Due to shifts in production and consumption patterns that are characteristic of post-industrial societies, small-scale business became feasible again. Flexible, 'just-in-time' production chains became more important, as well as high-quality, knowledge or design-intensive producer and consumer services and goods. In the Note on public space (VROM 2006) the Dutch government wishes to strengthen its urban centres within urban networks. Functional diversity is seen as an important way to do this. The idea of a high-density, mixed-use city gained popularity in the Netherlands after ideas about the compact city had risen in the United States during the 1980's (de Roo 2000). With the decline of traditional and industrial economic activity in cities, city governments are looking for ways to revive their city economies. The revival of small-scale business in post-industrial societies has largely taken place in cities. Analysis of chamber of commerce datasets of Dutch cities shows that a large part of this urban business activity can be found in residential neighbourhoods. This might be a sign of business activity shifting from designated business- and industrial sites at city rims to residential areas either in the city centre or in more suburban settings. If this is the case, what types of economic activity in residential areas can we distinguish? One aspect that might influence the shift of business activity are municipal zoning plans. Most Dutch city zoning plans stem from the doctrine of strict separation of functions that has existed in the Netherlands since the 1930's (PBL 2009). Economic activity was often associated with nuisance and traffic congestion. Do zoning plans restrict or facilitate (certain kinds of) economic activity in residential areas? We will answer these questions on the basis of chamber of commerce data (1998-2007), the urban zoning plans and policy documents of five Dutch cities.