The Dutch Working Group on Sustainable Urban Development has recently delivered its publication Sustainable Urban Design, The Next Step (Meijer & Dubbeling, 2010). The book (to be referred to here as The Next Step) includes six examples of sustainable urban design and three major essays. The Working Group is a broad group of experts from the Dutch professional societies for urban designers and planners (BNSP) and landscape architects (NVTL). (The working group consists of urban designers, urban planers and landscape architects from the Netherlands.) It seeks to take the thinking and practice of sustainable urban design a step further: from sustainable urban design to sustainable spatial development. This paper explains this next stage which has been developed through a review of the literature, the inputs of the Working Group and the lessons learned from the case studies described in the book. Although the case study projects are sometimes more than 12. years old and are rooted in a specific Dutch societal and spatial context, they provide interesting, even up to date, insights for the planning of sustainable and durable cities. They are also compared to some projects in other European countries. This paper looks at why a renewed approach to sustainable urban design is both necessary and rewarding. It then turns to the renewed approach and putting it into practice. Based upon the case studies, new possibilities for the design of sustainable and durable cities are highlighted.

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Cities: the international journal of urban policy and planning
Erasmus School of Economics