Across the world rural and urban areas increasingly blur together. Many traditional rural areas are now part of an urban field facing rapid economic, ethnic, political, cultural, and demographic change. How can planning strategies anticipate the different scales and scale linkages that characterize such fast changing areas? Following Lefebvre (1991) and Rangan & Kull (2008) we discern three different types of scales. Operational scale refers to the scale of social activities and biophysical processes. Observational scale refers to the scale of policy making and administrative control and management. Interpretative scale refers to the scale at which institutions, groups and individuals perceive the process of change and outcomes. In this paper we review these scales for the green spaces in The Hague Region in the Netherlands. Data are derived from the PLUREL project (Peri-urban Land Use Relationships - Strategies and Sustainability Assessment Tools for Urban-Rural Linkages). PLUREL is a research project within the European Commissions’ Sixth Framework that started in 2007 and is expected to end in 2010. Findings indicate the authorities until now have been quite effective in keeping peri-urban green spaces in The Hague Region open by deliberately matching operational, observational, and interpretative scales. Zoning, regional branding, administrative reorganization and recreation development, among others, have been used to this end. Still, future scale mismatches are still possible under increasing urbanization pressure. How “adaptive” planning strategies can nonetheless be effective is discussed as well.
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