What is the role of spatial planners in urban development? Planners can be very involved in the realization of the land-use plans or they can take a more passive role in development processes. Which role they take depends on the particular institutional arrangements for land management in each country. In this contribution, a typical active and a typical passive approach to land management are compared in order to shed lights on the effects in terms of land management. Therefore the Dutch active land policy and German mandatory land readjustment are taken as an example of each type of approach. Not the whole system of land management, but the approaches (i.e. inherent notions and values) in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, democratic legitimacy and the underlying concept of fairness are related to each other. By studying the differences among these fundamental aspects, this contribution attempts to reconsider planning by law and property rights in terms of the relation between planning instruments and their particular context.
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