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Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp. Based on research by Sandra Vanveldhoven at Artesis University College Antwerp. Prof. Dirk Lauwers

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Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes the kingdon model as an assessment tool the case of the

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.

Based on research by Sandra Vanveldhoven

at Artesis University College Antwerp

Prof. Dirk Lauwers

Artesis University College Antwerp – Department of Design Sciences

Ghent University of Ghent - Department of Mobility and Spatial Planning


Contents of the research what to expect in this presentation

Contents of the research – what to expect in this presentation

Introduction

Project description

The Kingdon model as an assessment tool

Assessment of the Oosterweel link planning process

Epilogue: main developments after the research period

Lessons learnt

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Introduction

Introduction presentation

Oosterweel link (= completion of the Antwerp ring road, including a river Scheldt crossing)

Was planned to be the largest infrastructure project

ever built in Belgium

Started as a noiseless process for more than 15 years

Then became controversial in as well academic, political and professional

world; action groups dominated the debate and could according

to Belgian law enforce a public referendum

held last October 18th

The project was rejected by Antwerp citizens

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Introduction1

Introduction presentation

Actual situation:

The Antwerp Council formulated a negative advice to the building permit for the project (towards the Flemish Government that has to authorize the permit)

The Flemish Government installed a ministerial committee (DAM=Sustainable Mobility for Antwerp) to untangle the mobility knots in Antwerp

Seven working groups are being created to study the different aspects of the mobility dossier

It is still unclear if a completely new or adapted project will be the result

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Introduction2

Introduction presentation

Basis of presentation = master exam research by Sandra Vanveldhoven (2009) at Artesis University College

Subject: policy making process – agenda setting (as a learning process)

Spatial : completion of the Antwerp Ring Road

Period : 1990-2005

Time frame of the research: 1990-2005 = ‘quiet’ phase: from first agenda

setting of the project till definition to preliminary statutory definition of the

spatial project area by the Flemish Government

In this presentation: also reflections on period after 2005

( based on the research results + own interpretation of events)

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Project description

Project description presentation

Result of the planning process:

approved route by Flemish

Government on 16/09/ 2005

extends over a length

of approx. 10 km and makes

a link between a new traffic

exchange to be built between

The R1 – E17 – N49 on the

left bank node and nodes of the

R1 with A12 and E313 on the

right bank

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Project description1

Project description presentation

Oosterweel link project consists of:

- rebuilding of interchange ring road on left bank

- a (toll) tunnel under the river Scheldt

- a new interchange with the port area and city

- a double deck viaduct of some 2,3 km length

over Royers lock and Straatsburg dock

(north of new development area ‘Eilandje’)

- interchange and rebuilding R1 northern ring road

+ accompanied with nature compensation projects

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Project description2

Project description presentation

In its decision of 2 March 2007 the Flemish Government put a cap of 1.850 Bio EUR on the estimated cost price of the infrastructure, excl.VAT and excl. the cost for financing

Flanders opts to finance this investment by a joint venture between government and private companies (Public Private Partnership). Investment costs are paid back over time by toll collection

DB(f)M formula

Toll rate 2012 (Flem. Gov. 2005)

- Passenger cars: €2.44

- Lorries 3.5 tons -12 tons: €15.85

- Lorries over 12 tons €15.85 – 19.02

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


The kingdon model as process assessment tool

The Kingdon model as process assessment tool presentation

The project (was) seen as cornerstone for the accessibility of city and port of Antwerp and the viaduct cold ‘Lange Wapper’ designed as a new landmark for the city

Result of study and decision process of almost 2 decennia, since 2003 led by a dedicated management organisation for mobility projects in the Antwerp region (BAM)

Can the current rejection be explained by opening the black box of the planning process ?

research based on the model developed by John Kingdon in ‘Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies’ (1984, revised 1995)

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


The kingdon model as process assessment tool1

The Kingdon model as process assessment tool presentation

Kingdons theory = based on empirical research

(interviews with top decision makers in the US)

Basic question: how does emerge an issue to the

forefront of attention or ‘How does an idea’s time come?’

Public policy making = set of processes

Setting of the agenda

Specification of alternatives

Authoritative choice amongst alternatives

Implementation of the decision

Success in one process does not imply success in others

Kingdons model (and this presentation) considers first two processes

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


The kingdon model as process assessment tool2

The Kingdon model as process assessment tool presentation

Kingdons theory = revised ‘garbage can theory’

How to understand policy process?

Tracing the origin of initiatives is not relevant

ideas can come from anywhere

tracing origins involves infinite regress

nobody leads anybody else

instead a combination of factors makes an item prominent

Comprehensive rational decision making models do not describe well real processes

actors often do not follow clear set of goals

actors often do not assess the alternatives systematically

instead a somewhat accidental confluence of factors occurs

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


The kingdon model as process assessment tool3

The Kingdon model as process assessment tool presentation

Kingdons theory = revised ‘garbage can theory’

How to understand policy process?

Rejection of incrementalism

in many processes people proceed step by step

but agenda changes appear discontinuous and nonincremental

Garbage can model (Cohen, March and Olsen)

model applicable to understand a type of organizations

(called ‘organized anarchies’ i.e. different actors

define their own preferences – preferences are

inconsistent)

outcome of process depends on choice moment

coupling of problems and solutions, interactions of participants

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


The kingdon model as process assessment tool4

The Kingdon model as process assessment tool presentation

The Kingdon model

Three major and INDEPENDENT PROCESS STREAMS:

1. Problem stream

Represents information and events that may unchain a series of events related to placing or eliminating an issue from the agenda

2. Policy Stream:

Refers to the knowledge or advice derived from researchers, consultants and technicians that offer alternatives or solutions that may or may not be considered or used by decision makers

3. Political Stream:

The will of the political system and actors to place an issue on the agenda.

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


The kingdon model as process assessment tool5

The Kingdon model as process assessment tool presentation

The Kingdon model

Each of the process streams has it owns logic an driving forces

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


The kingdon model as process assessment tool6

The Kingdon model as process assessment tool presentation

The Kingdon model

POLICY WINDOWS:

“Separate streams come together at critical times. A problem is

recognized, a solution is developed and available in the policy

community, a political change makes it the right time for policy

change, and potential constraints are not severe … these policy

windows, the opportunities for action on given initiatives, present

themselves and stay open for only short periods”

J. Kingdon, 1995

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


The kingdon model as process assessment tool7

The Kingdon model as process assessment tool presentation

The Kingdon model

POLICY WINDOWS: created by a policy maker (entrepreneur)

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


The kingdon model as process assessment tool8

The Kingdon model as process assessment tool presentation

The Kingdon model

Criteria for SURVIVAL of policy alternatives:

Technical feasibility

Value acceptability

Anticipation of future constraints

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Some findings of the research:

It is possible to describe the planning process of the Oosterweel link within the three streams model (problems-policy alternatives-politics) in each stream actors intervene with their own logic (e.g. experts use traffic models, politicians make political deals, administrations refer to administrative rules...)

The three streams were bundled by a policy maker : the former Governor of the Antwerp Province (retired April 2008, at the moment nobody overtook his role as policy maker in the sense Kingdon describes it, although their is a Belgian top manager leading the BAM since 2008). The policy window was opened end 1996.

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process1

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Some findings of the research:

The project idea of the Oosterweel link was not the result of a rational planning process (vision-strategies-actions): the idea of the closing of the inner ring was not incorporated in the at time current spatial or infrastructural planning documents. Instead they included a second outer ring project without completing (‘closing’)

the inner ring.

In fact the idea came from an action group

that resisted the building of the outer ring

at the left bank (Schakelplan 1989).

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process2

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Some findings of the research:

4. The problem definition at the starting point is very narrow: solving the traffic congestion on the ring road and connected access highways. Policy alternatives at the regional scale are limited to traffic simulations of inner and outer ring solutions (independent of the environment they cross), starting from trend scenarios (without incorporating modal shift).

5. During the rest of the planning process a constant discussion/’battle’ emerges to broaden the problem definition. At some points this happens at other points the project is enclosed in a technocratic shielded organisation.

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process3

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Some findings of the research:

6. In the phase of the agenda setting the main policy alternatives were conceived on the scale of the urban region. As there was/is no political/administrative organisational structure or dealing with the policy fields of the urban region an ‘unsettled politics' environment, fertile to ‘garbage can’ style policy processes existed.

7. Though later on the project is embedded in a multimodal set of projects (including tramway prolongations, inland waterway upgrading etc.), the so called Master plan for Antwerp, chances to incorporate the project in a mobility planning process at the scale of the urban region are missed (the ongoing planning process is even stopped in 1996 with the opening of the policy window for the building of the Oosterweel link.

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process4

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Some findings of the research:

8. Changing in the political positions and the administrative personnel can explain some crucial decisions during the planning process. The starting position of the city council was very weak because of internal problems (emerging of strong right wing party to be tackled by established political parties, financial disabuse scandal by some main counsellors, top of city administration leading to the resign of them). Partly this can explain why the policy alternatives proposed by the city administration were not really taken serious.

9. The decision process of the Oosterweel link is marked by a lack of transparency. This leads to tension with not only the city but also administrations of concerned policy domains (e.g. spatial planning).

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process5

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Some findings of the research:

10. The external communication in the beginning of the process was limited to some external stakeholder groups (especially economic actors, later on with the environmental movement concerning nature compensation). The communication with the general public was limited an one directional (informative), using press releases and TV spots on the regional channel.

11. New policy items that where taken on board were architectural design standards (input of a ‘Quality Chamber’ with e.g. the State and City architect) and nature compensation.

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process6

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Epilogue: main developments after the research period

Under pressure of a Flemish parliament commission the project process became more transparent. A new general manager was installed at the top of BAM.

The City re-installed good governance and developed some new planning documents: a Mobility plan for the City and a Strategic Spatial Structure Plan Antwerp (sRSPA). The vision of the latter is seen as conflicting with the Oosterweel link.

The City administration was re-organised and a

project oriented agency was created to implement

the strategic projects identified in the sRSPA.

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process7

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Epilogue: main developments after the research period

c. New style action groups emerged with a highly

professional profile. When a technical oriented group

started to work together with a group around high skilled

communication expert they started to dominate

the debate based on a new issue :

health (PM - air quality).

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process8

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Epilogue: main developments after the research period

d. When it became clear that the action groups would succeed in collecting 60.000 signatures of city citizens, according to the Belgian the Flemish Government commissioned a comparative study on the BAM Oosterweel project versus two alternatives (one being the alternative proposed by the action group (a tunnel instead of a viaduct and following another route).

e. The outcome of this study (done by ARUP/SUM) was not positive for the Oosterweel link project: a fourth alternative was proposed (an optimized version of the action group proposal).

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process9

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Epilogue: main developments after the research period

f. The City Council commissioned a feasibility study of the ARUP/SUM tunnel proposal. The outcome was controversial:

the action groups and some politicians followed

the ARUP/SUM conclusions, other politicians

and BAM attacked the technical feasibility of

the tunnel alternative.

g. Some local politicians took individual positions

in the debate apart from party lines

h. The outcome of the referendum and its follow up

was already mentioned in the beginning of the presentation

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Assessment of oosterweel link planning process10

Assessment of Oosterweel link planning process presentation

Epilogue: main developments after the research period

SO THE POLICIY WINDOW IS CLOSED AGAIN....

AND THERE IS NOT YET A NEW POLICY MAKER

Hypothesis : only if the Flemish Government and City Council (supported by the local public opinion) will agree on a new project concept a new window can be opened...

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Lessons learnt

Lessons learnt presentation

Checking Kingdons criteria for SURVIVAL of policy alternatives:

1. Technical feasibility

The Oosterweel link project was conceived as a high standard technical masterpiece. It was rather its strong point than it Achilles heel.

However, the original rejection of the tunnel alternative became controversial as know how for tunnel building developed

(see also: expiry date of a project proposal)

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Lessons learnt1

Lessons learnt presentation

Checking Kingdons criteria for SURVIVAL of policy alternatives:

2. Value acceptability

During the process of agenda setting a closed network (that was enlarged step by step) of specialists was engaged in the project planning process. The original disciplines of civil and traffic engineering were enlarged with financial experts and urban designers.

Critics grew in disciplines of urban planning and medicine (public health)

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Lessons learnt2

Lessons learnt presentation

Checking Kingdons criteria for SURVIVAL of policy alternatives:

3. Anticipation of future constraints

Financial constraints: though the original set budget had to be augmented several times (the originally approved budget by the Flemish Government of 1,82 billion euro has been adjusted by BAM to 2,5 billion euro and even this budget is criticised by the Financial Court) the project is seen as strategic and not (officially) doubted for this reason

Public and political acceptance

Tuned out the be the weakest point: position of (local) politicians changed, public opinion took the side of the activist (David versus Goliath)

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Lessons learnt3

Lessons learnt presentation

A project proposal has an expiry date:

Weak point of the Oosterweel project is its small original problem definition

(traffic congestion on main road system)

Problem setting should be broad enough to generate a broader set of

project design criteria (see also the Kingdon set of project survival criteria)

Major projects should refer to the mobility issue and not only to a traffic problem

Infrastructure project planning should not be limited to the physical object to be build, regardless of the environment but be embedded in urban/regional development strategies (avoid white backgrounds in project evaluation and design!)

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Lessons learnt4

Lessons learnt presentation

A project proposal has an expiry date:

The growing complexity of administrative procedures of large infrastructure projects tents to enlarge the planning process whilst the key issues that dominate the public opinion and the political agenda change more and more rapidly

Burocratic rules should be simplified, maybe LIP’s need other procedures than regular projects?

Quality checks in view of sustainable development policy and democratic and legal rights should be checked in a pro-active way

Urban (or if applicable regional) political representatives should be regarded as equal partners as national (or if applicable regional) ‘owners’ of the project in the planning process

Project proposals should be based upon best practice

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Lessons learnt5

Lessons learnt presentation

Conclusions in short based on Kingdon:

Keep in mind the differentiated dynamics in the three process streams as described by Kingdon and try to keep them tight

Respect the stakeholders : keep in mind that the strength of stakeholders might change during the process

General conclusions in short:

Mind the Achilles’ heel of the project (you can hide it for a while, but not always till the end of the decision process)

Start with communication from the beginning of the project (communication is a two way process)

Keep in mind the expiry date of the project proposal

Public opinion can be a stronger factor than commonly (e.g. by Kingdon) agreed because of new style activism

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.


Thank you for the attention

Thank you for the attention presentation

For more information:

dirk.lauwers@ugent.be

Learning from incidents in infrastructure planning processes: the Kingdon model as an assessment tool. The case of the Oosterweel link in Antwerp.