The underlying structure of the book is quite simple. It consists of two main parts. Part One can be described as the theoretical part. In Part Two, the emphasis is on empirical evidence: a description of seven case studies in five countries.
Part One presents a number of ideas and concepts that are used to analyse the redevelopment of railway station areas in a systematic way. It posits that the issue at stake in this study is part of a larger European approach to urban planning. In the near future, Europe will have no more internal borders, and capital flows will be increasingly footloose. Accordingly, metropolitan areas will do their utmost to promote themselves. The redevelopment of certain inner-city areas is an important element in this campaign. Along with waterfronts, railway station areas can be considered one of the most important assets in this endeavour. The complexity of the subject may be reduced by splitting it into three parts. That division is reflected in the organization of this book. The first part of the book is structured along the lines of its leading (planning) concept. The process (who does wha when) and the object (the railway station area) are placed against the background of a regional, national and international context.
In Chapters 2 and 3, the essential characteristics of a railway station area (the object) are explained. Then in Chapter 3 relevant participants and their respective interests are described. That overview also presents the consequences for the area's development potential (the process). The contextual elements are the main subject of Chapter 4 (the context). Although the structure is segmented, it will be clear that object, process and context are interrelated. Therefore each chapter builds upon elements from the preceding chapters. Consequently, the once simple structure becomes increasingly complex. But in this case a complex structure is the best way to elucidate these complex processes.
Part Two consists of five chapters. Each describes and analyses railway station redevelopment processes in a particular country: France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In each of these five chapters, context, process and object variables are systematically discussed. Each chapter in Part Two includes a brief description of the national planning system, as that forms part of the development context.
In Part Three, the final chapter of the book takes a wider perspective. It seeks to combine the common elements of the case studies with the concepts from Part One. The discussion covers national as well as European perspectives on railway station area redevelopment. This chapter illustrates the liveliness of the debate, its topicality in Europe, the increasing importance of means of transport, with railway stations in a prominent place, and last but not least its emerging relevance for cities and regions.
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