Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Negotiating Vertical Urbanization at the Public–Private Nexus: On the Institutional Embeddedness of Planning Committees

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While the planning and development of dense and high-rise neighborhoods are commonly perceived as primarily technical procedures, the past several decades have highlighted the growing social complexity of these processes. Neighborhood initiatives opposing development, as well as an increasing variety of public and private stakeholders involved in these processes, have led to the continual emergence of organizations that facilitate the production of urban density and verticality. Committees are founded to operate at the nexus of public and private development, while simultaneously promoting urban growth and public interests. Although they often are not formally recognized as political entities, they are constituted by political acts and hence influence planning processes. However, despite all the research into dense and high-rise neighborhood developments, academic interest has so far neglected the role of committees in these processes. This article aims to fill this gap by presenting an analysis of 23 committees engaging with high-rise housing and neighborhood developments in the three German-speaking countries of Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. First, it reveals the heterogeneity of committees, delineating four components for the institutionalization of committees. This is followed by an in-depth analysis of two committees in Austria and Switzerland, to demonstrate how these structural components influence the development of neighborhoods.

Keywords:  Austria; committees; German-speaking countries; Germany; neighborhood development; Switzerland; urban densification



© Johannes Herburger, Nicola Hilti, Eva Lingg. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.