In September 2012, the National Gardens Council [Nationale Tuinbouwraad] selected Almere as the location for the national garden show Floriade in 2022. In June 2015, the municipal council defined the master plan for Floriade Almere 2022, which defines the municipality’s goals for the event, the run-up to it and above all, the subsequent development of the area. The Floriade event is, of course, positioned as a catalyst for a number of desirable developments in Almere.
Since then much hard work has gone into setting up and fleshing out the organisation that will be needed to implement the master plan. There are many lofty ambitions and the balance of the public costs and benefits is positive. Extremely high expectations have been created in both political and public circles. AT Osborne was asked in mid-2016 to study whether the organisation of the programme by the municipal authorities was on course, and whether there was room for improvement in the planned structure and approach and in the administrative and official integration of the project.
For this study, as well as an analysis of the relevant documents, interviews were held with both the political and administrative leaders and project managers in a confidential setting, in order to hear a genuine view of the current situation and of the expectations for the future as they relate to factors that make the programme likely to succeed or fail. The conclusion was that the municipal authorities had started in good time with figuring out the puzzle of how the targets defined in various areas of policy can be achieved within the fixed budgetary framework that has now been defined on a political level. This was a complex process in which a balance is still being sought internally between (political) ambitions and (administrative) feasibility. The task impinges on several policy areas, is multidisciplinary and covers a relatively lengthy time period, that for good measure, also includes unusual phasing.
The study showed that there is still room for improvement and, given the scope and complexity of the task, combined with our experience of similar tasks, that is no great surprise. The improvements lie not in the area of the organisational structure, but in defining the targets and, above all, collaboration between the political and administrative organisations. For this, improvements also need to be defined, as well as a roadmap of how these can be put into practice effectively and efficiently.