European planning studies vol:12 issue:3 pages:351-370
The network concept has become quite well-established and is used in a wide variety of disciplines. The application of the concept in the context of spatial planning seems rather vague though. This article focuses on the gap between the normative network concept, as used in the Flemish Diamond, and everyday factual reality. A discourse analysis of the performance of the concept at lower planning levels shows a wide variety of reading and use of the original concept. It is argued that only the careful selection of a strategic project for the Flemish Diamond, which could attract the interest and sympathy of a very diverse range of actors, might be able to bridge the gap. To increase the performance of the concept, principles for network management as a multi-level activity are formulated.