The Dutch are still perfecting the art of large-scale urban planning. Developed in the 1960s, Zoetermeer provided many valuable lessons to Dutch planners. Originally a small farm village, Zoetermeer has been expanded to accommodate a rapidly growing population. Most of the new houses were built on former greenfields far from any centers of employment. The developers, assuming that most people living in Zoetermeer worked in the center of The Hague, provided for only one good transit connection, to the Hague's Central Station. People with specialized jobs however, had employment in other parts of the Hague and in other cities around Zoetermeer (Rotterdam, Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam, Utrecht). With no good way of commuting through public transit, a heavy car dependency developed. From the Zoetermeer experiment, planners learned that it was important to locate new developments near existing city centers, as well as provide good connections to other major urban areas. This lesson was incorporated into the national policy and a new way of creating sustainable communities was born.
The VINEX development program was created by the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning, and the Environment in the 1990s. The overall aim of the program is sustainable community development that limits the need for travel as much as possible. When travel is necessary, the use of bikes and public transit is encouraged over the use of cars. With respected to locating urban expansion areas, the VINEX program has two main goals:
1. Locate developments close to city centers to reduce the use of cars to reach employment and encourage biking.
2. Provide good transit connections to multiple centers (preferably by train, but also by tram).
In addition, VINEX areas provide good networks for local travel by foot, bike, and public transport, use moderately high residential density, and include smaller commercial centers with limited roadway access to encourage biking and walking for shopping. See the general overview map of the Leidschenveen-Ypenburg VINEX area.