Within planning theory a new paradigm has been introduced: discursive planning. In this paper we want to elaborate how this concept can be applied to urban development projects. A discursive perspective on real estate development implies that there is a continuous debate about the content of specific real estate development projects, its meaning, its resources and its connections with urban policies. Especially the way connections are made between abstract urban policy programmes on the one hand and specific urban development projects on the other hand, is the central focus of our paper. We have selected two case studies in the Netherlands in our empirical data set: the case of 'Brainport Eindhoven' in relation to the 'High Tech Campus' and the case of 'Mainport Rotterdam' in relation to the 'Stadshavens project' (waterfront developments at former port areas). This study focused on the connections and disconnections between the development of strategic urban area development projects (so-called micro-narratives) and the cities' and regions' larger social, cultural and spatial development policies (so-called master narratives). In addition to Minzberg, Ahlstrand & Lampel (1998) we will introduce a model for 'emerging strategy'. Urban development projects are a combination of strategy and emerging developments (even coincidence) as chance events that occur within the context of the project. In the first paragraph of our paper we will introduce our research topic and outline. In the second paragraph we will describe theoretically the shift from traditional planning to deliberative and collaborative planning and we will introduce our ideas about an emerging strategy for urban development and real estate projects. In paragraph three we will explain which cases are selected and why. Based on desk research (vision documents, planning reports, notes of meetings, et cetera) and in-depth interviews with key players, we've collected al lot of empirical data which we will present in paragraph four (Brainport case) and five (Mainport case).In paragraph six we will make a comparison between the two in-depth cases studies and we will show how an emerging strategy model can be implied in the practice of urban development. In the final paragraph seven we will present our conclusions in general for theory building as well as some application for development practices in a highly complex and interdependent world of urban development projects.