From Datasphere to Datascape

Development of the data infrastructure, as a catalyst of the energy transition and the circular economy

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Economy and technological innovation have always shaped the Dutch landscape and society. The evolution of the Internet has led to a new economy based on digital information and communication. New production, consumption and business models are mushrooming, especially in the Province of South-Holland. This fast development is facilitated by the massive exploitation of construction materials, energy and data flows. The data sector has a high energy demand, which is even surpassing the CO2-emission of the aviation and shipping industry. The flows that support the sector are linear, consuming a lot of energy and producing a lot of waste, because construction materials and infrastructures have a short life-span. The Province of South-Holland aims to be circular in 2050. Thus, addressing the challenges that this new economy poses on the region need to be prioritized. The strategic and integrated development of the digital economy into the (urban) fabric of South-Holland functions as a catalyst for the circular Province. The goal will be reached by proposing a strategy consisting of a spatial development framework, stakeholder action plan, phasing and scenarios, policy guidelines and a typology toolbox. This strategic report explores how a connected and resilient datascape in South-Holland can be created/developed while preserving the global value and increasing the local value. For the strategic and integrated development of the digital economy into the (urban) fabric of South-Holland, data hubs as a platform for awareness, participation and knowledge exchange are proposed. These platforms will either function as a creator or a transformer of the local environment, while preserving the global position of the region. The development of these datascapes is circular, (energy-) efficient and creates value throughout the different scales. This will form the base of a sustainable and resilient circular economy in the Province. In this strategy, the flows of construction materials, energy and data are optimized from linear flows to circular cycles.