Raising Waters

A circular water-based vision for an adaptive future of South-Holland

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The Netherlands, and in particular South–Holland, is to a large extent below sea level, making the region vulnerable to environmental challenges linked to climate change. According to IPCC, a sea-level rise of two to five metres is not excluded, while the Delta committee advised the government recently to not invest in new infrastructure in the west of the Netherlands, due to a high risk of flooding.

This project proposes a vision for the cultural and economic adaptation of the province of South–Holland in a scenario of a three-metre sea-level rise in 2100. Exploring the historical Dutch approach to water management, the project believes that adaptability can be achieved through a cultural shift in that approach. A shift is realised using education and stakeholder strategies from fighting the water to opening the dikes and adapting to it. Through research by design and vice versa, a new delta landscape was shaped, strengthening the existing potential of the area. The potentials lay in environmental, economic, and cultural aspects of the area. The future environment is not only adaptive but also a desirable living environment for humans and non-humans.

The result of this project is a better understanding of how a more circular economy approach can be an adaptation tool to the irremediable consequences of sea-level rise in delta landscapes, using the South Holland region as a case study. By exploring the consequences and further adaptation to this new scenario spatially, this project is an example and a trigger for other delta landscapes to explore the different challenges that they will face, presenting a possible and desirable future.