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The dynamic identity of the Southwest Delta (1850-2100)
The dynamic identity of the Southwest Delta (1850-2100)

From polder landscape to inundation area to intertidal area
From polder landscape to inundation area to intertidal area

Rural transformation of a dyke
Rural transformation of a dyke

Urban transformation of a dyke
Urban transformation of a dyke

Reinstating the age-old relationship between Oude Tonge and the water
Reinstating the age-old relationship between Oude Tonge and the water

Section through harbour at Oude Tonge
Section through harbour at Oude Tonge

Rural living in a transforming landscape
Rural living in a transforming landscape

From cultural to natural landscape
From cultural to natural landscape




PROJECTINDEX
 
TOWARDS AN OPEN DELTA
Technische Universiteit Delft
URBAN DESIGN

This project examines the potentials of an Open Delta in Krammer-Volkerak, a freshwater inland sea in Zuid-Holland province. Reintroducing the natural dynamic into the area holds out opportunities for reinstating the age-old identity of towns and cities in a landscape subject to change.
The Dutch Southwest Delta has been shaped by human intervention in the natural dynamic. Its urbanization is one of reclaiming sand bars and founding settlements along the ring dykes. The mainstays of this process were the rich fishing grounds and the fertile marine clay for agriculture. The accretion of sediment against the ring dykes threw up new sand bars, followed by land reclamation and the founding of new harbour towns. The dynamic of the delta also signifies the presence of the power of water. The decision, following the great flood disaster of 1953, to protect the vulnerable communities of the provinces of Zeeland and Zuid-Holland resulted in the construction of the Delta Works. Since then the safety guaranteed by dams and dykes has restricted the natural dynamic in the delta, with major repercussions for local nature and for water management.
Shrinking sand bars, blue algae, low oxygen levels and the disappearance of fish migration routes have recently, within the framework of the Delta Programme, brought back memories of the former natural dynamic and instilled the idea of a future in which this dynamic is reinstated. In the book Delta Urbanism - The Netherlands (2010) Han Meyer writes: 'The Dutch have a long tradition in the struggle against water. But there is a paradigm shift from struggling against water to working with nature. Many theories and philosophies that are within this new scope of working with nature, but there are no general methods or ideas on the implementation in urban or economic development.' Given this changing view and the need of a visualized perspective on an open delta, the research by design study Towards an Open Delta focuses on reinstating the natural dynamic, its objective being to map out a transforming urban landscape in an open Dutch Southwest Delta.
There are opportunities to be had when the natural dynamic is restored – opportunities to reinstate the historical identity of urban entities in the dynamic landscape, to activate potentials in recreation and rural living and to strengthen water management in the polder landscape. This research by design study explores the above opportunities to visualize the drive to a sustainable combination of urban, cultural and natural layers that adds value to the delta by improving the socio-economic conditions of the 'delta hinterland' and clearing space for rare brackish flora and fauna to thrive. For this, Krammer-Volkerak in Zuid-Holland is the ideal research location as the impact of an open delta in this area is greatest and the area can serve as a case study for the delta as a whole.
In short: Towards an open delta...