RIJNLAND BLAUWE LENS – Transition Challenges Connected Through Water

The Water Board (in Dutch: Hoogheemraadschap) of Rijnland is one of the oldest governmental organizations of the Netherlands and has protected the area against flooding from the sea, rivers and excess rain water for centuries. As of 2020, transitions on themes such as urbanization, biodiversity, energy, climate change and circularity have been initiated that to reconsider its position in society.

FABRICations and Bureau Sant & Co were commissioned to explore the direct effects, spatial claims and opportunities of these transitions in order to construct a range of attractive integral spatial perspectives. On the level of the area, challenges and opportunities were mapped on five topics: salt (salinization), sand (dunes and beach ridges), stone (urbanization), peat and sludge (sewage).

Based on the analyses, three perspectives were constructed to explore the spatial consequences of system choices for the water system:

  • The Water board of Rijnland emphasizes its core tasks and takes the changing conditions as a consequence of climate change into account as much as possible;
  • Societal benefits are prioritized, implying synergies with energy production, closing local material cycles, recreation and urbanization are reinforced, even if it makes water management more complex.
  • The third perspective sees the water system as the driving force, emphasizing a natural water system that is rich in nutrients, brackish and dynamic.

Location: Rijnland, The Netherlands

Program: Climate Adaptation, Urbanization, Biodiversity, Circular Economy.

Year: 2021

Design Directors: Eric Frijters, Olv Klijn

Project Lead: Rens Wijnakker

Team: Duong Bui, Yingzi Wang, Ege Dosemeci

Commissioners: Hoogheemraadschap Rijnland

Partners: Buro Sant & Co

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