International Delta Conference Redesigning Deltas

International Delta Conference Redesigning Deltas

Design for transformative change: evidence, agency, cross-disciplinary knowledge


We are at crossroads. Our deltas face unprecedented stressors, such as an ever-increasing sea level threat, a major task to renew aging infrastructure, and disruptive transitions. We need to radically change our current delta practice in the Netherlands and beyond. There is still too much emphasis on short-term interventions, while it is more important than ever to collectively build long-term pathways to sustainable and inclusive deltas. Interactions between design, critical design thinking, and cross-disciplinarity studies offer an approach for questioning, understanding and changing socio-ecological relations shaping delta futures.


The conference program will address the current status and future challenges of our deltas, centered on design and design-based approaches to jointly identify these pathways. Convergence Alliance- Resilient Delta, The City of Rotterdam, TU Delft, Deltares, IHE Delft, The Delta Alliance, Wageningen University & Research, the Delta commissioner, and the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency will co-host the conference.


We are a community of academia, practitioners and policy makers from across the world building this new approach during the Redesigning Deltas International Conference. This conference is a unique opportunity to inspire change, we hope to co-create these new design-based pathways together. On behalf of the Redesigning Deltas team and co-hosting partners, we welcome you on the 16th-18th of June.

The conference is organised by the Delta Urbanism Interdisciplinary Research Programme—Redesigning Deltas, Delft University of Technology with Convergence Alliance-Resilient Delta.


Co-hosted by
The City of Rotterdam
IHE Delft
The Delta Alliance
Wageningen University & Research
The Delta Commissioner
PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency


Organisation committee
Chris Zevenbergen, TU Delft/ IHE Delft (conference chair)
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin, TU Delft A+BE (lead organiser)

Arjan van Timmeren, TU Delft/ Convergence Alliance-Resilient Delta
Kim van Nieuwaal, Delta Alliance
Nikki Brand, TU Delft/ Convergence Alliance-Resilient Delta
Ellen Tromp, Deltares
Fransje Hooimeijer, TU Delft A+BE
Geneviève Girard, TU Delft Strategy Development


RDD Scientific committee
Chris Zevenbergen, TU Delft/ IHE Delft
Bas Jonkman , TU Delft CEG
Eric Luiten, TU Delft A+BE
Thijs Asselberg, TU Delft A+BE
Marcel Hertogh, TU Delft CEG
Neelke Doorn, TU Delft TPM
Geert Teisman, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Fran van Oort, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Petra Hellegers, Wageningen University & Research
Bart van den Hurk, Deltares
Ellen Tromp, Deltares
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin, TU Delft A+BE
Fransje Hooimeijer, TU Delft A+BE
Nikki Brand, TU Delft / Convergence Alliance-Resilient Delta


Latest News

Latest News

RDD Design Study Exhibited at IABR ‘It’s About Time’

RDD Design Study Exhibited at IABR ‘It’s About Time’

It is about time in Delta Design to create a new Dutch condition. Redesigning Deltas investigates new forms of interdisciplinary design in which urban, landscape and engineering disciplines project a future founded on the natural and spatial qualities of specific ‘moments’ in the Dutch delta system: the port, the sea arms, the polder, the rivers, and the streams. To arrive at a Resilient Delta in 2122 the five teams of the design study delivered a manifest of a new approach how-to live-in harmony with the dynamics of the delta.   The five projects each illustrate this manifesto in the merits of the typical location they worked in. The Limburg team (Defacto, Vista and Arcadis) enforced the landscape as a buffer… Read More
De Staart, West 8: IABR–Atelier Dordrecht

De Staart, West 8: IABR–Atelier Dordrecht

The case of De Staart in Dordrecht is used withing RDD as example how – through – design floodrisk management and urban development can be brought together.   De Staart is located outside the dikes but due to its industrial function it was raised relatively high. It is besides an industrial area also residential, which is partly on a former poison belt. This creates an ambivalent living environment. On the one hand, it is a district with lots of nature and beautiful areas close by: the Biesbosch and the historic city center. On the other hand, there is the proximity of the industrial area, including a waste incineration (which supplies heat), a WWTP, a chemical factory and a penitentiary. After… Read More
Spatial Framework as a Basis

Spatial Framework as a Basis

Adriaan Geuze as studio master and the team of West 8 made the spatial framework for De Staart as a basis for possible future developments. The Framework contains substantive principles, whereby the landscape quality of the area determines the structure. Use was made of the unique position between the Wantij and the Beneden Merwede, and of the transition from urban area to the ecological main structure in the Biesbosch area.   Within the spatial framework, an urban exploration was made with which the requested program was examined in mass volume. A total of 1.3 million m² of gross floor area of buildings is needed for 7,000 extra homes, where 14,000 people can find shelter. To preserve the human scale, a… Read More
Design Study Masterclasses

Design Study Masterclasses

As a part of the Design Study, ReDesigning Deltas organized four masterclasses, to give participants specialist knowledge input for their challenge. Topics included: the Dutch delta, international deltas, delta governance and delta economy. In the Dutch Delta, Deltares-specialists presented the state of the art regarding adaptation pathways, scalability, transport-corridor(s) and climate proof infrastructure, draught, subsidence, flood risk management, but also on the regional challenges of Limburg, Southwestern Delta, mouth of the Rhine-Meuse rivers and Limburg. The Dutch Delta Masterclass informed the societal challenges, that are the point of departure for sustainable spatial transformation envisioned by the design-teams in the Design Study. The societal challenges are organized in environmental (climate and biodiversity) and socio-economic drivers (housing, energy transition and new economy),… Read More
Recife Exchanges Netherlands

Recife Exchanges Netherlands

16th climate hotspot (IPCC,2014): Recife, first renascence city of the Americas and most vulnerable Brazilian metropolis to Climate Change, faces the threat of being submerged by rising sea levels. Towards an urbanistic reinvention of Recife, the 12 years partnership between Recife and the Netherlands has reflected on visions and strategies to both countries. So, how can we protect the oldest capital in the country, set to celebrate its 500th anniversary in 2037, from becoming definitely flooded? Through Recife Exchanges, this research involved national institutions led by the Federal University of Pernambuco in collaboration with international institutions such as RCE - Ministry of Science Culture and Education of the Netherlands, MIT (USA), Université de Toulouse (France), IHE/Delft - Institute for Water… Read More


Unsustainable growth (urbanization) and shifting time horizons in delta management increase the urgency of the environmental crisis in deltas. Besides, an opportunity for a ‘reset’ arises because of the near sell-by date current infrastructure systems (mature deltas) and the vast investments planned in the coming decades (emerging deltas). It is essential to identify and understand pathways to a sustainable and inclusive delta in which transformations are likely necessary. Unfortunately, the current practice of ‘delta-management’ falls short, as it lacks integration and design. Collective inter-disciplinary knowledge production is required to develop these (transformation) pathways, and the success of collective knowledge production does require a design-based approach, in which different perspectives are recognized and joint new perspectives are developed. Therefore, we initiated an ambitious, inter-disciplinary and multi-annual project which places design and design-based research at the heart to deliver these outcomes. We propose to use the Delft Approach as a basis on which to build in the process of Redesigning Deltas, in which finding consensus (joint fact finding), making visions, and designing their material, ecological and temporal manifestation in space (design-thinking) help to explore, envision, and project new futures, to evoke and enable change.

The main goal of this project is to build the knowledge and collective commitment in the delta community* to support the shift in paradigm where water (security & safety) management is integrated into planning and design and vice versa in which the role of design and design-based research is revisited and strengthened.
The project will evoke systemic change on two levels:
1. Strategy: transformability (persistence – fragments vs. permanence – main structure)
2. Tactics: flexibility (ability to respond, contingency), continuous learning, adaptability, and innovation (ability to change) and will deliver as concrete outputs pathways to sustainable deltas (national and international context).