Joint fact finding


Joint fact finding

The RDD Joint Fact Finding (JFF) exercise will provide a common understanding within the Redesigning Deltas community of the key problems, the related challenges, and the potential for design-based-research to feed into a transformative debate on the vulnerability of the overall water system. In the first part, special attention is paid to the function and evolvement of the Multi-layer safety1 (MLS) in the Netherlands, and the scaling potential of innovative adaptation measures (with special reference to the De Staart case in Dordrecht).


The JFF provides a first input for a general “baseline” or collective starting point for the 5 design studies within the Redesigning Deltas program. This JFF initiative will deliver:

– A better joint problem definition, representing the collectively experienced challenge; articulate key differences in problem understanding.
– A generally accepted set of guiding principles, pre-conditions & methodologies that define the boundaries of the RDD design initiatives.
– A joint knowledge base that sets the minimum of scientific evidence or input that will have to be incorporated in the exercise.

The Joint Fact Finding will cover three spatial dimensions: the local (implementation) level; the regional level (looking at scaling opportunities); and the national level (relevance for policy reform and effects upon the system). The JFF will facilitate (expert)interviews, hackathons, collective brainstorm session, and dialogues in national and international conferences. Typical questions that may be addressed are:

– To what level are we dealing with a common or collective experience and perception of urgency related to the (threat of) accelerating climate change?
– Where do we stand in terms of involvement of all relevant stakeholders?
– What have been key success factors to overcome past challenges; and what lays ahead of us?
– When dealing with and preparing for climate extremes, are we able and willing to think (way) beyond the present adaptive approaches, including accepting increasing importance of both spatial planning and disaster preparedness?
– Very specifically, how can design and design-based-research help is this debate?


The Joint Fact Finding is considered a continuous learning exercise. It will gradually evolve, with the obtained results and insights shaping its next steps.


First results are meant to be published in March 2022.

  • 1
    MLS, Multi Layer Safety, a set of principles that determine the methodology and order of (public) efforts to prevent and minimize the risks and damage by disasters, here very specifically focussed on water security and water nuisance (floods and droughts). MLS is also described in the European Water framework directive. The model consist of: a) Prevention, like dams, dikes, storm surge barriers, water-retaining structures; b) Spatial planning, allowing for the development of a less vulnerable surrounding, c) disaster management, including respons- (teams, evacuation, etc.), restoration, and preparations.
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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
Sandpit Design Study

Sandpit Design Study

The Sandpit is a methodology that is used to create a body of knowledge around a challenge from the participants. It is a methodology that is also used in interdisciplinary design workshops to be able to integrate and utilize knowledge of different nature because of the different disciplines. In the two-day ‘Sandpit’, the participants from engineering, urban design and landscape architecture firms are working together in defining the challenges and needs in the five geographical ‘challenges’ that represent different parts of the Dutch (delta) territory in the study. Starting in (first disciplinary) groups to discuss these challenges, the practical experience from professionals in the field is gathered and used to build a preliminary understanding of the design-challenge(s) at hand, and… Read More
Casco Concept and Dutch Layers Approach, H+N+S Landscape Architects

Casco Concept and Dutch Layers Approach, H+N+S Landscape Architects

The Synthesis line of ReDesigning Deltas is focused on integration and academic consolidation of the other lines of enquiry in the program, such as the Joint Fact Finding and the Design Study, to prepare an international, 5-year research program. To do so, the Synergy line describes the outcomes of deliverables for their scope and validity, but also analyzes and develops methods. H+N+S Landscape Architects has been commissioned to review the instruments of the Dutch Layers approach (a planning instrument) and the Casco Model (an instrumental elaboration of the Layers Approach).   Although both have become mainstream over the last decades, the question remains how they can be made instrumental for design. H+N+S analyzed the instruments (that originated from their offices)… 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


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).