By Taneha Bacchin
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).