Toine Smits, Menno Straatsma & Jan Fliervoet

functiecombinaties, living labs, publiek-private samenwerking

Scheepvaart, landbouw, zand- en kleiwinning hebben, naast hoogwaterveiligheid, eeuwenlang de inrichting en het beheer van het rivierengebied bepaald. In de jaren tachtig van de vorige eeuw (her)ontdekte men het natuurpotentieel van het rivierengebied. Ook voor wonen en recreatie richtte men de aandacht op het rivierengebied. Het werd gecompliceerd toen de eerste effecten van de klimaatverandering zichtbaar werden met de extreme hoogwaters van 1993 en 1995. Het verenigen van alle ruimteclaims bleek geen eenvoudige opgave. Er werd naarstig gezocht naar modellen waarbij ook regionale en lokale partijen hun steentje zouden bijdragen aan de gewenste functiecombinaties. Sindsdien is de behoefte aan co-creatie in het rivierengebied alleen nog maar groter geworden. Hoe is het eigenlijk met die experimenten afgelopen? En welke stappen worden nu ondernomen om co-creatie in het rivierengebied verder te optimaliseren?

Co-creative river landscapes

Toine Smits, Menno Straatsma & Jan Fliervoet

Combination of functions, living labs, public-private cooperation

For centuries the Dutch fluvial landscape has been shaped by shipping, agriculture, clay and sand mining. In the eighties of the previous century nature and environmental issues received considerable societal and political attention. With the publication of the so-called ‘Plan Stork’, an ecological approach on river and floodplain management and its natural values were rediscovered. In the slipstream of these developments the fluvial landscape became increasingly interesting for leisure, recreation and housing. Also the number of land use claims in the f loodplains increased. Finding a balance between these claims became increasingly difficult after the bankfull discharges of the Meuse and Rhine in 1993 and 1995 which resulted in the evacuation of 250.000 people. After these events the national authorities were looking for ways to increase the water discharge capacity of the river system. It appeared to be quite a challenge to combine the various land use claims into a safe, biodivers and economic viable fluvial  landscape. The so-called EMAB experiment (i.e. experiments with adaptive housing/building) was a first attempt. However, an evaluation of EMAB pointed out that only in a few cases this synergy was realized. Probably because the initiators kept the project development to themselves excluding additional ideas, money and efforts. The application of the concept co-creation was more successful in the so-called ‘Wealthy Waal’project. In this bottom-up initiative 15 municipalities worked together with knowledge institutes, entrepreneurs and citizens/NGOs to develop a multifunctional land use plan for the floodplains along the 80 km Rhine-Waal branch. Since then the demand for optimizing co-creation processes in the fluvial landscape has steadily increased.

This article briefly describes the outcome of the EMAB and Wealthy Waal experiment and focuses on the latest insights of co-creation; the so-called Living Labs. In The Netherlands a number of universities are  collaborating with water boards and other governmental organisations to address complex water related  land use issues . This so-called Delta Platform constructed a Living Lab approach which among other issues is used to combine various land use functions in the Dutch urbanized fluvial system. In the process of co-creation choices between different land use scenarios have to be made. Within this context the development of the tool ‘RiverScape’ is elucidated. Riverscape is a decision support tool calculating the effect of specific land use functions on flood risks, biodiversity, involved costs and the number of land owners involved. A Living Lab approach needs to be tailor made to each socio-cultural context and landscape type, but a number of generic conditions can be identified to make the co-creation successful. The first results of working with this Living Lab methodology are promising (wide public support,  streamlining human and financial resources). It requires new skills of Living Lab participants to work in a non-hierarchical, transparent context and to share human and financial resources in a process where the precise final outcome is unknown. It is suggested that in particular knowledge institutes such as universities of applied sciences can play a pivotal role in the initiation and facilitation of Living Labs.

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