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Research by design on the Dutch coastline: Bridging flood control and spatial quality
Brand, N.; Kersten, I.; Pot, R.; Warmerdam, M. (2014). Research by design on the Dutch coastline: Bridging flood control and spatial quality. Built Environ. 40(2): 265-280
In: Built Environment. Alexandrine Press: Oxford. ISSN 0263-7960, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Brand, N.
  • Kersten, I.
  • Pot, R.
  • Warmerdam, M.

Abstract
    The Dutch coast struggles with what has been called 'the coastal squeeze'. A combination of rising sea level and subsequent eroding coastline puts greater emphasis on keeping the protection level of the coastal defence system up to date, while simultaneous intensification of land-use claims leads to habitat loss of coastal organisms (Doody, 2004). A growing appreciation for diverse and dynamic ecosystems combined with a demand for attractive and competitive seaside towns, that offer a comfortable environment for tourists and residents alike, leads to increasing requests on behalf of 'spatial quality'. Furthermore a growing societal demand to be involved in the decision-making process concerning the built environment exists, while the traditional role of planners and engineers is questioned. This increasing complexity puts existing approaches to address flood risk to the test and makes it harder to realize interventions that meet the wishes of local communities. In 2011 a unique initiative set out to address this challenge: the Coastal Quality Studio. On behalf of multiple initiators and powered by a multidisciplinary core-team, more than thirty participatory research-by-design studios on a wide-ranging selection of themes were organized to study the challenges and possible solutions for the future development of the Dutch coast. Both the method and the results of the Studio are addressed in this paper, as are its four key values of coastal quality: involving and accommodating natural dynamics; being adaptive to future sea-level rise; providing space for development; and stimulating diversity. The Studio's method applies not only to the Dutch coast but would be a helpful tool for integral interventions on other coasts as well.

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