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Reinventing the Dutch Delta: Complexity and Conflicts

HAN MEYER
Built Environment (1978-)
Vol. 35, No. 4, Climate Change, Flood Risk and Spatial Planning (2009), pp. 432-451
Published by: Alexandrine Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23289997
Page Count: 20
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Reinventing the Dutch Delta: Complexity and Conflicts
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Abstract

Urbanized deltas can be considered as areas with a double complexity: they have to deal with the complexity of the delta, as the meeting of rivers and sea, and with the complexity of urban patterns, as a condition and result of economic, cultural and social life. In search of sustainable strategies, authorities and planners in different delta-areas are looking to the Netherlands, which has seemed to deal with this double complexity in a successful and sustainable way. However, instead of considering the Netherlands as an example which can be copied in other urbanized deltas, it is important to understand the Dutch delta as a result of two specific conditions: first, the natural dynamics of the delta itself, and second, the coincidence of the Dutch delta with the territory of the Dutch nation state. Moreover, fundamental discussions and reconsiderations are taking place concerning future policies and strategies for flood defence, water-management and urban development in the Netherlands. Instead of the adage 'fighting against the water', a new one 'working with nature' is appearing. This change is not only important for future safety and urban development in the Netherlands itself, but might be relevant for other urbanized deltas as well

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