Meaning for Spatial Patterns

The spatial lay out of the Netherlands needs to adjust itself to a changing climate. The biggest part of urban areas should preferable no longer be positioned in areas, which are under threat of flooding, i.e. the lowest parts of the country. This is not only a matter of safety, but also economically driven. The increased concentration of economical functions in the Randstad Holland leads to increasing costs to safeguard these values. The fact that the Netherlands keeps on investing in the Randstad can be better explained from a historic point of view, the fact that most decision makers live in this area and the fact that changes of functions are not arranged by drawing up a regional plan than that climatic reasons underpin these choices. It illustrates once more that people continue to think about the short-term future. The incentive to move complete settlements would be only acceptable for landowners, politicians and the public if recently a large-scale disaster has happened.

Fig. 2.11 Map of a climate adaptive Netherlands (Source: Roggema, 2007a)

Wouldn't it be more logic - if the long-term is taken into account - to invest in economical development, spatial structures and infrastructure in areas, which are due to their natural characteristics resilient against climate change (Fig. 2.12)? The economical, spatial and infrastructural investments would have been done in areas of higher altitudes, while the lower and more risky areas would have been used for climate buffers (Bureau Stroming, 2006), which are capable of temporarily storage of water and where new nature can be developed (see also Chapter 5).

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