Occupation Strategy

In case new space for urban functions needs to be found and the period of anticipation is set at 100 years or more, two occupation strategies can be distinguished.

In the first strategy new building locations are positioned where floods are not impossible. The building techniques and urban patterns are adjusted in a way that minimises the climate effects.

In the second strategy those locations are chosen where the effects of climate change are already minimal: thus, not in the deepest polders or in outer marches.

The first strategy focuses on existing spatial mechanisms and interests. Location choices are made, bearing in mind economic motives, distances to city centres or prevention of open space from being occupied. Once this choice has been made, the developments at location level need to be made climate-proof. Projects in the national spatial plan use this strategy and need to perform excellently re cli mate adaptation. Therefore, strict requirements are formulated for Zuidplaspolder, Haarlemmermeer and Almere, coincidentally all deep polders. The answer from the Ministry of Housing (Ministerie van VROM, 2007b) on questions formulated by motion of Bochove/Depla (TK, 2006), illustrates that climate change in the Netherlands is not seen as a factor that will change the existing occupation strategy for the next 100 years. The government is supported in that opinion by the National Environment Agency (MNP), which states in the second sustainability reconnaissance -Nederland Later (MNP, 2007) - that in case of a sea level rise of maximal 1.5 m in the upcoming century the Netherlands can be adapted, without changing its occupation pattern. In this vision, current concentration areas are the development areas of the future as well. Thus, in the national spatial plan most investments and spatial developments are foreseen to take place in Randstad Holland. Because these areas contain the highest economic values, they should keep it safe. The newly developed urban areas should be planned as the showcases of climate proof building and planning, because these developments would have to be very well adapted, due to their vulnerable location. If people and values are added to these areas the vulnerability and the risk of damage and casualties increases as well. Therefore the safety level in these areas is said to be higher than regions where less people and economic value is apparent.

In the second strategy the choice for a new urban development is based on the chance of a natural disaster, like flooding. Especially if land ice on Greenland and Western Antarctica melts at an accelerated pace and the sea level rises accordingly, it will be necessary to change the occupation strategy. Relief becomes the main steering factor, which steers urban developments to higher altitudes of the country. Independently of the existing situation, the spread of people and economic value over the country should change towards a concentration of most people and value towards higher altitudes, typically in Drenthe, the Veluwe and Northern Brabant. The invitation of mayor Leers of the city of Maastricht to host the majority of the Dutch people in his city (Trow, 2007), is based on this strategy. However an invitation of a mayor is not sufficient. A possible shift of economic values towards the higher grounds shall not be completed tomorrow. The national investment-patterns need to shift also (Roggema, 2007) towards these higher areas (Fig. 7.1).

However, current national policy is focused on the Randstad Holland, the part of the country, which is most vulnerable to climate change. Beside this, historically and culturally the national focal points are positioned here. The delta is historically the place where the living conditions proved to be the most profitable. Cities like Delft, Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague all originated at the most favourable places. This repetitive dynamic of settlements and resettlements at these exact places can only be changed by planning cities in a top down manner and at safe locations. In the Dutch context this seems not to be realistic.

Such an approach to organise the regional layout could be beneficial if the regional housing market, population densities and economic centres were connected with flood risk. The image for the province of Groningen (Roggema, 2007) shows urban developments at the higher areas of the province. The adjusted layout shows the economic activities in the existing and higher lying harbour areas of Eems

Fig. 7.1 Shift of investments towards the higher areas of the country (Source: Roggema, 2008)

Fig. 7.1 Shift of investments towards the higher areas of the country (Source: Roggema, 2008)

harbour and Delfzijl and the concentration of living areas in the peat colonies and the southern Westerkwartier (Fig. 7.2).

Besides concentrating most activities at higher levels, at the same time lesser houses can be built in the lower parts. These houses need to be adjusted to possible floods. Making the houses floating, floodable or position them on modern forms of wierden (artificial hills) could meet these requirements.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment