Award nomination for VR-Dijken

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One of the entries submitted by Witteveen+Bos has been nominated for the Water Innovation Prize: the VR-Dijken project. Every year the Union of Water Authorities awards this prize to innovative projects that can be used in the fulfilment of the duties and responsibilities of the water authorities.

VR-Dijken is one of the nominees in the water safety category. Apart from a jury prize there is also a public recognition award. Voting is possible until 22 November, via the following link:

About VR-Dijken

VR-Dijken is an innovative idea of Marinus Aalberts, Lead Dike Designer and head of the Witteveen+Bos office in Amsterdam. The VR-Dijken tool facilitates participatory dike design. By means of this VR tool, people who have limited or no specialist knowledge can still contribute to dike designs. All rules of the new standards (Nieuwe Normering) have been implemented in the tool, which means that all designs created will meet these standards. The tool makes use of a VR headset (Oculus Rift) and ‘digital hands’ (Oculus Touch), and shows the dike in comparison to the old dike in its actual environment.

Effects immediately clear

Marinus Aalberts came up with the idea for VR-Dijken when noticed that his work practices were changing: when designing dikes he was increasingly collaborating with people with different backgrounds. Think of landscape architects, ecologists and permit authorities, for example. These people are involved in the design but they generally do not have the right knowledge. However, if they work with VR-Dijken they can immediately see how their choices will affect other aspects of the design. Local residents, too, can use VR-Dijken to literally stand in their own back yards and instantly see what effect a new dike design will have on their lines of sight, for example.

Participatory design

The VR-Dijken tool fits in seamlessly with one of our sustainable design principles: participatory design. To implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Witteveen+Bos has devised 7 sustainable design principles. The ‘participatory design’ principle means that designs should not be created for stakeholders, but together with stakeholders. This way we can allow the end users of our design (the client behind the client) to contribute actively to the design process. Their knowledge of the local area and their ideas will improve our design, so that there will be more positive and fewer negative effects.

The Water Innovation Prize will be awarded on Monday 27 November.