The power of design studies

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Over the past two years, as part of the Spatial Design voucher scheme of the Creative Industries Fund NL Witteveen+Bos has worked on three projects with an impact on public spaces.

Three projects were started together with the clients and often also with residents to shape sustainable robust area development. They involved three design issues that are linked to the current challenges in the Netherlands in the area of climate, energy, housing and rural areas.

Oude Turfvaart connects: opportunities for a new role for historic peat navigation routes in the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland? It is expensive to create a climate-robust water system. In collaboration with the Noorderzijlvest Water Authority and with the relevant stakeholders, we looked at how water connections via the old peat canals could provide added value in the area of agriculture (including nature-inclusive closed-loop agriculture) and recreation (such as active leisure activities involving cycling, walking and sailing) as well as water quality and the required water demand. We were inspired by the historical water system, in which water was the main infrastructure in the villages and water functioned as a route through the rural areas.

Springwater streams: achieving area-specific water awareness in Loenen thanks to ‘generational thinking’. Springwater streams (sprengen) are a characteristic element in the landscape of the Veluwe area, as a legacy of a cultural-historical production landscape. In the Loenense Beek project area, Witteveen+Bos and the Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority have harnessed ‘generational thinking’. The result of getting two generations to engage in a dialogue (first separately and then with each other) is a wide range of spatial building blocks that serve as creative input for the broader area-specific approach of the Voorsterbeek system.

Stroomstart: a serious game about circularity in area developments. Together with the municipality of Breda, Witteveen+Bos has developed the serious game Stroomstart to show project teams how to manage circularity in area developments in an integrated way. In a playful way, Stroomstart shows project teams how they can focus on circularity in every phase of area development. When playing the game, which is available in both physical and digital variants, participants are instructed to limit the use of raw materials by choosing specific measures. Every measure has a different impact on, for example, climate change adaptation, energy consumption and/or the environment.