The Netherlands is a delta area with an extreme amount of water coming in from all sides. The Dutch are greatly skilled in dealing with all this water. But as research and technology evolve, we see dikes and dams making place for more natural/dynamic structures to deal with the water. Examples are Plan Ooievaar, which gives “space for the rivers”, Buro Harro’s Kwelder-landscape in Friesland (see illustration below), and ideas like the Sandmotor along the West-coast of the country. These dynamic ideas are often either in its origin small or they are just partly executed.
Because as it happens; The Netherlands are full and fully planned.
Plans made by the Dutch government, the state apparatus that works by compromising. This way of practicing politics stems in its essence from the way we always dealed with the landscape and therefore received it’s name from that: The Poldermodel. The compromises that form the model cost a lot of time and take many people and opinions into account. Dutch people are ok with that. Because they trust the welfare state. After all, we feel like we all have something to say in this democracy. Right now there is no space, no flexibility, and mostly no eagerness to regard such an enormous scale initiative on dealing with the water in a dynamic way. Dutch planning interferes with new solutions to deal with the dynamic waterscape.
However there is a demand for getting rid of this planning by a growing group: Nomads. Dutch society has a growing amount of nomadic people, living in tents or boats. Also more and more people are claiming back their names from the Dutch state by becoming sovereign. However, right now there is no space in the Netherlands where both these people can live according to their ideals and standards.
1.How could the Netherlands be divided into two zones: One where welfare state thrives and where everything is ultimately planned. One where is dealt with the water in a new dynamic way and where nomadic groups are living sovereign within own communities.
2. What would the transformation from typical Dutch river/ salt-marches landscape towards a plug-in dynomadic landscape look like? When classic polder/river elements will become one with a fluctuating water level and new elements that reflect this new nomadically state-less living without compromising.
3. What would be the new function of the Dijk when it transforms from merely a spatial element into spatial element that is also a political border between a static welfare state and a dynomadic landscape?
The aim of this graduation is to experiment in designing with politics in landscape architecture. After all, why design within the political system and it’s limitations, when we can also change/influence the same system.
I will disengage designing from a certain political paradigm, in order to actually see how this current political paradigm influences the design. By doing this, my graduation will become a utopian plan that can trigger more smaller scale ideas to look at the landscape in a different way: not separately, but inextricably linked with politics.
I am designing a Netherlands where a certain percentage (say 20%) is living nomadically. A Netherlands that consists out of two segments: One super welfare state where the poldermodel is optimalized and the organized part of society is taking place (education, healthcare, institutions). The other part is where Netherlands can deal with the landscape in this new dynamic way, and where the nomads live. Here, classic dutch spatial elements, belonging to the different kinds of landscapes (Lakebed, terpen, dune, river) will transform or disappear. Maybe we can replace the typical grid of a droogmakerij by a grid of windmills, where boats or trailers can plug-in?
Imagine a utopian situation where we are not going back in time, but ahead. As well in the welfare state as in the nomadic area people will need and demand hot water, gas, electricity, sewage systems and off course wireless network everywhere. Landscapes as we know them will be put under water or left over to the rivers and change into new landscapes. Will these still have the Dutch wide views and rows of poplars? Will there still be the grid that the Dutch polder engineers designed? Or will these elements just get a new function?