Principles and methods for problem analysis and site analysis
Several principles and methods can be used in the design process:
Principle I. Projects on landscape infrastructure should incorporate global (climate change) challenges, thereby increasing the complexity and relevance of the design solutions. The motto ‘think globally, act locally’ is to be implemented in the design, referring to climate issues as well as concrete locations. Global problems can be ‘downsampled’ to a regional and then a local scale by use of problem trees or other schematic representations. Examples of these global climate challenges are: flooding- and sea level rise aspects, water storage, erosion control, future food security, salinization, renewable energy, sustainable urban regeneration.
Principle II. Make a strategic design instead of a comprehensive analysis and planning. Not all layers are dealt with as in McHarg’s layer cake model (McHarg 1969; Spirn 2000) or the past Wageningen Triplex model of abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic layers (Kerkstra & Vrijlandt, 1988). Instead, strategic choices are to be made, and the selected ‘layers’ are to be studied thoroughly (figure 96).
For example: As projects will often deal with water-related issues, this will results in a strong focus on hydrological and soil aspects. And due to the choice of incorporating global climate challenges, scientific data on climate change is also studied. Since solutions are found within the current natural system, and are to be system-own, site inventory also includes natural system processes and often a native vegetation inventory. The inventory layers are often analysed by use of digital overlay techniques and use of Geo Information Systems (GIS).
Principle III. Seek to decompose the problem into manageable parts. For example, decomposes a dredge problem into dredge types that are specific to their local area (based on soil types and pollution types), hereby applying different cleaning methods to each type. Or decompose the complexity of the natural coastal system’s poor health into several smaller and more local problems in order to constitute the site-specific demands for their study area (figure 97). Another way is decomposes the problem by downsampling the problem to study area and site scales and calculating its assignments.
Principle IV. Seek to quantify the problem and solution into amounts and use these statistics as guidelines of solving the problem. By quantifying the problem, the design solution becomes detailed and ‘fitting’, since it resolves the problem in exact size and number.
Examples are calculating the exact assignment into cubic meters of dredge and subdivides this into quantities for several dredge types, hereby being able to find design solutions for the total variety and amount of dredge, as well as providing a calculated—and thus intelligent—phasing that suits the incoming amounts of dredge over time. Or prividing statistics on lost fresh-saline transitions and calculating the sand amounts needed to let the coast grow seawards, hereby regaining these transitions. Other projects specifiy the exact amount of water to be stored and the loss of tree coverage for the area that has to be replaced, and then shows how, after the design implementation, 89% of the storage problem is resolved with only 20% of the design space used.
Designs can also deal with experience and aesthetic appearance, and use methods for quantifying aesthetic appearance. One example is using sextets for the quantification of the aesthetic appearance of different neighbourhoods, before and after implementation. Another way is to quantify the spatial quality of a site by categorizing the qualities and applying values to determine their level of importance (I-IV). These s are then placed in a matrix and rated by application of grades, ranging from triple minus (—) to triple plus (+++).