This paper is a report on a research project. Based on a study of several propositional student designs, it discusses the common principles used in six student projects that use a ‘landscape approach’. It finds that all propositional designs have several similar characteristics: being problem-driven, designs for infrastructure, related to delta engineering and water management issues and working on a large scale. All projects propose a framework for benefiting from natural system flows; a performing landscape infrastructure brought to the surface to be revealed and experienced.Several steps are taken to implement this landscape infrastructure: (1) understanding natural system processes, (2) providing space, (3) preparing the preliminary conditions by taking minimal interventions, (4) opening up the site and let natural and cultural processes take over and do the work, and (5) monitor, (6) adapt and optimize when necessary, and (7) involve man, seeking understanding and stewardship.
This strategy can be used in both urban and rural coastal areas and provides for performances such as flood control, water discharge, food production, coastal defence and ecological habitat networks, as well as provides an essential spatial framework where inhabitants can have access to their local landscape in function and understand its functioning, and by doing so rightly judge its value for man and nature.
Their principles are applicable in similar situations, in coastal or delta regions that deal with diminishing food production due to salinization, flooding risks due to land subsidence and climate change, etcetera.
The application of performing landscape infrastructures can therefore be seen as a way of providing an essential and critical minimal framework for both human and natural resource production and management, hereby ensuring a better ‘fit’ between natural processes and human actions.
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