Territorial governance, spatial strategy and urban landscape dynamics in the Pearl River Delta

This joint research project concerns planning and management for more resilient urban deltas, and in particular, adaptation of the dynamics of urban deltas to address increasing flood risk. The project evaluates innovative territorial governance as an approach to create spatial strategies that may unlock the adaptation options, especially by integrating urban planning and water management, and engaging with stakeholders. The overall aim of the research is to develop an integrative and multiscale design and planning approach for adaptive urban transformation in fast urbanizing deltas. It uses the Pearl River Delta as a case study. The project will combine work in China, the Netherlands and the UK: (1) to develop a portfolio of integrated adaptation measures based on an assessment of ecological capacity and life cycles of buildings, urban districts and regions; (2) identify potential in territorial governance structures for more integrated approaches and adaptation measures; and (3), develop and test innovative 3D visualisation techniques that facilitate participatory, multi-stakeholder planning approaches. For the first time, established and regular urban transformation processes will be used as opportunities to adapt systems in urbanized deltas at relatively low costs. Furthermore, the research will identify institutional, cultural and financial innovations that are needed in territorial governance to steer the development of urban and rural areas towards more resilient futures. This research provides a unique approach that integrates research in urban landscape systems, territorial governance and visualisation techniques that will help to achieve more integrated and resilient deltas.

This project enables joint research by Delft University of Technology, Department of Urbanism; South China University of Technology, School of Architecture (China); The University of Sheffield, Department of Landscape (UK).

Funded research
Project Leaders: Dr Steffen Nijhuis (TUD), Prof Yimin Sun (SCUT), Prof Eckart Lange (UoS). The project team consists of about 12-15 professors, post-doc’s and PhD-candidates.
Period: 2018-2021
Principal investigator TUD/Post Doc: Dr Daniele Canatella
Funding: NSFC, NWO and EPSRC Sustainable Deltas Program (grant no. ALWSD 2016.013)

Posted by:Steffen Nijhuis

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