Designing with uncertainty: adaptive designs, scenarios

Two different scenarios for the Southwest delta:
1. ‘Steam’ extreme climate change; explosive economic and demographic growth
2.‘Quiet’ moderate climate change; economic and demographic decline
Courtesy of IPDD project – H+N+S Landscape architects

Designing in urbanising delta reasons means that we should take several uncertainties take into account: the uncertainty concerning the exact future climate change and effects of climate change, and the uncertainty concerning the future economic, demographic and urban developments. For that reason, we try to develop designs and design-methods which are able to deal with these uncertainties. Our designs should provide answers for short- and midterm questions, but they should be prepared for long term futures too.

By exploring different possible long term scenarios, we test the outcomes of these scenarios in the map of the region. Our designs for the short term should be able to adapt to different possible scenarios for the long term.


  • Meyer, Han, Arnold Bregt, Ed Dammers, Jurian Edelenbos (eds), 2015, New perspectives on urbanizing deltas, Amsterdam: MUST Publishers