In 'Working with Water Landscapes', a consortium is investigating whether you can link nature-inclusive design of water landscapes to a powerful economy. The emphasis is on the water landscape behind and between the dikes. Research group Building with Nature at HZ University of Applied Sciences is one of the participants.

The research is taking place in three areas: the IJsselmeer coast (Koopmanspolder), the Southwest Delta and the Ems-Dollard region. Through workshops, the participants are looking at how to link nature-inclusive design to revenue models for recreation, land use and hydraulic engineering. The insights they gain in the process should also be usable in other areas of the Netherlands.
Since the project began in 2021, there have been several working workshops. Two were in Zeeland. The first took place in the Kustlaboratorium in Waterdunen, the second in Zuid-Beveland. During the latter workshop at the Schaapskooi in Nisse, the focus was on the farmer's perspective in a flood control landscape. The participants went in search of water landscapes in Zuid-Beveland that combine food production, water safety, recreation and nature management. There they talked not only about farmers, but also with farmers. Their concerns were taken to heart and included in the continuation of the project. There were also speakers from the Scheldestromen water board and the province's Deltaplan Zoet Water, and talks with the owner of Scheldeoord campsite, Natuurmonumenten and ZLTO.

Not connected to planning processes

In Zuid-Beveland, the future of the coastal landscape of the Westerschelde is being considered within, for example, the Flood Protection Program and the Freshwater Delta Plan. This brings together all kinds of interests. During the workshop, the consortium tried to bring those interests together now, before any plans are made.
In a workshop in Groningen, which took place a few months after the meeting on Zuid-Beveland, the participants saw that the regions have many similarities: the consequences of sea level rise, salinization, the nature task and habitability of the area in the long term. Again, discussions included farmers and interest groups.
The advantage of the project is that it is not linked to ongoing planning processes in the areas. The work workshops are therefore a starting point for an incubator with new ideas, integral approaches, linking opportunities and social innovation. Ultimately, perspectives should emerge with social added value for everyone. The building blocks for this emerge from the project.