Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Transitional Territories Graduation Studio 2020-2021 / Inland Seaward
Transitional Territories is an interdisciplinary design studio focusing on the notion of territory as a constructed project across scales, subjects and media. In particular, the studio focuses on the agency of design in territories at risk between land and water (maritime, riverine, delta landscapes), and the dialectical (or inseparable) relation between nature and culture. The studio explores through cross-disciplinary knowledge (theory, material practice, design and representation) pathways of inquiry and action by building upon Delta Urbanism research tradition, yet moving beyond conventional methods and concepts. During the graduation year, students develop an analytic, critical and conceptual approach to design by means of system and data analysis, critical cartography, scenario planning and new media. The scales of individual projects vary from buildings and (infra)structures to entire landscapes and regions. The theoretical discourse to which the studio refers includes notions of critical zones, territorialism, infrastructure space, (landscape) ecology, environmental risk and transition theory. The studio builds upon a collaborative platform (science, engineering, technology and arts) on ways of seeing, mapping, projecting change and critically acting on urbanized landscapes. At the core of the Delta Urbanism Research Group (Section of Urban Design), the studio is embedded within/and supported by the interdisciplinary TU Delft Delta Futures Lab, working in close collaboration with the Faculties of Civil Engineering and Geosciences and Technology, Policy and Management (TUD).
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Luisa Maria Calabrese
Instructors | Mentors
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Diego Sepulveda Carmona
Lucas Meneses Di Gioia Ferreira
Graduation Sections/ Chairs
Environmental Technology & Design
Spatial Planning and Strategy
Applied Geology (Coastal Morphology)(Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences)
'Inland, Seaward' redraws the line between land and see as a surface, or rather a prism, where the notion of the territorial project positions itself. The gaze moves from within. By observing through the lens of natural processes of sedimentation and erosion versus anthropogenic disturbance events interfering within them, implicit motions, laterally and longitudinally, shape the multitude of dimensions, values and experiences of the territory. Complex volumes of soil, sole manifestations of past fluidity of marine- and riverine territory through the fixation of sediment, show the ever-moving suspension of soil in water. Iterating onto itself through the duality of the formation and degradation processes, creating past, present and future. Within this anthropogenic territory, configurations and objects of an infrastructural nature disclose a set of interconnected vulnerabilities. Infrastructures are our vertical alignment with the soil, anchoring humanity, yet disabling horizontal movement of natural processes and flows. As such, they reconfigure the notion of topos and the conditions of inhabitation. A sense of acceptance emerges. By moving the gaze from within a change of narrative is at sight. Forged by emergence, juxtaposition and transition in water, soil, atmosphere and culture the hybrid sediment of matter shifts priorities, scales and compositions.
[in northern Sámi]
Can you hear the sound of life
In the roaring of the creek
In the blowing of the wind
That is all I want say
That is all
The natural processes on the coastline creates a dynamic territory where the long-shore sediment flow is terraforming the coastline, waves are eroding the dunes creating unique conditions for coastal and marine habitats to thrive. However, these processes not only influence the beach - the assumed border between the sea and the line. The influence of the sea reaches inland on different levels, starting from the geological development of the coastal topography, as well as through different socio-economic systems, for example, the forestry industry. The logs are transported not only to the coastal communities for energy purposes, but also to the small ports for export to other countries. Nevertheless, the coastal communities use the sea far beyond the coastal territory for economic and recreational purposes.
However, the established infrastructure on the coast, like pipes, electricity lines, roads, buildings, piers, and other elements of urbanization are not as dynamic as the territory they are built on. These “sediments” of the anthropogenic activities have created a coastal identity that is different from other landscapes more inland. Thus, these elements are often static and does not correspond to the dynamic coastal processes and the territory, putting an anthropogenic pressure on the nature, irreversibly changing the natural systems in place.
To bring awareness and acceptance of the natural processes and unpredictable climatic and socio-economic changes in the future, a new approach is needed on how to envision the coastal infrastructure and truly embed it in the dynamic territory. By reconceptualizing infrastructure – the coastal street as a territory of processes, it is possible to highlight the environmental qualities and local cultural aspects, allowing the local communities to adapt to the uncertain future.
The urban project is a construction.
It is rooted in a political project: an affirmation of the anthropogenic territorial dominance.
Aided by an engineering project: a physical modification of the landscape to service production.
Yet human habitat is primarily Earth.
Earth as a matter: a physical translation of spatio-temporal dynamics that have now been moved, altered, and commodified.
Earth as a space: a borderless field of interactions that has now been artificialized, contaminated, and politicized.
As we realize the scale of our artifice and the climatic and ecological externalities of urbanization, an alternative consideration needs to be applied to the process of constructing the urban.
A dismantling of the geographically irrational divide between city and hinterland must be actively thought out - as the connection between spaces of consumption, production, and disposal are inseparable. The link between surface and subsurface must be fortified as it is the basis for earthly fertility. The dynamic relationship between land and water must be cultivated as it is vitally constructive and irreplaceable.
Landscape urbanism has now to be thought of as a process from inland, seawards: from geological archeology to geographic reality. A practice where Matter, Space, and Culture are coevolutionary with Ecology within the physical planetary limits we are bounded to.
In the manifesto is shown how an SMP, such as managed realignment can be used to protect the residents of the coastal urban environments by preventing the coastal erosion to reach their living environment through the use of a preventing adapting strategy, that uses urban retreat, to adapt to the urban effects of coastal erosion. The effects of sea level rise and climate change that are able to affect the rate of coastal erosion are anticipated by the use of a managed retreat strategy. People are able to adapt long-term to the ongoing effects of coastal erosion. This managed retreat strategy in the form of relocation is a process of many phases. Residents are able to move away before coastal erosion effects reaches their house and have the option to build their house in another location that is near their current living environment or an environment that is similar or to the environment they inhabit at the moment. However, this relocation should always be an improvement to their current location. The relocation process should be decided in a strategy that considers social justice in terms of spatial justice, environmental justice but also climate justice. This strategy should also consider sustainable decision making within city planning.
The relocation of coastal residential areas will free up space for the natural processes along the coastline creating a bigger habitat for the rare cliff ecology that can be found on the English cliffs. The transformation of urban environments to natural environments will create a new type of ecology that can quickly adapt to the effects of coastal cliff erosion.
However, not every coastal urban area will be able to retreat, some cities play a big role in England’s cultural value and its economy. For these cities a different strategy can be chosen, and provide a place living, working and leisure.
The sea will remain to be used by shipping and the increasing energy production sector that includes wind farms. A connection between land and sea is established through harbor cities with economic and cultural value.
Man standing in the concrete remnants of the waterloopbos’ hydraulic engineering facility. From anthropogenic territorial engineering to contemporary reflecting.
The riverscape is, in lateral and longitudinal sense, a sequence of spatiality and temporality. Implicit motions captured in the natural processes of migration and translation, territory created through manifestations of past fluidity. It has started to become apparent that our typically Dutch, contemporary anthropogenic riverscapes, are unable to meet the demanded fluidity of the increasingly dynamic hydrological cycle. The fluidity of riverine territories has been structurally eliminated, creating a riverscape littered with rigid remnants of the Anthropocene, in order to meet the ever growing demands of civilization and inhabitation.
Our legacy is an inability to meet the demanded fluidity, physical barriers actively destabilizing the environmental processes, creating an engineered system of transposition and movement, without translation and migration. Vertically aligned infrastructure anchoring civilization onto the territorial plane, disabling horizontal movement.
Within the current zeitgeist of nature-based solutions and ecosystem services, a reversed pattern of soft infrastructure has started to appear. The way to move forward, in the face of pending climate changes and extreme hydrology, with a legacy of engineering, technocracy and high-tech interventions, is to contradict our ideals with our interventions. In order to recreate the spatial-temporal character of natural rivers, redirecting the inherent fluidity of riverine territories into a separate system is eminent. Disrupting the past practices of integrating all needs and demands of riverine systems into one and the same riverbed, in order to gain a safe and optimized riverine system for civilization next to a natural riverine territory.
The future of the anthropogenic riverscape is one of disjunction, separation and optimization of riverine regimes, in order to be able to meet all demands of flood control, navigation, drought management and eco-hydrology, through an increasingly dynamic relation between the rigidity of infrastructure and the fluidity of riverine territories.
Since the first rafts embarked onto the ocean, humans have been subject to the sea. This human-sea relation has developed ever since, embedding into the local culture and establishing coastal communities that are dependent on and sensitive to marine alterations. The socio-cultural connection between man and sea varies for each community, for every land. Where I am from, this connection is one of defence and safety. In the Netherlands, the fight against water is visible everywhere, in the dikes and the dunes, the polders and the sluices. These architectural traces reflect water management expertise and fear. A tradition fear, that comes from the collective memory of flood disasters and lost homes. The continuous struggle against water is carved into our identity.
At the coast of Finnmark (Norway) a different human-sea relation can be identified. Here, the socio-cultural connection to the ocean is not one of protection, but of production. Since prehistoric times, Norwegian communities have settled in close proximity to the coastline. They were fishing villages. From the coast, the Norwegian land rises quickly into a mountainous topography that does not allow for extensive agriculture. Instead, the ocean is used as a production space. Even now, Norway’s main contributing industries are marine industries: Oil and gas extraction, hydraulic energy, aquaculture and shipping.
Perhaps it is because of this strong economical reliance, that marine spatial planning of the Barents Sea is predominantly approached from an economic perspective. As the urbanisation of marine space increases, the reorganisation of marine use at the Barents Sea seems primarily fitted to fulfil national demands. The demands of coastal communities and socio-cultural perspectives are overlooked.
What ‘should be’
Yet, the vast majority of marine production is accomplished by the accumulation of local efforts. The operability of the very coastal communities that are essential for marine production are at risk by marine developments. Still, these risks remain
unknown and underrepresented in the marine spatial planning process. In order to maintain social sustainability and operability in coastal communities, socio-cultural demands should be represented and considered in the MSP decision-making process.
What ‘could be’
By approaching the reorganisation of marine use as a local project as well as a national project, the Barents Sea becomes a cultural production landscape. As local capacities determine production, this landscape is fragmented and changeable. The multitude of socio-cultural values and demands are reflected in the small-grained patchwork of work fields, spread out over the waves like agriculture. Underneath, between and above, nature raves on.
Volatile as the ocean itself, the patchwork is transient. Marine space is only claimed temporarily. The fishermen follow the fish and marine traffic changes routes according to weather conditions. Even the oil platform will serve another function, once production is moved elsewhere. Because marine space is only claimed temporarily, no real borders can be drawn. Both the right to resources and responsibility are shared by all users.
Production is small-scale and varied, as opposed to massive, un-adaptive developments. Allowing local initiatives and public ownership. In this scenario, the community windmill becomes a possibility. One or two smaller windmills, owned by Hammerfest, mark the position of the town as a lighthouse would do. The energy that it produces flows back to Hammerfest first, before the excess is sold to the network.
To ensure that the marine landscape is not littered and overgrown with an array of human functions, clear regulations and monitoring on the territorial scale is imperative. The role of urbanism in this scenario is two-fold. At one hand, urbanism must aim to understand and represent socio-cultural demands in order to give them any opportunity to guide marine spatial planning on a local scale. At the other hand, urbanism must design an overarching vision, including spatial regulations that guide offshore development toward a social, environmental and economic sustainable path.
Lucas Meneses Di Gioia Ferreira
A New way through
The truth of worlds
I have been here long before you
I have witnessed
more than you can remember.
When you brought to me truths,
I only saw lies.
As you fool yourself believing it will be you
to save us all,
all I see is that it is you who needs saving.
As you grasp ever tighter, attempting to keep to your truths, the only one to know is mine.
I will continue here,
When all that is you ceases to exist,
because I have learned to be true to myself.
And as you continue to deny the only truth there is to know:
There is no me and you, but only us.
The Vistula River is said to be the Queen of Polish rivers. With the spring in the south of the country and the estuary in the north, the river and its vast catchment area cover more than half of the Polish territory. The river owes its title also to the role it played in shaping the identity of the Polish nation, especially in the time when the country disappeared from the map of Europe. That cultural embeddedness is still present today as we commonly say we were “born by the Vistula River”.
Much as the river is praised for its meaning and natural character, it is a victim of anthropocentrism. The edges of the Vistula River have been transitioned throughout the years to meet the requirements of the growing population, to serve people and their interests.
Sections of the river were regulated and the edges narrowed to allow inland navigation. Consequently, there was a decrease in the riverine edges natural capacity to accommodate flooding and to process pollution coming from the agricultural land, urban areas and industries spread over a large drainage area of the river. Continuation of the current anthropocentric approach along with more severe climate crisis may lead to further degeneration of socio-ecological systems along the Vistula River.
The question is then: What can be done to reverse that situation?
It means we need to rethink the way we treat the riverine landscapes and redefine the edge. There is a necessity to imbue the edge with meaning, to interpret it as a mediation of land and water, a place where those two systems merge and thus a place that can reduce the pressures the systems put on each other.
It is therefore essential to address the regeneration of socio-ecological systems along the riverine edges as a matter of urgency and to see a potentiality in the regenerative landscape, and ecosystem services embedded in it.
The land is y(our) land?
It is beautiful to admire this land of Indonesia with a wealth of diversities of nature and culture. Since history, local people together, with their culture, understand the best on how to fulfill their life sufficiency in sustainable ways and be resilient to potential risk embedded within their area by acknowledging the concept of living in parallel with nature. This was represented through their communal way of living with some traditions that passed over generations and manifested through the tangible form of architecture, statues, and spaces they manage.
However, in today’s world, to develop means to increase economic growth. Indonesia now projects tourism to raise economic growth and Toba Lake is one of the areas that become the main priority. Then, potential vigorous external pressures of new tourism development require some alignments between the plan with culture and nature. Thus, these may generate challenges in the process of culture-nature considerations.
Hence, leading to the question is on creating symbiosis systems between the new and the existing, between external drivers and locals. Then, constructing the balance of the extensive economic demand with the respect of local treasures and prosperity.
Arable land is changing, though Vietnamese already bear in mind from the past that nature is originally a resource to use. But now it’s being transformed or rewilded to allow water flow and pollution mitigation. Hydrological awareness is embedded in the care about groundwater recharge, wastewater retreatment, and rainfall capture. Localized economy is strengthened, and the new opportunities and techniques leave the land to rest and the soil to regenerate for some time. Locals are not in a hurry to farm as before. People know where they can go for a shifting experience and let the land and soil be ready for the next flooding. Infrastructure for expansion is seeded and weaved with agroforestry and mangroves, and new types of settlement as well，regarding the continuity and wise use of ecosystem services- for the capture of nutrients and sediment with local materials.
Departments collaborate with locals for environmental decision-making and learn from each other, while Vietnam and China are clear of the interests and responsibilities they shared in one basin. The prosperity from diverse production, the shifting habitus, and cultivation from migration might contribute to the essence of private companies like seed and hydraulic as the new local activated welfare places. Local people finally realize that they can express and protest for themselves and their land there.
Though the development might not be universal, the new forms of landscape and humanity change with the weather, trying to break this unseasonal expansion and exploitation cycle.