We need to tell a new story about urbanizing delta regions. Historically, large-scale ‘iconic’ hydraulic works and modern industrial ports have been celebrated as showing the power of humans to control and subject nature. The emphasis on this part of cultural heritage tends to bury the remains of engineering and urban development of the previous periods and to erase the ebb and flow of natural processes in the earlier landscape. Instead of emphasizing resistance against nature and victories over nature, we need to embrace mitigation, adaptation, and uncertainty. Many urbanized delta regions, including the Dutch delta, have a rich history of such approaches. We can learn from that history, from the successes as well as from the failures. This chapter is a plea to embrace the dynamic and evolutionary character of delta regions and the cultures of adaptation which have been developed over many centuries. It means that another policy concerning cultural heritage should be stimulated in urbanizing deltas, fostering a heritage with an adaptive approach, not as a complete departure from present ways of doing things, but as a new stage in a centuries-long tradition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptive Strategies for Water Heritage
Subtitle of host publicationPast, Present and Future
EditorsCarola Hein
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-00268-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-00267-1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Formative power of deltas, Heritage of adaptation, Risk, Uncertainty, Vulnerability

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