Planning amid uncertainty: Adaptiveness for spatial interventions in delta areas

Mark Zandvoort

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Planning for delta areas happens amid uncertainty, which may influence the location, type and form of interventions such as infrastructure, spatial strategies and design standards. Interventions, however, may fix the spatial configuration for decades, for which insight in the appropriate use of adaptiveness to account for uncertainty is essential. This thesis explores uncertainty and adaptiveness in spatial planning and studies their expression and empirical manifestation in planning approaches, planning tools and planning processes. Uncertainty’s characteristics are used to distill information about the (in)adequacy of specific interventions and are related to three domains of adaptiveness: adaptive management, adaptive capacity and adaptive planning. The thesis shows that while some uncertainties demand interventions aimed at ensuring the effectiveness of planning while anticipating future change, others require a focus on the planning process by the co-construction of knowledge, deliberating about values and increasing the adaptive capacity of actors and institutions.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • van den Brink, A., Promotor
  • Vlist, M.J., Co-promotor
  • Klijn, F., Co-promotor, External person
Award date8 Dec 2017
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789463437158
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2017


  • physical planning
  • deltas
  • climatic change
  • risk management
  • uncertainty


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  • Adaptive water management in delta areas

    Zandvoort, M., van den Brink, A. & van der Vlist, M.


    Project: PhD

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