In many Western countries, flood policy is transitioning from a focus on technical flood defence measures towardsmore holistic and integrated flood risk management approaches. In this article, we explore the boundaryspanning role of landscape architects in integrated flood risk management projects. The central research questionis: what are the boundary spanning activities and roles that landscape architects perform and which factorsare conditional to these activities? We have studied the boundary spanning behaviour of landscape architects inthe Dutch ‘Room for the River’ programme. This programme had a dual objective of improving simultaneouslythe water safety and the spatial quality of the Dutch riverine areas. We conducted a comparative, in-depth casestudy of three ‘Room for the River’ projects, and investigated conditions that stimulated or frustrated the work oflandscape architects in establishing safe solutions with spatial quality. We found that the landscape architectsinvolved in these projects played various boundary spanning roles. We conclude that, depending on the conditionalfactors, their roles ranged from more traditional content-oriented domain expert/scout to the moreinnovative organisational expert/task coordinator. For successful boundary spanning, although cognitive capacities(e.g., knowledge about landscape) are important, landscape architects also need to have the appropriatesocial capacities (e.g., social-emotional competences, networking skills). That is, the work of the landscapearchitects essentially includes drawing lines that sketch the contours of future landscapes; but to do so, they mustalso cross the lines between the various actors, organizations, and disciplines involved.
- Integrated flood risk management
- Landscape architects
- Boundary spanning
- Cognitive capacities
- Social capacities
- Dutch river management
van den Brink, M., Edelenbos, J., van den Brink, A., Verweij, S., van Etteger, R., & Busscher, T. (2019). To draw or to cross the line? The landscape architect as boundary spanner in Dutch river management. Landscape and Urban Planning, 186, 13-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2019.02.018