Adaptive Stratagies Title Image
Adaptive strategies
Designing Scenarios for Port Cities

[AR0110] Adaptive strategies. Designing Scenarios for Port Cities

History matters, especially when it comes to designing the future of port cities. Looking at the past, at the evolutionary history of spaces and institutions, mapping the permanencies as well as the porosities within the coastal territories is a fundamental step to understanding space to better transform it.

Course Description and Goal

This course supports the reflective practice underlying the design process. It trains students to undertake multi-disciplinary research to identify and address the challenges and prospects that port cities face for developing adaptive strategies for creating and sustaining just and livable communities. Students will learn how to synthesize relevant information about the past and present it into knowledge that can inform the exercise of developing adaptive strategies to steer future development. The focus is placed on experimenting with innovative methods for spatializing and visualizing historically informed analyses, thus uncovering subversive and alternative knowledge structures.

The course has run in collaboration with University IUAV of Venice (G79089 – An Introduction to Maritime Spatial Planning) and Leiden Institute Morocco (NIMAR). A research excursion has been organized to Morocco (bringing students to the port cities of Rabat, Salè, Tangier and Casablanca) as a unique opportunity to discuss the territorial specificities and verify transnational transferability of approaches and design practices. The course hascombined the Maritime Spatial Planning approach with Scenario
Thinking framework to better Understand, (Re)conceptualize and (Re)design the sea/land ecosystem.

The course has investigated adaptive strategies through the lens of the cities of Rabat, Salè, Casablanca, Tangier, Rotterdam and Venice. Students have been encouraged to test formats for identifying challenges and urgencies that can best lead to the identification of adaptive strategies in which short and long term interventions at various scales intertwine to achieve desired impact.

● Understanding how to redesign the interaction between land and water, through an ecosystem based-
approach (EBA).
● Reconceptualizing the role of water in the creation of more sustainable ecosystems, while paying
tribute to its global and interconnected heritage;
● Redesigning by questioning space, society, culture, economy and energy while building on short and
long-term scenarios for sea/land relationship with the aim of informing urban and architectural design;

The course has applied mixed-methods relevant to understand, (re)conceptualize and (re)design coastal cities, port cities and water cities in general. Such methods include, but are not limited to: mental mapping, observation, close reading, exploration of long-term developments and flows as well as socio-cultural and geopolitical impacts. This could contribute to a better understanding of the terms and practices for sustainable sea/landscapes.

This syllabus has been prepared by John Hanna, Paolo De Martino and Carola Hein - TU Delft 2023, except where otherwise noted this work is licensed under CC BY

Photo Competition Adaptive Strategies March 2023

A selection of student's photos, taken during their research excursion to Morocco. During the excursion students were brought to the port cities of Rabat, Salè, Tangier and Casablanca.

Group 1: Layered line. A palimpsest approach to the coast of Casablanca

Group 1 Poster

Babette van Tilborg Marianna Angelini Nessie Hu Sanjana John Mila Kovačev

The project questioned the need to identify alternative ways to understand the complexities of the coastal territory of Casablanca. The group has played with the maps challenging the current way of reading and narrating them. Students relied on the section as a useful tool for understanding the verticality that crosses the coastline of Casablanca. 

Group 2: Altering marinas

Group 2 Poster

Robin Ringel Max Bernaerts Erkan Mestan Nino Vogels Gianluca Angeli

The project has proposed a future image of Morocco, of its marinas, and water, which is built and enriched by images coming from the past. The future scenario is here built on history, on the existing paths and it is anchored in people's lives. It promotes local commerce by re-proposing the theme of the market as an emblematic example of public space. The project aims to reuse existing buildings and spaces by reinterpreting them and reinventing their relationship with the sea, which was an element for a long time denied to its inhabitants.


Group 3 Poster

Marie Benninghoven, Augusta Fiseryte, Aimilia Nteka, Eirini Sideri, Estelle Veron, Berenice Demiddeleer

The initial objective is to propose and promote new ways of living with water. It does so through a very efficient and convincing spatial and communication strategy. The project identifies strategic points at the intersection of land and water, port and city. These become meeting areas, public spaces where people gather and get informed about the port and the sea activities. Through these places people get closer to the sea. At the same time the project works on the barrier and fracture between the port and the city by proposing an axis at different heights which often attempts to improve the relationship between city and water also if mainly in a visual way.


Group 4 Poster

Gabriel Bani, Jacky Lai, Meriam Sehimi, Sander Geluk, Younes Chergui

The project presents a good analysis that has its roots in the desire to communicate the domestic and private dimension of the people of Rabat and Salè. This is a project that relates to people and to the desire to build new forms of public space linked to water and its uses. The strategy also looks at the history of the city which today has lost its relationship with water.

Group 5: Aqua Venezia

Group 5 Poster

Heime’t Hart, Kim Schoenmakers, Kjestyn Yee

This project is an interesting and provocative speculation about the future of Venice. The group has seriously embraced the concept of scenario imagining the changes of Venice in the distant future in a condition in which the city will be called to deal with flooding. What will be the future of the city? What actions should be taken? Will it be necessary to act, protect the city from water, or rather let the water flood Venice imagining completely different and unconventional scenarios? The project convincingly answers these questions by also proposing a brochure for visitors who in the future, when nature has taken its course, will see the canals become green corridors and public spaces and buffer zones.

Group 6: Venice Rising

Group 6 Poster

Marc Kremer, Carlotta Luciano, Benthe Thielen

The project presents a fascinating speculation on the city of Venice. It also connects very well to the work of Maritime Spatial Planning by presenting a good analysis of the current uses of the sea and of the lagoon of Venice, from tourism, to industry and energy and to the theme of preservation of cultural and landscape heritage. The project therefore has the objective of preserving the marine ecosystem, saving and adapting some elements of the architectural heritage, also imagining new economies linked to the sea. It does so through two scenarios (medium and long term) in which the lagoon and part of the city of Venice will be completely flooded in favor of new marine and underwater landscapes.

Group 7: THE SALTY GARDEN. Aquaculture and innovation hub in Waalhaven, Rotterdam

Group 7 Poster

Sivan Maruf, Savvina Megalovasili, Iris van Leeuwen, Trijntje Verschuuren, Fenne Wijminga