Tutors: Diego Sepulveda, Luisa Calabrese and Marcin Dąbrowski
Key words: circular agriculture, livestock farming reduction, ecological system, landscape based agriculture, water management
Currently, the agricultural system of South Holland causes many externalities including subsidence, increased flood risks by poor water management, a loss of biodiversity, air pollution and economic problems due to the nitrogen tax. Given these problems, the following research question is chosen: can improving ecological conditions and liveability in South Holland be accomplished by creating a circular agricultural system where livestock farming is severely limited?
The goal of this project is to respect and work with the underlying landscape system to construct a new circular agricultural system which is beneficial for the ecological system and liveability in South Holland. This will be achieved by reducing livestock farming by over 90%, which will still leave us with the right amount of animals needed for sufficient manure production. On the remaining land, new types of protein rich, eco-friendly agriculture will be introduced. Furthermore ground remediation will be done, in peat areas the ground water level is increased to battle subsidence and double dikes will be realised to limit the long-term flood risk in a natural way while producing seaweed at the same time. To create a stronger economy, knowledge on the new forms of farming and producing meat replacements will be created in
the newly introduced meat replacement hub and then exported. Lastly an ecological network will be created to strengthen the ecosystem and increase biodiversity. By these interventions a stronger ecosystem is created that will be integrated into people’s lives. To make these interventions happen, scientists need to work together with policy makers and designers to discuss the details of the projects. They will initiate the processes, and then give nature time to heal and achieve the sought after ecological results. Overall, the following recommendations are given to the province of South Holland:
1. Initiate natural changes that will lead to a stronger ecology and underlying landscape
2. Give strong incentives for entrepreneurs to be circular: facilitate, stimulate but also regulate
3. Take externalities into account when making economic calculations, then a sustainable way is likely to also be the most profitable way
This project is interesting for policy makers and spatial planners at a national, regional and city scale level who are looking for spatial solutions to problems with a linear agricultural system as well as policy makers wanting to improve the subsoil conditions. The project is specifically interesting when one is interested in South Holland, but can also be applied broader to the Netherlands and countries with similar climates, soil types and ecosystems.