Climate change in recent decades has increasingly impacted on natural and human systems and caused extreme weather on cities. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report in 2014 posed the importance of dealing with the risk of water in cities. Hence, to adapt to such uncertainty, structural transformation in the urban water management and change of attitude toward water system are of significance. In other words, “radical change is needed in water management” (Pahl-Wostl, 2007). To address such an issue, a concept of transition is widely used in various academic fields. However, there is limited discussion on how socio-technical transition changes urban space and how the transition is influenced by urban space. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the mechanism of urban space transformation due to climate change by testing the theories of the transition of urban water management and its interaction with urban space. two concrete water management projects in Agniesebuurt neighbourhood; Water Square Benthemplein and ZOHO Raingarden are used as study cases. Based on the interaction between transition and spatial dimension posed by Levin-Keitel, et al (2018), this research adds time axis and a concept of spatial solution to it for better understanding of the mechanism of urban space transformation due to climate change. To analyse urban water management transition, the timeframe is defined as period based on the Rotterdam policy changes, institutional changes, technological development of multifunctionality, and behaviour of local people to the climate change adaptation projects. In each period, interactions between spatial dimensions and transition are found through interviews policy, reports and project documents analysis. Spatial dimensions are organized as location, physical environment, water system, actors, and institution. In particular, the transition of urban water management is spatially conditioned by spatial opportunity because a water retention facility physically requires space. Actor embedded in the area and local norms and values is also important for implementation because the functionality of reconfigured space needs to comply with their social norms. As a result of the transition in each period, space is reconfigured by redistributing functionality, reshaping physically, reframing meaning, and innovating spatial typology. Because of climate change, water retention facility is the main function but space is integrated with other public functionalities preferred by local actors. Reconfigured space is also physically transformed by the transition. Shapes and materials of space reflect an influence from an institutional framework in large scale. The transition also reconfigures space’s meaning by building a vision of the area where the transition takes place or by reframing the collective meaning of space. This paper indicates that differences in spatial solution are mainly caused by space’s multifunctionality reconfigured by the local transition. The variety of such functionality in reconfigured space is dependent on the local actors and their norm and water facility that is conditioned by a large-scale institutional framework. Therefore, reconfigured spatial solutions in Rotterdam has multiple functionalities that are constructed socially as well as work for more space for water. This poses some possibility that specific physical and social dimension of space would determine what spatial solution is used, but it would require an intensive dialogue between local actors and local space to discover their norm as well as a spatial opportunity.

Transition, Spatial dimension, Urban water management, Climate change adaptation, Integration
Fransen, J. (Jan)
UMD 15
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Obase, T. (Takashi). (2019, September). Spatial Solution for Climate change. Retrieved from