The ‘Integrated Area Plan’: designing and assessing integrated solutions in area processes

This project is exploring how professionals working in practice can arrive at well-considered ‘Integrated Area Plans’. An Integrated Area Plan focuses on multiple and integrated solutions for various transition agendas above and below the ground. By means of action research in sessions, reflexive monitoring and interviews, insights are being acquired into how assessments are made in practice.

The Integrated Area Plan: a new instrument for the integrated design of public space above and below the ground

Many transition agendas will converge in the urban and built environment in the years ahead. Take, for example, the replacement of the drinking-water infrastructure, the upgrading of the electricity grid, the removal of gas mains, the construction of heating networks and/or the positioning of climate-adaptive solutions such as water stores or trees. These agendas lay claims on limited space in the subsurface and can also cause a great deal of inconvenience (for example from digging) if the work is not done at the same time. In Amsterdam, utilities and the city authority are agreed on the shared objective – by means of ‘integrated collaboration’ in different phases of the planning process – of generating as much social value as possible in the areas concerned.

The ‘Integrated Area Plan’ is an instrument that was developed by, among others, the City of Amsterdam, Waternet, Liander, Vattenfall, KWR, Delft University of Technology and the University of Amsterdam (see knowledge action water; Linkage Opportunities) to design integrated plans at the tactical level. The BTO/WICE studies Multiple Value Creation and Implementation of Multiple Value Creation have, in recent years, been looking at which tools are available to establish design processes and implement integrated solutions and multiple values. Lessons were also learned about the implementation of these tools.

Learning about design processes and assessments in the Integrated Area Plan

This project will generate lessons in two cases about the formulation of design processes to achieve synergy in solutions, implement existing tools and zoom in specifically on assessing the different interests involved in these processes. Two cases – Bloemenbuurt and Havenstad – will use ‘reflection-in-action’ (Reflexive Monitoring) to learn in practice about the challenges professionals face when preparing, assessing and justifying decisions about integrated designs. Interviews will be conducted to reflect on the assessments made by professionals in the Amsterdam Red Light District and Buiksloterham cases. The insights generated by the cases will be reviewed in the light of the literature and discussed in reflection sessions with professionals working in practice.

Knowledge in action: direct impact in practice

This research will lead to the direct application of knowledge in practice. During the process, knowledge will be contributed to the area processes, tools will be developed (or developed further), and the experiences and lessons learned from the cases will be described in two stories from practice.

The final result will be a practical guide (‘Assessment Module’) that will allow professionals working above and below the ground – including technical managers, architects, locality managers, project leaders and strategists – to recognise relevant considerations, make them explicit and prepare them for decision-makers. The guide will support local tailored solutions in area processes and help to shape carefully considered integrated area plans.