Using geodesign to support land use management of fen meadow areas in Friesland.

Authors and Affiliations: 

Ron Janssen Spatial Information Laboratory , Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

Corresponding author: 
Ron Janssen

The involvement of stakeholders in spatial planning has changed over the years: from information to participation to collaboration. Geodesign tools can be used to support collaborative processes. Typical tools combine methods, such as simulation models, spatial multi-criteria analysis, visualization, and optimization. User-friendly interfaces allow multiple users to provide input and generate real-time output to support negotiated spatial decisions (Eikelboom and Janssen 2015a 2015b).
The Province and Water board of Friesland have decided to develop a long term adaptation strategy for the peat meadow area of the province. The region is currently mainly used for commercial dairy farming but is also important for its high natural, cultural and historical values. Important problems in the region are soil subsidence, deterioration of landscape values, inefficient water management and the future of dairy farming (Janssen et al, 2014). The Province and Water board have described three scenarios:
1. Business as usual: low impact technical measures only, no changes in land use;
2. Parallel tracks: create buffers to separate conflicting functions
3. New Horizons: introduction of new crops, large changes in land use and water management.
A planning process with all stakeholders has been started to use these scenarios to develop three spatial adaptation strategies. As part of this process a series of stakeholder workshops were conducted that had the following objectives:
• Exchange of information
• Validate information
• Design spatial adaptation scenarios.
The workshops were exploratory and did not involve a choice for one of the scenarios. Each workshop involved around eight stakeholders representing the various interests in the plan. An interactive mapping device (the Touch Table) was used as a common interface (Figure 1). The use of the Touch Table made it possible for participants to have direct access to tools and information and provided a common platform for discussion. The geodesign application included an evaluation tool and a design tool. The evaluation tool included simplified models linking land use and water level to agricultural productivity, soil subsidence and natural values (Brouns et al 2014). Both tools were dynamic and provided immediate feedback on the effects of any change in land use or water management made by the participants (Figure 2). These tools were used to design spatial strategies by allocating water management measures, such as changes in water levels and drainage systems, and land use types specific to each strategy. Feedback from the participants indicated that they found exchange of information very important. The opportunities to switch between maps and for learning by doing were considered useful. Participants reported an increased understanding of the underlying mechanisms, a raised awareness of the perspectives of other participants as well as a a feeling of joint ownership of the plans produced.


Brouns, K., Eikelboom, T., Jansen, P.C., Janssen, R., Kwakernaak, C., Van den Akker, J.J.H., and Verhoeven, J.T.A. (2015). Spatial analysis of soil subsidence in peat meadow areas in Friesland in relation to land and water management, climate change and adaptation. Environmental Management, 55, 360-372

Eikelboom, T. and Janssen, R. (2015). Comparison of geodesign tools to communicate stakeholder values. Group Decision and Negotiation, 24, (6) 1065-1087

Eikelboom, T. and Janssen, R. (2015). Collaborative use of geodesign tools to support decision making on adaptation to climate change. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (Published on line: DOI 10.1007/s11027-015-9633-4)

Janssen, R., Eikelboom, T, Brouns, K., and Verhoeven, J. T. A. (2014). Using geodesign to develop a spatial adaption strategy for Friesland. In: Lee, D., Dias, E., and Scholten, H. J. (eds) Geodesign by integrating design and geospatial sciences. Springer, New York: Springer. pp. 103-116.

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