Adaptive Urban Transformation

Territorial governance, spatial strategy and urban landscape dynamics in the Pearl River Delta

This project concerns planning and management of urban deltas faced with increasing flood risk. The overall aim of the research is to develop an integrative and multiscale design and planning approach for adaptive urban transformation in fast urbanizing deltas. It uses the Pearl River Delta as a case study.

Photo: Guangyuan Xie, SCUT

This research provides a unique approach that integrates research in urban landscape systems, territorial governance and visualisation techniques that will help to achieve more integrated and resilient deltas. For the first time, established and regular urban transformation processes will be used as opportunities to adapt systems in urbanized deltas at relatively low costs. Furthermore, the research will identify institutional, cultural and financial innovations that are needed in territorial governance to steer the development of urban and rural areas towards more resilient futures.

The project will combine work in the China, the Netherlands and the UK: (1) to develop a portfolio of integrated adaptation measures based on an assessment of ecological capacity and life cycles of buildings, urban districts and regions; (2) identify potential in territorial governance structures for more integrated approaches and adaptation measures; and (3), develop and test innovative 3D visualisation techniques that facilitate participatory, multi-stakeholder planning approaches.


Funder:National Natural Science Foundation of China
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Programme:Sustainable Deltas
Overall budget:€ 1.000.000
Grant amount:€ 1.000.000
Contribution to TU Delft: € 350.000
Grant number: ALWSD.2016.013
Role TU Delft: Lead partner
Project duration:February 2018 - February 2022
TU Delft researchers:                Dr. Steffen Nijhuis
Dr. Daniele Canatella
Prof. Vincent Nadin
Xiong Liang
Dai Wei

Project partners

South China University of Technology, University of Sheffield


Dr Steffen Nijhuis