Triptych: Regional cooperation

In a series of triptychs, De Zwarte Hond zooms in on current social issues through concrete projects and shows what drives us. Today, the first triptych is about regional cooperation, in the context of the provincial and water board elections.

On 15 March 2023, the provincial and water board elections were held, with a focus on our own region – the level of scale where a lot is currently happening, from drought to transport poverty, from flood risk management to housing shortages. De Zwarte Hond likes to work at this regional level because it is here that a lot can be achieved by working together. How we organize our daily lives is closely related to this scale and has an impact on how we can live our lives: new building regulations, sufficient fresh water supplies, accessible recreation and nature areas, a diverse and healthy job market nearby. We hope to make a positive contribution with a number of our recent strategic projects.

Part 1 of this triptych zooms in on the power of urbanization strategies that, by combining tasks, create sustainable added value for people and nature across municipal and provincial boundaries. Proximity is at the heart of the Groningen-Assen Urbanization Strategy project. It shows how the 20,000 homes to be built by 2030 as part of the Housing Deal will generate investment power for green and blue spaces, the working landscape and a higher quality of life. The Zwolle Urbanization Strategy was recently launched. The project shows how this delta region is working together to achieve multiple goals.

In part 2, we zoom in on the transition that the water boards are facing in order to better work together for a sustainable, safe and biodiverse living environment. Our Hydropower Panorama project, created by De Zwarte Hond for the Hollandse Delta Water Board, illustrates this visually. The project, which will be unveiled in May 2022, serves a dual purpose. It is an illustration of the essential tasks and possible solutions, and at the same time a tool to inspire the necessary transitions and integrated cooperation in the processes leading up to it.

Part 3 focuses on regional cooperation –including across national borders – in order to remain economically viable, whether this happens in a future shrinking area (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen) or is activated by a railway line. In a spatial-economic study for ‘Euregiorail’, we formulate how the rail corridor between Zwolle, Twente and Münster can contribute to a stronger cross-border region. If the line is better used as a link, it will act as an engine for cooperation. At the very least, this can create a better through route for (cross-border) travellers. But in more ambitious scenarios, the Euregiorail means a lot for the overall prosperity and the residential and business climate of the entire region. Our Zeeuws-Vlaanderen Panorama shows how a focus on making industry more sustainable leads to a more robust economy and a better quality of life in the border region of Zeeland.

Cooperation at regional level is necessary because of the major changes we are currently facing. Changes are necessary! Fortunately, working together at a regional level also makes a lot of sense. This is because many tasks take place at this intermediate level and all parties involved have a common interest not only in the challenges but also in the benefits to be achieved. It is a level of scale where challenges and solutions are visible and where we can really work together in shared processes. This involves designing a combination of content and process-oriented transitions that result in a supported, integral and robust future perspective.