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prof. ir. D.H. Frieling, September 27th 2000


Deltametropolis as the name of the metropolitan area in the western part of the Netherlands has been introduced by Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht in 1998 in a document Declaration Deltametropolis.

The area referred to as Deltametropolis measures some 60x80 km and has around 5 mln inhabitants ans 2,2 mln jobs, thus containing more than 1000 inhabitants per sq. km. Traditionally, the Dutch have considered this to be a high density country. In the declaration the deltametropolis is seen as a low density city.

Delta refers to the delta of Rhine ans Meuse as a constant reminder of the character of the natural environment and the typical conditions this creates for any form of human land use.

Metropolis refers to the ambition to be part and parcel of the European network of world cities. To this end the present rather loose collection of towns and cities has to be transformed into a tightly knit urban system to improve synergy by improved interconnectedness and interaction.

The initiative has been triggered by the coming into being of the European Union. The initiators of Deltametropolis consider this as a threat as well as an opportunity. They feel that the economies of scale that generate the dynamic of private companies cannot be neglected by public bodies like city governments who are responsible for territorial conditions and have to facilitate the right spaces to settle and the right transport systems for interaction.

The initiative of 1998 has grown into the Deltametropolis Assosiation, that has presently some thirty members; cities, chambers of commerce, waterboards, housing corporations, business associations, a transport company, while several others, for instance the farmers association have applied for membership.

The Deltametropolis Association aims to be an interchange of ideas and innovating concepts to improve synergy in the metropolitan system. As it was, ther had been no platform for any serious kind of discussion on this scale, with for any serious kind of discussion on this scale, with members from public as well as private bodies.

Up till now, the Deltametropolis Association has been active in three subsystems of the metropolitan system as a whole: the water system, the transport system and the urban system.

For the water system a seed study has been made to conceive a few solutions fot the additional space that has to be found for water reserves - according to their territorial form called 'ring-model' and 'network-model'. Both models are now being tested on a local scale, taking what is called the Old Rhine between Utrecht and Leiden as an example.

For the transportsystem several studies have already been made. These have in common that they seek to improve the interaction of the road system and the rail system to facilitate what is called 'chain-mobility' or 'multi-modal trips' by traffic-engineers. In a low density metropolis like the Deltametropolis public transport by road - taxi, van and bus - shall have to grow considerably to be able to combine growth of mobility with efficiency in land use.

For the urban system there has been developed what is called a 'tool kit for urban transformation'. For a start, the tool kit focuses on dwelling areas, offering a method to analyse urban environments, a typology of neighbourhood designs and a way to cetegorize life styles and market demands. At present, the member cities are testing this tool kit in a first exercise to come to grips into the urban transformation, using these three variables.

As soon as the farmers association have become members a study will be started on the rural subsystem of the Deltametropolis. The scissor-like effects of landvalues going up and market prices going down drive the farmers away, while nobody has any clear concept about what this will mean for the conservation of open spaces within the metropolitan area that are a characteristic quality of this deltametropolis.

D.H. Frieling


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