Completed Living Labs

PhD project - Governance and finance of multi-functional flood defenses (Julieta Matos Castaño)

Project: Supporting the ex-ante evaluation of multifunctional flood defenses.

PhD Researcher: Julieta Matos_Castaño, MSc –

Supervisors: Dr. Timo Hartmann, Prof. Geert Dewulf

Julieta is a PhD researcher working on the project “Supporting the Ex-ante Evaluation of Multifunctional Flood Defenses”. This project is sponsored by the STW program “integral and sustainable design of multifunctional flood defenses”.  In this program, the universities of Delft, Wageningen and Twente develop knowledge for the design and implementation of multifunctional projects with a flood protection component.

Multifunctional flood defenses:

Multifunctional projects combine multiple purposes in the same area in the attempt to maximize the synergy from the integration of resources, knowledge, and expertise of multiple stakeholders. Not surprisingly, multi-purpose projects are often located near the water where a wide variety of functions (environmental, landscape, economic, social, cultural) may be translated into services.


Example of multifunctional flood defense from

Defining and selecting a combination of functions that help to achieve the complementarity of multi-functionality requires the coordination of several stakeholders that often belong to different disciplines, and administrative levels. These stakeholders have often conflicting interests (financial, social, environmental, heritage, local regional, etc.). To support the achievement of the intended synergy of multi-functionality, we consider it important to provide methods that help to deal with differences in objectives and interests.

In this PhD research, Julieta Matos_Castaño, from the University of Twente (the Netherlands) attempts to identify approaches that support the process of exploration and selection of functions in multi-purpose projects. To this end, the research team is involved in real life cases in which various stakeholders work together to combine multiple purposes in the same area.

Involvement in real cases

In 2012, the research team reconstructed the decision making process of the Dakpark project in the delta city of Rotterdam. This project involved the integration of a 8ha park and a building in flood prone area in the harbor of Rotterdam. We studied retrospectively the decision making process of this case, getting insights into the reasons behind changes in the project design and conditions.

Throughout 2013, we studied the appraisal process of the Grevelingen Volkerak Zoommeer project located in the South West Delta in the Netherlands. In this project, more than 20 stakeholders work together to find strategies to simultaneously solve problems related to water quality and flood protection, and stimulate the regional economy. To this end, stakeholders explore combinations of functions that could benefit from an improvement in water quality and flood protection. Our research results show the importance of bringing values and objectives early in the planning process to define combinations of functions that help to achieve the intended synergy of multi-purpose projects.

Use cognitive maps as innovative data collection method

In autumn of 2014 the research team plans to study the Grebbedijk Deltadijk case. In this project, there are plans to reinforce a 5.5 km long flood protection structure. To finance the reinforcement, stimulate the regional economy and improve spatial quality, provincial and local governments are working together to define potential combinations of functions. As part of our research we will organize a workshop in December 2014. In this workshop we will stimulate stakeholders to look together for potential combinations of functions.

Serious gaming

Together with the PhD researcher Juan Pablo Aguilar López (department of Water Engineering and Management of the Unviersity of Twente) Julieta developed a serious game as a communication tool for multi-functional flood defenses. Our main goal was to depict people’s perceptions and preferences for the integration of functions in a flood defense. This game was presented in events like the or the


Playing the multifunctional flood defense game…


Leading to interesting designs!

In her last year, Julieta would like to develop a serious game based on her research insights. Looking forward to the next stages!