Where space is created societal values are generated: The case of the Sand Engine

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A large sandy peninsula and beach were realized in Dutch coastal waters in the Sand Engine pilot project. In addition to the benefits for flood protection, the Sand Engine generates multiple other societal values. It provides a new type of landscape of uncommon size along the Holland coast where nature, culture, history and the future come together. In this article we discuss the added value of the Sand Engine for culture and the arts, its iconic value and the development of knowledge in diverse sciences, most notably morphology, archaeology and palaeontology, as well as its educational function. We explore how different governance modes can influence how the added value is generated and what type of societal value arises. We distinguish four different governance modes related to the level of control exercised by authorities: directive, co-creational, facilitatory and observational. Different modes can co-exist and may change over time. For the Sand Engine we find that the knowledge development was highly directed, archaeology and palaeontology were facilitated, while an observational mode was employed towards arts and culture. The study leads to the inference that when the physical and societal space is created, societal value-added initiatives emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-77
JournalInternational Journal of Water Governance
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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