The mission-oriented turn as proposed in the 2009 Lund declaration advocates ‘research addressing the Grand Challenges of our time, moving beyond the current rigid thematic approaches’. This contribution exposes how such research is taken up in the Dutch ‘Integral Planning and Design in the southwest Delta’ (IPDD) project2, specifying the challenges of spatial design in the context of societal complexity and sustainability transitions. To redefine societies’ challenges is to redefine the task of spatial design, as well as its relations with governance and data management. One of the key questions raised in the project is therefore the following: In what way do the composed nature and complex dynamics of the delta areas on the one hand and the anticipation to future transformations and transitions on the other hand put new demands on the form, function and role of spatial design in reaching synchronized/integrated/interconnected delta area development?

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Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Pel, B., Edelenbos, J., & van Buuren, A. (2012). The design of design: A systems approach to Integral Planning and spatial Design in the Dutch Southwest Delta. Retrieved from