Online Course: Adaptive Planning for Infrastructure and Water Management


Program Description

Learn skills and tools needed to analyze 'deep' uncertainties, to anticipate change and to design adaptation pathways for large-scale and long-term interventions in infrastructure and water management systems.

Recent events show the vulnerability of infrastructure to unexpected or difficult-to-predict events. Flood security is frequently threatened and returns on investment in infrastructure are vulnerable to shifts in climate change, to financial crises, to disruptive innovations or to trend-breaks.

A system-based approach

In support of this new and systematic approach to long-term planning, researchers from TU Delft and the Deltares Institute in the Netherlands, have developed tools with which to:

  • better identify and cope with 'deep uncertainties'
  • design 'adaptation pathways' to anticipate change
  • monitor the implementation of such pathways.

In this course, you will learn how to use these new tools and how they differ from conventional planning methods. The course uses examples from water and Delta management in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom where 'adaptation pathways' have already been used in policies for managing flood risk and improving freshwater availability.

Serious Game to improve decision-making

In this course, you will learn by doing. Using an electronic serious game - specially adapted for this course- you will gain experience in decision-making under uncertainty. In this game, you will experience the consequences of your approach to the long-term planning of a seaport city, dealing with stakeholders and uncertain futures. After this first game, you will learn the step-by-step approach to designing adaptation pathways. Subsequently, in the last weeks of the course, you will test and evaluate the success of your adaptation pathway for the seaport city while playing the same game. You will play the game by yourself but discussions with your peers will enable you to enhance and compare game results.

Is this course for you?

If you are involved in long-term planning, you will find many opportunities to apply these methods in a professional setting. They are most useful for engineers or professionals who have developed a systems-thinking approach to solving complex problems. We recommend this course to professionals with experience with long-term planning or policy-making for infrastructure development and lifecycle management. This course expects good levels of ability in conceptual thinking but does not call for the use of computational skills.

After taking this course, you will be able to:

  • articulate and defend choices in long-term planning or decision-making under uncertainty
  • use a structured method to develop scenarios for plausible but uncertain futures
  • identify and communicate different stakeholder perspectives on the implementation of an adaptation pathway
  • design an adaptation pathway and evaluate its performance in a serious game
  • make recommendations on how to deal with the strengths and weaknesses of adaptation pathways during their implementation
Last updated Mar 2019

About the School

Are you looking to make your career in science, design or engineering? Then join the community of online learners at TU Delft! A key part of our DNA involves developing innovative ways of learning tha ... Read More

Are you looking to make your career in science, design or engineering? Then join the community of online learners at TU Delft! A key part of our DNA involves developing innovative ways of learning that allow you to benefit from what we have to offer. Since 2013, TU Delft decided that online learning programs were the best way to share its knowledge with people around the world. Wherever you live, and whatever your goals and ambitions may be, our diverse portfolio of courses will suit your needs. Our course portfolio offers great value, and helps you to stay on top of your game, whether you are looking to change career, broaden your skillset, or acquire further academic qualifications. Read less
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