Our Domains

We work on a wide range of projects related to urban development and landscape design, such as integrated regional development and planning strategies, urban and landscape design projects, and research by design projects. Below you can find a description on our expertise and the type of projects we work on.

Connecting design with

Flood risk

Develop flood risk protection and consequence reduction strategies for regions and buildings.

Mobility and transport

Spatial strategies for (urban) mobility and logistic networks, including harbour and industrial zone development.

Climate adaptation

Preparing cities and landcapes for climate change (rainfall, heat, drought, subsidence and floods).

Nature-based solutions

Green-blue networks and design principles address climate adaptation and flood risk while improving health, urban quality and ecology.

Ecology and green cities

Strategies that improve ecological networks and increase biodiversity of cities and landscapes.

Circular economy

Spatial strategies that facilitate a more circular economy and product life cycles.


Strategies for energy transition, CO2 and NOx reduction, modal shift in transport, green and healty cities and low energy developments.

Cultural Heritage

Strategies for preserving and strengthening historic values of cities, landscapes and UNESCO herritage sites, in balance with necessary transitions.

What we work on

Regional strategies & research by design

In our regional strategies we combine multiple themes such as urban development, mobility, nature development, (circular) economy, recreation, cultural heritage, and climate adaptation into integrated and inspiring visions. Our regional strategies are long term perspectives (for 2030/40/50 or even 2100) that form a base for integral and sustainable development roadmaps.

Defacto is one of the international leaders in research by design projects and methodology development. In our research by design projects, we use data from other disciplines and expertise such as flood risk management, climate challenges, and mobility or material streams as a base for regional strategies and urban or landscape designs. System analyses and understanding is an essential part of these projects in which multidisciplinary cooperation and stakeholder involvement are key factors of our approach.

We always combine research and regional strategies with urban and landscape design, this means that we demonstrate local opportunities by including design show cases.

Urban – and landscape designs & inspiring visions

On the local scale we work on many urban and landscape design projects; we develop designs or design principles and guidelines, and inspiring visions for urban and rural areas. Our projects include many recreational or nature parks and urban neighborhoods or public places, including projects such as urban upgrading, harbors and industrial terrains, renovations of cultural heritage sites or for instance the spatial embedment of river bypasses and dike elevations.

Mapping & publications and exhibitions

As part of our projects, we make maps and illustrations that in an inspiring way communicate and demonstrate the strategies and designs we develop. Our maps and visualizations however are more than a tool to illustrate the results; they are an essential part of our research and analyses process. By drawing challenges and potential interventions on a map they get spatialized. This concretization is essential to explore where challenges and opportunities overlap and to check assumptions among stakeholders and experts.

The results of our studies are included in project reports that include the process, analyses and vision or designs developed during the project. For some projects we prepare exhibitions, for instance for the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR).

Stakeholder involvement

Stakeholder and expert workshops are an essential element of our participatory design approach. In stakeholder workshops (for instance with local communities or government stakeholders) we engage stakeholders and gain knowledge of the local contexts and its challenges and opportunities. Expert workshops are an important tool for integral design projects. The workshops support joint fact finding, shared problem statements and enable creative co-creation in multi-disciplinary teams.

Presentations & lectures

Each of our projects contributes to further developing our integrated design and planning approach, resulting in Defacto being a renowned player regarding contemporary challenges in urban development. We are sought-after speakers for high-end presentations, seminars, debates, and publications within the domain of urbanism, landscape design and climate adaptation.

Our clients

Defacto works on projects for various national and international governmental bodies as well as NGO’s. Among our clients are:

International governments such as the Government of Bangladesh and Vietnam, and the cities of Porto Alegre in Brazil, Kigali in Rwanda, Khulna in Bangladesh and Guangzhou in China, and international organizations such as the ‘Bay Area Coastal Protection Alliance’ in the USA, the French ‘Cities on the move Institute’.

Foundations and NGO’s such as the World Bank, UN habitat, the International Architecture Biënnale, Innovatienetwerk, World Art Delft, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Ark natuurontwikkeling, Vereniging Deltametropool, Staatsbosbeheer, Stadsherstel Amsterdam and the international Red Cross

National governments such as: the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Dutch Delta Programme, Department of Waterways and Public Works (Rijkswaterstaat), The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

Regional and municipal governments, such as the provinces of Gelderland, Brabant, Zuid-Holland, Noord-Holland, the Metropoolregio Amsterdam (MRA) and Utrecht (U16), several water boards and municipalities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Dordrecht, Rijnland, Rivierenland, Hollandsche Delta, Hollands Noordekwarties, Werkendam, Gorinchem, Zwolle, Molenwaard and Ooijen-Wanssum.

(Research) Institutes and consultancy firms, such as Deltares, Platform 31, Strelka Institute, the Amsterdam University and Delft University of Technology, Royal Haskoning-DHV, HKV lijn in water, Wing, Twijnstra Gudde.

Housing corporations and developers, such as: Woonbron Rotterdam, Dura Vermeer, BEMOG, Slokker Vastgoed, Bureau Meerstad and Rescura.

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