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Swarm planning

Welcome on the website On this site you will find information on the evolving theory on swarm planning. Swarm planning is a new phenomenon. It is derived from current spatial planning practice and adjusted on the basis of complexity theory.
In the current timeframe developments are uncertain, play over a longer term and problems are often seen as wicked. So far, spatial planning practice has difficulties incorporating these characteristics, because of the fact that these planning systems are used to solving tame and linear problems.
Swarm planning provideRob Roggemas a solution for incorporating wicked problems in spatial planning. It does not aim to define a blueprint for the future, but envisages a plan that is adjustable if, turbulent, circumstances require so. It aims at defining the strategic points in an area, based on a network analysis, where spatial processes originate. Once these processes have started they adjust the spatial lay-out of a region in a flexible and fluid way. Depending the circumstances the spatial lay-out changes its shape, alike a school of fish, a flock of birds or a swarm of bees. The advantage of this approach is that uncertainties are included in spatial developments instead of them ending up as unwelcome surprises. On top of this, the approach provides innovative designs, allowing new landscapes to emerge. They replace earlier design approaches, leading often to duplicates of the past or repetitive solutions.
On this site you will find several research papers, describing the emerging theory, some presentations on the issue and useful links.

Rob Roggema

Since 2005 Rob Roggema researches the concept of Swarm Planning. He has a long experience in governmental spatial planning processes and the inclusion of sustainability. This caused his fascination for the seemingly unchangeable planning system, leading to repetitive solutions, even if new problems arise. In conjuncture with several other researchers he developed the concept of swarm planning, which sees the spatial lay-out as changeable instead of fixed. The urgency for such a theory originates from the way we tackle climate change and our energy supply. These are issues that change highly over time and are therefore difficult to include in current spatial planning practice.
Rob has worked for several municipalities and regional governments and currently holds a position at both Wageningen University and Delft University of Technology. He was appointed as honorary fellow at the University of Melbourne, Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research, in 2010 for a period of six months. He has written several books and scientific papers on the issue, of which ‘Adaptation to climate change: a spatial challenge’ (Springer, and the award winning paper ‘Swarm planning: development of a new planning paradigm, which improves the capacity of regional spatial systems to adapt to climate change’ (World Sustainable Building conference, Melbourne, 2008) are worth mentioning.