Rivers + Cities

Publication River Cities, City Rivers

H+N+S is proud to have contributed to a brand new book on landscape architecture and water: River Cities, City Rivers. Pieter Schengenga wrote "New landscapes for Dutch river cities" as an engaging essay on the landscapes of the Room for the River project, showcasing and discussing several projects by H+N+S and other Dutch firms. The book is the latest volume in a series on The History of Landscape Architecture published by Dumbarton Oaks.

Publication April 26, 2018, Amersfoort

Book premise

Building on emerging interests in the resilience of cities, this volume considers river cities and city rivers to explore how histories have shaped the present and how they might inform our visions of the future. Cities have been built alongside rivers throughout history. These rivers can shape a city’s success or cause its destruction. 

At the same time, city-building reshapes rivers and their landscapes. Cities have harnessed, modified, and engineered rivers, altering ecologies and creating new landscapes in the process of urbanization. Rivers are as informed by the development of cities as urban landscapes as the cities are shaped by their relationship to the river. 

In the river city, the city river is a dynamic contributor to the urban landscape with its flow of urban economies, geographies, and cultures. Yet we have rarely given these urban landscapes their due. This collection of essays asks how river landscapes are shaped by and shape urban settlements, and in turn how their histories inform ideas of urban resilience and adaptability. 

New Landscapes for Dutch River Cities

Room for the River as a project is about improving safety (prevent flooding) and environmental quality. Ecological quality, landscape use possibilities, and economic significance will benefit not only rural areas but also a number of cities along the rivers. 

Landscape architects in the Netherlands, among them H+N+S Landscape Architects, are involved from the initial ideas through to completion of designing new river landscapes. After more than a decade of work, we are nearing completion, and it is time for us to look back and take stock.

This essay describes the concept of Room for the River and the specific role of Dutch landscape architects in the planning process. For example, Bosch Slabbers worked on dike realignments around Zutphen, and Robbert de Koning designed new floodplains in the Noordwaard (Biesbosch). Big H+N+S projects for Room for the River are in the cities of Kampen and Nijmegen.


Thaisa Way (ed.) (2018) River Cities, City Rivers. Volume 39 of Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium on the History of Landscape Architecture Series. 

Get your copy here