Our work

Subsurface and spatial planning

The subsurface increasingly plays a role in spatial development and solutions in the field of water management, energy supply and climate change.The subsurface is becoming more and more a key aspect in integrated spatial planning processes. TNO has built up a broad portfolio within this field and advises governments and private companies on subjects ranging from policy making to project development.

The focus in the policy domain 'sustainable development of the subsurface' is changing from 'preserving and remediating' to 'utilising and developing'. This change also leads to a shift in roles of the parties involved in spatial planning processes and the development of new projects. Initiatives for innovative solutions in which the subsurface plays an important role arise more and more from within networks with different parties as initiators. As a consequence, the role of governmental organisations (both national, regional and local) is becoming less dominant. In sharing her knowledge and advising clients in this dynamic playing field, TNO prefers a system approach, which connects the natural and human system (see figure).

Social business case

Initiators, project managers and governments (including regional water authorities) aim for a combination of the most sustainable and viable solutions. In doing so they seek to gain public acceptance and make the most efficient use of scarce space. A first step in developing projects and creating public support for new projects is to make use of the characteristics, ambitions and developments in the area in which a project is planned to be realized. Within this area the most relevant parties that live, work or run their businesses should be involved. Key is to develop a social business case that adds value for all parties in the surrounding area of the proposed project, instead of only focusing on benefits for the initiators or those directly involved. TNO provides support in this development process in giving specialist advice on these matters.

Sustainable solutions

Our knowledge and approach covers a broad spectrum: connecting people and networks, identifying the local effects of subsurface projects, linking project development to spatial-planning processes, cross-linking knowledge and disciplines. In close cooperation with our business partners we organize network meetings focusing on cross-links and synergies between people and disciplines, we advise on policy development and decision making, facilitate the development of new practices, develop methods and instruments, and design strategic planning processes with the subsurface. In all cases, our expertise and advice is based on a combination of dedicated knowledge and practical experience. We help customers to find more sustainable solutions, based on a systems approach, and we advise on gaining public acceptance. We do this in close cooperation with other parties, that are connected to the issues at hand in a specific area or on a specific theme.

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