Laatste update: 21 juni 2014
Functies in de Stad
Ruimtelijke Kwaliteit
Buurt / Wijk
Stad / Regio
Academisch / professioneel werk
Auteurs: Peter G de Bois, Karen A. Buurmans-Niemi
Reviewer: Peter G. de Bois


Strategic RGBG Model Legenda

 Legenda: surfaces, points and lines

Surfaces are large(r) urban/rural settlements, like Metropolitan Areas, Agglomerations, (parts)Cities, Villages, Neighbourhoods etc. Surfaces are described as the physical and socioeconomic boundaries of an urban/rural context, including the political, cultural and geographic background of that area. They are used as a functional context for the positioning of lines and points, flows and places in the in the context of the urban/rural area as a whole and the ‘Time Space’ system of people. They express the physical/mental position of people individual/collective on a Meta level. The functional and spatial conditions of surfaces can be different and is explained in the legenda: Red, Green, Bleu and Grey.

Points are spatial concentrations of individual/collective urban/rural functional programs, anchor points. They are part of the system of ‘Urban Places’ within the (semi)public -spatial- domain like shopping areas, parks, squares, (small) harbours, sport facilities etc. They are used as destinations in the ‘Daily Urban’ system of people on a global and/or local urban functional level. They are described as a condensed spatial condition and place in the  physical context of the urban/rural area as a whole. The functional and spatial conditions of the places can be different and is explained in the legenda: Red, Green, Bleu and Grey.

Lines are condensed spatial linear elements in the urban/rural network, like Streets, Alley’s, Boulevard, Lanes, Canals, Park-lanes etc. Lines are used as interrelations in that urban/rural network and the ‘Time Space’ system of people, representing the spatial conditions and dynamics of ‘Urban Flows’. They are described as a continuous spatial flow, by a vector in the physical context of the urban/rural area as a whole. The functional and spatial conditions of the lines can be different and is explained in the legenda: Red, Green, Bleu and Grey.

The resulting topological schemes are reduced according to a uniform legenda that comprises of four layers: (1) RED for built programme; (2) GREEN for parks, recreation, ecological and landscape; (3) BLUE for water; and (4) GREY for infrastructure. The compilation gives a clue as to the strategic significance of specific elements, correlations between each of the four colours and coincidences and/or diversions between participating stakeholders.

Eenheid: Lines: Metre, Kilometre. Points: Square Metre- Hectometre- Kilometre. Surfaces: Square Hectometre- Kilometre


2012                        “Almere, stad in transitie, een ontwerpend onderzoek naar de ruimtelijke effectiviteit van de stad”, Editor in Chief, De Bois, Houtman, van Esch, Delft University of Technology & University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam, ISBN 978-90-815797-0-4
2012                        “Haarlem Oost Editor in Chief, Leene, De Bois cs, University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam, ISBN 978-90-815797-5-9
2010                        “Exploring the Public City, Improving the space between buildings, Copenhagen Ørestad Area (proceedings of the 2010 IP EPC workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark), Copenhagen Technical Academy (CTA). ISBN 978-87-88476-01
2010                        “Stedelijke Vitaliteit, Steden zijn lui en 32 andere visies op de vitale stad. Hoofdredacteur, De Bois  cs, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Uitgever Elba Media Amersfoort, ISBN 978-90-7935-408-5
2007/2008          “Exploring the Public City, Transforming the Post-War City, Nowa Huta”, Buurmans, De Bois (editor in chief), (proceedings of the 2006 IP EPC workshop in Cracow, Poland), Cracow University of Technology, 300 pp., international peer reviewed publication.
2006                “Strategic RGBG model, Analysis and design of Urban Frame”, De Bois/Buurmans, International Forum on Urbanism, “Modernization & Regionalism” 2006, Beijing.

2005                        “Strategic RGBG Model; Grote Wateren Flevoland”, De Bois/Buurmans/Van Esch, Flevoland ‘Studiemiddag Grote Wateren, omgevingsplan Flevoland”, co-auteurs P.G. de Bois, K.A. Buurmans, M. van Esch, TUDelft. uitgave; Provincie Flevoland, Stichting Verantwoord Beheer IJsselmeer, Vereniging Vrienden van de Markerwaard, Provincie Flevoland

2002                “Tiel, Stad tussen versnelling en onthaasting”. An Urban Research for urban development and strategy for the city, DeBois/Buurmans, Delft University of Technology, ISBN 90-5269-303-X
Strategic RGBG Method


The Strategic RGBG Model The Strategic ‘RGBG Method’ can help urban professionals to understand the spatial en functional interrelation of urban systems and provide necessary expertise to meet the demands for an effective urban and rural spatial development. The actual needs for societal transformation is urgent and important on all levels of scale in urban and metropolitan areas.


The Strategic RGBG Model Method

Paradigm shift in societies. There is a great need for flexible communicative and strategic governance between stakeholders in cities. The relationship between private and public parties as stakeholders in urban development in general and the public domain in particular has always been subject to discussion and tension. Mid 20th century society can be described in terms of collective values and ideological characteristics (collective care, social coherence, equality). Government played a major part in directing and facilitating individual security and general socio-economic development on behalf of its citizens. The mechanism of globalisation, dissolution of borders and increasing prosperity however affected society significantly. Present-day society can no longer be captured in simple terms of collectiveness. Government has for a large part given up on its dominant position regarding socio-economic control and devolved large parts of its responsibilities to the private sector. Today, the collective appears to play second fiddle to the individual.

Urban life has become a motley collection of so-called life-styles. But the influence of life-styles on the functioning and use of the public domain is overrated. Income, education and ethnical background are still determining as to what is sought in public space. Users still gather from diverse backgrounds in the same old streets and places that have always been functional-spatial anchor points. Only from there on they go their separate ways. Life-style behaviour diverts on the level of detail rather than context.
Partly due to the withdrawal of governmental control, planning and design of town and landscape have become much more fragmented. But, paradoxically, the demand for centralised action has never been greater: the prevailing dominance of urban development over landscape and ecology is being questioned; the seeming infallibility of technocratic control over our environment is being compromised; climate change inevitability urges reassessment of use and management of territory; increasing cultural diversity and segregation affect the social and physical construction of urban life …

Many of these developments greatly impact the role and position of public domain in the contemporary city. And they all demand a more integral yet at the same time more flexible approach to spatial planning. Providing the necessary and desired spatial configuration and functional coherence in order to facilitate an effective, self-generating and self-sustaining socio-economical process is today's prevalent assignment. Present-day society is a labyrinth, a jungle. The need for a clear, legible and effective spatial context is urgent. Communication and interaction between parties, stakeholders, active in the public domain has never been more important to gain synergy, co-incidence and socio-economic spin-off. In order to achieve this it is necessary to develop long-term strategic and dynamic spatial instruments.

Interrelation between the domains:  the preconditional position of the spatial urban system for facilitating socio economic value capturing.

The Method. The Strategic RGBG Method is a tool that can be useful during that process. The ‘RGBG Method’ works via multi layering spatial concepts which are produced by various stakeholders, urban professionals including citizens in a conceptual process for, design, evaluation or planning process to record their specific notions with regard to programmatic development potentials of a chosen area in casu. The resulting topological schemes are then reduced according to a uniform legenda that comprises of four layers: (1) RED for built programme; (2) GREEN for parks, recreation, ecological and landscape; (3) BLUE for water; and (4) GREY for infrastructure. The compilation gives a clue as to the strategic significance of specific elements, correlations between each of the four colours and coincidences and/or diversions between participating stakeholders.

The strategic component derives from the fact that each layer has it own functional/spatial significance, the darker colour relates to more hits on the map showing the mutual interest of the stakeholders and leads to a further potential for collaboration.

The method investigates strategic and necessary transitions of cities, in order to discover the spatial en functional potentials of existing and future urban areas related to their surrounding context. The RGBG Method makes it possible, due to a more or less nonverbal participation process to collect/assembled all available information/knowledge from the stakeholders. The content of this information is visualizes in individual layers to show there specific and/or generic spatial coincidence, functional potentials. They can be considered as a interactive concept. The RGBG layering legenda is contradictory to the traditional planning process not based on the planning and/or division of spatial functional uses of elements but to investigate the effective spatial en social economic interaction between them.

The RGBG Method can be used by a Spatial Decision Room (like the SPADER room of the University of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam), whereas every participant is using a (interconnected) computer to assemble his/here specific, personal and/or professional information.

The general theme of the Strategic RGBG assignment concerns the transformation of landscape and urban patterns; The relationships between time, handling and context are the subject of research and design. The way in which the specific features of the separate levels of scale and RGBG layers are visualised depends on the individual chosen aspect or topic. Products from the stakeholders originate primarily from their professional background and position. Any issues put forward play a role, they are self-evident in the formulation of the individual points of interest that form the basis of the RGBG scenario ad the end of the process of using the RGBG method 

Motivation and starting points. A proceeded Strategic RGBG scenario represent a set of interesting possibilities and important motivations regard to both the socio economic and the spatial problems and/or solutions in cities or regional areas. The motivations underpin the important preconditions for the process of design and establishing mutual interests for socio economic development and business.
Research by design & design by research, design analysis as an instrument.
Reduction. Elaboration and presentation primarily relate to the ‘form’ component of the designs. When the ‘form’ proposals are reduced to their structural characteristics by means of retrospective processing, a coherent pallet of ideas and spatial-functional interventions emerges, corresponding with the underlying motives. The individual elaborations can subsequently be brought together again within a single diagram, thus producing an overview of the specific elements and areas that are of strategic significance in the whole assortment of interventions and levels of scale.

A physical-spatial element is of strategic significance if its role and position are desirable, necessary and beneficial when regarded from various perspectives and in the light of their functional characteristics. Surfaces/areas, points/locations and lines can each hold or obtain a position of strategic importance on the basis of their physical-spatial potential. In general, coherence and interaction are usually the case.

Strategic importance. The information/plans is reduced to separate aspects depicted in Red, green, blue and grey. The resulting data are projected on the topographical underlay, so that the design interventions presented by each individual proposal are compiled to form a coherent setting with regard to the surface (context), point (handling) and line (time).

The cognitive map in a new perspective.
Principle. Ask thirty people to denote their user activities in their city of residence on a topographic underlay and a picture will emerge of what this group considers to be essential within the physical-spatial system of this town. This is what the ‘cognitive map’ intends - it is a research method in which the perceptions of a large group of users of a certain area are gathered into a topographical representation. Insight can thus be obtained into:
- (In connection with the physical system) lines of movement, areas that people visit and relate to, and objects/buildings that accommodate public functions;
- (In connection with human behaviour or the mental system) selective perception, recognition and identification with regard to social functioning (i.e. information processing, priorities, and efficiency);
- And along with these, the corresponding universally applicable principles of orientation.
Accessibility and use. Use of the urban area is not value-free. Although, in principle, the public domain is (or must be) universally accessible, it is not utilised to the same extent and the same way by every single individual. Differences occur not merely due to selective functional distinction, but also primarily due to differences in social status and accessibility in a mental sense. In addition to the previously mentioned elements, a cognitive map of a city also visualises:
- The social relationships between the distinctive sections of the population;
- The areas or objects that are (becoming) isolated;
- The features of social and spatial hierarchy that is present within the boundaries of the city;
- The physical-spatial elements and/or areas that are or may become strategically important.
This means that relationships and connections and the degree of accessibility, both mental and physical, are essential preconditions for the convergence of the context of the city and the use of the facilities. (daily –urban system) This process of convergence can be regarded as the core assignment of the urban designer.

Strategic RGBG Model Method can be used:

  • to investigate long term urban planning and developments related to urgent actual problems
  • to explore concept and integration of spatial and functional concepts
  • to evaluate existing planning and design project