SINKING LAND AND RISING SEAS: Architects and planners from the Netherlands are advising coastal cities worldwide on how to live with water
Note to Reader:
Jim Morrison is a freelance writer whose stories, reported from two dozen countries, have appeared in numerous publications including Smithsonian.com, the New York Times, and National Wildlife. He writes about the environment, travel, the arts, and business.
In an article for the Smithonsian Institute’s magazine, he describes how consulting with cities about their response to relative sea-level rise has become a growth industry for the Dutch. He says that they’re the Silicon Valley of water management, a laboratory testing strategies that have evolved over the centuries.
Cities Around the Globe Are Eagerly Importing a Dutch Speciality—Flood Prevention
“For the Dutch, consulting with cities about their response to relative sea-level rise has become a growth industry. They’re the Silicon Valley of water management, a laboratory testing strategies that have evolved over the centuries,” wrote Jim Morrison.
“No wonder. Water has been both a daily threat and a national identity for a country about the size of Maryland. More than half the nation’s 17 million people live on land below sea level. The Netherlands takes exporting water knowledge so seriously that it has a Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Henk Ovink, who travels the globe on behalf of Dutch experts.
“Rising seas threaten 10 percent of the world’s urban population so there’s never-ending demand. Dutch companies have worked in Houston, Miami, New York, Charleston, Jakarta, Bangkok, Dhaka and Shanghai.”
Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan
In the article, Jim Morrison describes the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan. This plan focuses on water within the levees—primarily stormwater, surface waters, and groundwater—and a new approach to managing these resources. It outlines principles for water management, regional planning, and urban design that are specific to this region, developed out of a process that considers:
- the region’s soils, water, and biodiversity,
- existing infrastructure networks, and
- the urban fabric.
The project area consists of three hydrological basins, covering 155 square miles of urban areas and 69 square miles of protected wetlands. The Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan integrates infrastructure planning and urban design, and includes consideration of street design, water infrastructure, public parks and plazas, and the relationship of both publicly-owned and privately-owned properties to the sustainable management of the region’s water resources.
To Learn More:
To read the complete story published by The Smithsonian, download a copy of Cities Around the Globe Are Eagerly Importing a Dutch Speciality—Flood Prevention
To learn more about the New Orleans plan, watch the video: