Citizens play a crucial role in the water-resistant city

Article featured in stadszaken proposes floating construction and citizen involvement as the path to creating a water-resistant city. Rutger de Graaf and Roland Goetgeluk, members of the Thinking Tank Floating (Re) building believe that a shift in thinking is the basis for innovative water solutions for the water-resistant city. It’s about resilience, circularity and moving with it. This requires governance strategies with the citizen at the center.

Friesland is traditionally (sea) water land; no wonder they came up with ‘it giet oan’. Noahidic rainwater also causes major damage in the high parts of the Netherlands. The damage caused by the sea level rise and the varying flow of the river and brook increases alarmingly. And despite all the flood, it is clear that clean water is becoming scarcer.

Due to climate change, we can expect more and more from this type of extreme rainfall. Due to the ongoing urbanization in unfavorable places, this also causes more nuisance and damage. Remember that more than half of the urban area is a private site that is increasingly being designed as a single, fully tiled  vtwonen-lounge area.

This is disastrous for the prevention of flooding. No surprise that insurers are keeping a close eye on the damage caused by extreme weather. There is a realization in the eyes of citizens, companies and administrations that for every form of land use the wisdom of ground, surface and rain water is the motto.

Building a water-resistant city

Technology counts and a lot is possible. Water storage on and under buildings, construction of infiltrating pavement, but also water-resistant construction. This is building in a way that there is no damage in the event of a short-term flood. For example, the use of water-resistant or flood-proof materials can provide this.

Infrastructure and facilities such as electricity, internet and drinking water can also be installed in such a way that they continue to function under extreme conditions. All these measures contribute to the transformation to a water-resistant city. “The valuation basis of interventions and investments must start to count differently”

Floating construction in the water-resistant city

Spatially, there is a necessity to become water-resistant. For example, water boards are creating extra water storage and emergency overflow areas. This is a costly business in our densely populated country and therefore requires multiple use of space.

Floating construction offers the possibility of using a square meter of water for both water storage and residential construction. Circular valuation is therefore the credo. Circular is a popular word, but therefore not inferior.

New relationships between citizens, management and business – governance – are already counting in investments. How can citizens be involved in making the city climate-proof and how can more water storage be realized on private land?

More challenging is the question of how governments adapt to the activities of citizens who are already devising water-resistant solutions. Will the water board soon also become a developer of water plots to fulfill the water storage task or does the key lie precisely with citizens through, for example, a water housing cooperative? And how does the government take care of collective interests?

All ask for groundbreaking techniques, circular accounting principles and governance strategies with regard to the relationship between citizen, administration and company. 

It giet oan.

Dr. ir. Rutger de Graaf ( @degraaf_e ) & Dr. ir. Roland Goetgeluk ( @RolandGoetgeluk )

Goetgeluk and De Graaf are both part of the governance of floating cities on open seas think tank consisting of technical, social and legal scientists and entrepreneurs.

This post has been translated to English from an article featured on stadszaken. 

Image Source: Pixabay

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