Currently the national government is researching strategies to make the Netherlands as ‘watersafe’ in the future as it is now, taking into account the effects of climate change. We studied the northern Rotterdam river dike once more, but this time we took a real close look on the full length and we used less dramatic climate predictions. What reinforcement measurements are needed and how are they related to future urban developments?
Our analysis mapped current spatial qualities, difficult locations, plans and their status on one hand. On the other hand we meticulously scanned the current conditions of the dike in relation to requested heights and profiles in 2010-2050-2100.
From this scan we detected a majority of dike stretch that is high enough, much wider than needed and relatively easy to adjust. We also detected a few places where adjustmenst are needed. Three of these locations (the largest ones) can be effectively combined with actual planning processes. Here the main strategic advice is to bring dike adjustments to the agenda earlier than strictly necessary from a safety point of view. When combining these into a single spatial planning procedure a substantial extra value can be obtained.
To prove this we worked out a case study on Merwe/Vierhavens area with three different positions of a reinforced dike. This position is closely related to the development potential of the site and related to social-economic conditions. Therefore we examined three possible economic realities and connected them each to a development strategy and dike position. These scenarios have been explored more in depth in our Clean Tech Delta project.
Spatially the river dike can be strengthened as a green continuous recreational structure. Since it is over dimensioned on so many places this can be done by redesigning the profile in a more approachable and friendly manner and by strategically placing trees. When extra height is needed this can be done by placing a continuous bike path as much as possible on top of the dike. This further diversifies the dike profile into a structure that allows interesting different views for bikes, pedestrians and cars to both the river and the city.
River dike Rotterdam