Rotterdam adaptation strategy

The Rotterdam adaptation strategy sets the course for the city to adapt to the changing climate. Predictions indicate that we will experience more extreme weather conditions, such as heavier rainstorms, longer periods of drought and more heat waves, as well as higher water levels for both the sea and the rivers. Since Rotterdam is a delta city, it is especially vulnerable to these consequences of climate change. De Urbanisten supported the City of Rotterdam in developing the Rotterdam adaptation strategy.

Rotterdam has a long tradition of continuous adaptation of the city to new circumstances which resulted in an ingenious and robust ‘system’ that keeps the delta city dry and safe. The maintenance and improvement of this system of dikes, surface waters and sewage is the basic condition for a climate-proof Rotterdam. But more adaptive measures are needed to alleviate the system and to make it more resilient. Solutions can be found in the space of the city, both in the public and private domain. In the ‘arteries of the city’ small-scale measures can be taken like depaving hard surfaces and making green spaces.

Climate adaptation requires an area-specific approach. In outer-dike Rotterdam the principle is a multi-layered flood protection based on adaptive construction, flood resilient public spaces and Building with Nature. Inner-dike Rotterdam will be protected also in the future by strong and integrated urban dikes. Behind these dikes, the ‘sponge function’ of the city will be restored by implementing measures to capture and store rainwater where it falls and to delay drainage per example with water robust streets, watersquares and bioswales. To illustrate all this, we sketched out integral perspectives for six different city typologies that show in which way climate adaptive measures contribute to a more attractive city.

Climate adaptation means cooperation with other parties: inhabitants, businesses and interest groups can all participate and actively contribute to making Rotterdam climate-proof. Adaptive measures can be linked to other spatial developments and intelligently combined with existing maintenance programs.

By doing so climate adaptation provides a multitude of opportunities to strengthen the economy of the city, to improve the living environment of neighbourhoods, to increase biodiversity and to encourage the people of Rotterdam to actively participate in a climate proof Rotterdam.

See also:
Rotterdam adaptation strategy – full report in english