Adaptive strategies for the urban floodplain of Hotspot Rotterdam (HSRR09)

What would a strategy minimising the consequences of a potential flood look like? One approach would be to make adjustments in the physical design of the built environment, and another would be to alert the users and residents to the risks involved. This report discusses the results of the definition phase. The second part is reported under HSRR3.1: Adaptive development strategies for the Rotterdam unembanked area.

The purpose of the definition phase was to gain a clear understanding of the knowledge available and the knowledge that is still lacking, assess the demand for expertise in greater detail, and to prepare the further approach for the project phase of the study.

To collect available knowledge concerning adaptive building and assess knowledge gaps, members of the consortium actively participated in work meetings. In addition, two expert meetings were held that were attended by representatives from the private sector, the government and other parties responsible for urban development and construction.

Conclusions and themes of research
Use of space: from adaptive building to a comprehensive adaptive strategy – Finding the right balance and clarifying the interaction between physical spatial measures and legal planning measures is an important focus in the follow-up survey.

Future resilience: a successful adaptive strategy responds to a changing realityIn defining an adaptive strategy, we should also consider the timing of various implementations, as well as any interdependencies and relationships between the various measures and the extent to which they allow adjustment to the selected strategy. The ‘Adaptation Tipping Point Approach’ may prove useful in identifying and analysing dependencies, robustness and flexibility of the measures.

Flood management: local and regional aspects and the relationship with flood management strategies in the Rijnmond region The success of any adaptation strategy will depend on the strategy’s ability to contribute to flood management and safety on a local and regional level as well as at the level of the Rijnmond delta. The study into the interaction between measures at various levels is an important element of the project.

Politico-administrative considerations: establishing flood management standards Regional and local authorities are responsible for flood management in the areas outside the levees. The task definition and opportunities for a storm surge resilient layout should be part of the basic principles applied in the development of areas outside the levees.

Planned economy: storm surge resilience as part of the land utilisation Innovations are required in order to establish a connection between the investments for short- and long-term climate adaptation tasks. For this purpose, we should investigate ways in which the value of storm surge resilience can be included in land use.

Perception: raising awareness on flood management and feasible adaptive measures Overall awareness of the vulnerable position of the areas outside the levees is relatively low among residents and users. The survey questions should centre on this area of tension between opportunities to raise awareness and the feasibility of adaptive strategies.

Legal planning considerations: embedding and incorporating adaptive strategies and measures In practice, laws and regulations often prove to be an impediment to the implementation of adaptive measures. The feasibility of any adaptation strategy will largely depend on innovations in laws and regulations and current policy.

The report Adaptive strategies and the Rotterdam Floodplain
H. Meyer & W. Hermans, (2009). Adaptive strategies and the Rotterdam Floodplain.