Spotlight on Rotterdam: Resilience in Action

Cities and water are inextricably linked, yet there are many ways to embed water into the urban fabric. At Arcadis, we’re using our deep expertise in natural and built assets, to lead a Living Lab on Living with Urban Water at this year’s 100 Resilient Cities Urban Resilience Summit. We deploy services in cities related to infrastructure, water, environment, and buildings, with the goal of helping cities transform their resilience challenges into opportunities for economic development and an improved quality of life. That kind of resilience in action will be present throughout the summit, as we explore innovative ways in which Rotterdam and its peers worldwide are addressing water management and inland flooding while simultaneously unlocking additional benefits – whether that be social cohesion, urban food provision, improving public spaces, or providing local employment opportunities.

From strategy to implementation

As a member of 100RC’s Platform of Partners, Arcadis works with city leaders to develop and implement strategies and solutions for adapting to climate change. In the case of water, this includes addressing the impact of too much water, as in the case of sea-level rise or extreme rainfall events, or too little water, as evidenced by longer and more severe drought periods. At Arcadis we’re able to demonstrate our know how by pointing to major international examples of best practice in developing conceptual, multi-functional designs, which offer multiple benefits for cities (environmental, social and economic). We also create resilience roadmaps that concentrate on funding and financing strategies.

Arcadis has also played a key role in Resilience Accelerator Workshops held in cities as varied as Vejle, Bristol, Pittsburgh, Honolulu, and New Orleans. These interactive workshops convened leaders from city government, water authorities, stakeholders, and practitioners to discuss inter-agency collaboration and explore innovative financial strategies for accelerating the implementation of green infrastructure and other urban climate resilience projects. These sessions helped us advance the development of Arcadis’ Bankable Resilience Tool (BaRT), which calculates both the costs as well as the wide range of social and ecosystem benefits of implementing urban climate resilience projects.

Arcadis is currently upgrading BaRT into a high-level digital tool to allow for better integration with city analytics tools, larger data sets, and GIS and monitoring data from sensoring. One aspect of the day’s Living Lab centers upon a use case of BaRT, based on a recent application in Greater Manchester. Building upon Arcadis’ global experience with cities within and beyond the 100 Resilient Cities Network, the Living Lab will hone in on some of Rotterdam’s most innovative water initiatives, including the rooftop parks at Luchtpark Hofbogen and DakAkker, and to see water storage solutions at ZoHo Raingarden, Watersquare Benthemplein, and Museumpark – highlighting scalable solutions and hard-won lessons learned in urban water management.

Building the business case for resilience

At Arcadis we believe that resilience provides an overwhelmingly positive opportunity for the world. By embracing a resilient approach, national, regional, and city administrations can improve their residents’ quality of life, while business leaders, shareholders, and stakeholders have the opportunity to look beyond their bottom lines and toward the communities around them. Our new campaign on Urban Resilience takes this a step further in the white paper, The Business Case for Resilience, by examining resilience from the perspective of cities, industries, utility companies, and mobility operators, also delving into digital and financial resilience. Through this campaign we aim to support cities worldwide in overcoming issues of inaction and advancing critical projects that produce real change for urban residents.

Please download our white paper and join our global effort to make cities and citizen better able to cope and bounce back from whatever the future holds.