International Team “multiple lines” Jorg Sieweke with Tim Decker, hydrologist, USA and Helmut Thoele, urbanist, Netherlands are invited as one of 7 finalist to participate in the future of delta cities workshop sponsored by the UNESCO in Rotterdam Sept. 27th/28th held at RDM-Campus.
Many cities around the world are facing the challenges of sustainable living and development and are exploring ways to enhance their ability to manage an uncertain future. In the developing world these challenges are often due to increasing concentrations of vulnerable people in vulnerable locations adjacent to rivers, coasts and in low-lying zones that are more floodprone.
Drivers and pressures include relative wealth; population growth; the provision of food; lifestyle expectations; energy and resource use and climate change. These pose new challenges for the way we design our cities of the future.
Cities everywhere are changing faster than we can assess and understand the diverse forces that cause those changes – these forces themselves are dynamic and fluid. Urban planning on the other hand is relatively static. It is the code by which development decisions are made and is therefore by definition an exercise in deciding a city’s future form. In so doing it gives certainty to the ”actors” in that future. Urban planning occurs within a political ideology that informs the decision-making process at a given time. Thus to a large extent, we live in “yesterday’s cities”: many of the urban patterns we see today – roads, buildings, land ownership, etc. – reflect decision-making periods of the past. As the prevailing ideology changes, so does the planning of our cities.
Since most of large cities are located in deltaic regions and other low -lying areas, an unintended side effect of their growth and the ensuing concentration of population is the increased exposure to floods. Worldwide the number of inhabitants threatened by flooding has increased dramatically. Moreover, floods have become much more frequent and have had more devastating effects than in former times. Indeed, these trends suggest that urban communities are becoming more vulnerable to floods. Climate change is exacerbating these trends and poses new challenge