“We want to be the Resilience Capital of the USA”, said Gavin Buckley, the Mayor of Annapolis, MD, when visiting The Netherlands last week. With that mindset, a delegation of 14 city, county, and state representatives from Annapolis, Arundel County, and the State of Maryland visited for a one-week programme to learn from The Netherlands, a traditional pioneer on topics of mobility and resilience.
The Netherlands – one-third of which is below sea level – has spent more than a lifetime protecting itself from the sea. What better place to learn from than here? More recently – given climate change – the country has pivoted to include a greater focus on overall resilience, including riverine flooding, preparing urban areas for more extreme weather events, and developing an all-inclusive approach to city planning, with room for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport options in previously car-dominated, urban spaces.
Presentation by Pim van der Zwet about Bikeconomics
Site-visits and presentations of both cycling and resilience experts
The programme – jointly produced by the Netherlands Water Partnership and the Dutch Cycling Embassy – included visits to Rotterdam, The Hague, and Delft, as well as a one-day programme to the Maeslant Barrier, the parking facilities under the dunes in Katwijk and the Noordwaard Polder – that is part of the Room for the River programme. Every city included contributions from both cycling and resilience experts. The NWP members involved included: Bosch Slabbers, Arcadis, Royal HaskoningDHV, the Municipality of Rotterdam, TU Delft, Blue21, Dutch Water Prevention, Obscape, andHoogheemraadschap van Delfland.
We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the State of Maryland and the City of Annapolis in particular. It is the beginning of a grand partnership and collaboration.