Après nous le déluge? Climate adaptation and urban development in Antwerp, Hamburg and Rotterdam

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Fear of water is embedded in our human minds. This natural reaction (based on the indisputable knowledge that we cannot survive in water) has been portrayed in many forms of classic and modern culture. Although Biblical examples and Hushpuppy lived as nomads in an ever-changing world, the majority of the world consists of permanent urban structures. Cities are normally perceived as strongholds of culture and prosperity, and must therefore be protected against external threats such as water. Despite a growing consciousness of shortening production chains and reducing energy consumption, port cities are still the turning wheels in national and international economies. While their economic importance remains unscathed and local populations are growing, port cities are increasingly challenged by major climate changes. Port cities have always intertwined with water, and they therefore encounter the advantages and the disadvantages of water. Of all climate implications, water level rise is perceived as the most important one for port cities. Besides the rise of the general sea level, the unpredictable occurrence and implications of storms have increased too. Longer and more intense periods of drought and heavy rainfall inland lead to flooding of the main rivers on their way to the sea. These climate changes necessitate new water protection measures.
Strategies For the Post-Speculative City : Proceedings of the 4th AESOP European Urban Summer School, Madrid, Spain, September 2013
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