Rotterdam is regarded as one of the world’s examples in adaptation strategy. Dozens of delegations visit the city each year, with a purpose. Meanwhile, Rotterdam continues its development by adopting a wider scope on adaptation, resulting in a new overall image of the city’s vulnerabilities. In this work it is supported by 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.
“Rotterdam is one of the safest delta cities in the world”, Rotterdam Mayor Aboutaleb states. “We are prepared for keeping our feet dry during heavy precipitation or spring-tide. This raises a new question: when we do run into excess water, what happens to our power supply and IT infrastructure? These issues are also on the regional agenda.”
Resilience in Rotterdam
Resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience. For Rotterdam, resilience encompasses the ability to cope with water, heat and drought, but also pertains to cyber security, the risk of power outage.
After accomplishing ‘dry feet’, resilience presents the next series of challenges to any city, including Rotterdam. 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation is an organization dedicated to building urban resilience in 100 cities around the world; and to promoting the discovery and application of smart solutions everywhere. Rotterdam was announced as one of 100RC’s first partner cities.
New vulnerabilities, new opportunities
Each participating city appoints a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), paid for and supported by 100 Resilient Cities. Rotterdam has appointed Arnoud Molenaar, Rotterdam Climate Proof’s manager.
Molenaar: “Our city has never depended more on vital infrastructures. This includes power, internet and telecommunications, as well as clean water supply and transportation by road and rail. Will everything still work after a calamity? Can we still get around, buy groceries and work? My job will be to identify risks and their solutions, with a large group of partners. We will present an analysis of vulnerabilities and possible solutions around the summer of 2015.”
Knowledge and opportunities
100 Resilient Cities offers Rotterdam access to the best practices in fellow-cities, and the vast knowledge and know-how of world-renowned institutions. Molenaar also thinks Rotterdam businesses may prosper because of the project: “Rotterdam hosts some expertise of its own, which other cities will benefit from.”
About 100 Resilient Cities
In December 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation selected Rotterdam among the first 33 of 100 ‘resilient cities’. 100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC supports the adoption and incorporation of a view of resilience that includes not just the shocks – earthquakes, fires, floods, etc – but also the stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day to day or cyclical basis. Examples of these stresses include high unemployment; an overtaxed or inefficient public transportation system; endemic violence; or chronic food and water shortages. By addressing both the shocks and the stresses, a city becomes more able to respond to adverse events, and is overall better able to deliver basic functions in both good times and bad, to all populations.
Michael Berkowitz, Managing Director of 100 Resilient Cities at the Rockefeller Foundation: “Arnoud Molenaar joins a network of peers from cities across the globe that will share best practices and surface innovative thinking. He will become a global leader in resilience, and will be a tool both for Rotterdam and other cities around the world.”