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Adaptive urban development . A symbiosis between cities on land and water in the 21st century


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Adaptive urban development is the design, construction and continuing evolution of urban areas to anticipate and react to changes in the envi - ronment and society. These changes include both processes within the city itself and external developments. It is expected that until 2100 a total of 5 billion people will move to cities. Per day this means a 150,000 people start to live in a city. In the same period resources such as fossil fuels, fresh water resources, phosphates and fertile topsoil are running out. This unprecedented urbanization process will con - vert a large part of the fertile croplands in urban areas. At the same time the food demand from this shrinking productive area will double due to popula - tion increase and rising living standards. Most of the urbanization will take place in vulnerable delta areas. To create a perspective to deal with this huge challenge in the 21st century, two things are needed. First, the current parasite cities need to transform into flood proof ecocities. Transforming the existing cities, however, will not be enough to deal with the challenges the world is facing. The second com - ponent of the strategy therefore means that a part of the cities and food production should be located on the water to create more space.
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urban development
A symbiosis between cities on land and water in the 21st century
Inaugural Lecture
Rutger de Graaf
Adaptive urban development
A symbiosis between cities on land and water in the 21st century
ISBN: 978 90 5179 799 2
1st edition, 2012
© 2012 Rutger de Graaf
This book is published by Rotterdam University Press
of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
Rotterdam University
P.O. Box 25035
3001 HA Rotterdam
The Netherlands
This book may not be reproduced by print, photoprint, microfilm or any other
means, without written permission from the author and the publisher.
Every reasonable effort has been made to trace copyright holders of material
reproduced in this book, but if any have been inadvertently overlooked the publishers
would be glad to hear from them.
urban development
A symbiosis between cities
on land and water in the 21st century
Inaugural Lecture Rutger de Graaf
Rotterdam University Press
5Adaptive urban development
01. Introduction
1.1 Urbanization in delta areas
1.2 Urbanization and flooding
1.3 Urbanization and land scarcity
1.4 The impact of urbanization on the urban water system
1.5 Scarce water resources and land subsidence
1.6 Nutrient problem of delta cities
1.7 A parasitic metabolism
1.8 Overview of the problem and an outline of the solution
02. Adaptive urban development on land:
transforming existing cities
2.1 Increase land availability
2.2 Decrease flood risk
2.3 Produce resources
2.4 A positive impact on ecosystems
2.5 Feasibility and knowledge gaps
2.6 Research agenda
2.7 Realization process: Rotterdam and other delta cities
03. Adaptive urban development on the water:
floating cities
3.1 Increase land availability
3.2 Decrease flood risk
3.3 Produce resources
3.4 A positive impact on ecosystems
3.5 Feasibility and knowledge gaps
3.6 Research agenda
3.7 Realization process: Rotterdam and other delta cities
3.8 A people’s perspective
04. Conclusion
Previous editions
6Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
7Adaptive urban development
01. Introduction
“You could not step twice into the same river; for
other waters are ever flowing on to you.” – Heraclitus
Cities in delta areas are constantly changing. Driven by social processes and physical
processes they constantly adapt to the new reality and create new possibilities at
the same time. Today, change in delta areas seems to take place much faster than
ever before. This book is about adaptive urban development in delta areas and
elaborates what kind of strategies and technologies can be used to adapt urban areas
to important challenges in the 21st century such as resource scarcity, flood damage,
land availability and climate change. The process of urbanization in delta areas is
taken as the overarching theme for the analysis that is presented in this book.
1.1 Urbanization in delta areas
Most of the largest cities in the world cities are located in areas that are vulnerable
to flooding such as coastal plains and river plains, as figure 1.2 demonstrates. More
and more people are moving to these vulnerable areas as cities continue to grow.
Until 2100, 5.0 billion people will move to cities, this equals more than 150,000 people
every day.1 The largest proportion of these new city dwellers will live in vulnerable
floodplains. It is estimated that in 2050, half of the world population will be living
within 100 kilometres from the coast.2
Figure 1.1:
Predicted global urbanization, in 2030 the urban population will be 5.0 billion people 3
8Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Traditionally, humans have settled in delta areas for a number of good reasons. In
these areas, reliable water resources are available and waste can be easily disposed
to the river which transports it downstream. The abundance of fertile land provides
good opportunities for agriculture. The resulting food surplus makes a significant part
of the population available to produce other goods and services that are valuable to
the economy. These goods can be transported easily to other cities all over the world
because good connections by water transport are available.
It is therefore not surprising that most of the largest cities in the world are located in
delta areas. On the other hand, urbanization in delta areas has also created several
problems. The first cities in delta areas were mostly built on slightly elevated places
in coastal plains, such as sand ridges, dunes or hills. This provided strategic and
military advantages but also protected the city against the frequently occurring
floods. Mechanization of agriculture and the transition from a rural economy to an
industrialized, and later service economy, has driven many people to cities. As cities
continued to grow, they were forced to expand into marshlands and locations with a
lower elevation compared to the historic city centre. As a result, the flood damage
increased which often led to the construction of dikes to protect the buildings and
Figure 1.2:
Most of the world largest cities are located on the coast and are growing rapidly (Source: Di Cartography
Centre (2000) 4
How much space do the global cities cover together? In literature there is a huge
variation of estimates of the global urban area, depending on the measurement
method, the data collection method but also on the definition of what an urban area
is. An area can be classified as urban by a minimum size of a settlement, a minimum
9Adaptive urban development
population density or by measuring a certain light intensity from satellites. The areal
extent of urban land cover generated by GLC00, MODIS, and GRUMP are 308,007,
726,943, and 3,524,109 square kilometres.5 NewGeography6 estimates the total
amount of urban area at 1.2 million km2, whereas the EDRO website7 estimates the
total amount of urban area 5.2 million km2. In this book an estimated size of the total
urban area of 2.0 million km2 will be used.
1.2 Urbanization and flooding
While dikes have proven to be quite effective in protecting cities against flooding they
also have a drawback. Dikes stop the natural sedimentation process in river plains. In
a natural situation, with each flood a layer of sediment is added to the soil. As a result,
the land rises with the same rate as the river. After dikes have been constructed,
no sediment deposition takes place any more in the river plains behind the dikes.
Instead all sediments are deposited between the dikes or transported downstream.
The land no longer keeps up with the rising level of the river bed, increasing the
potential flood damage of the river plain behind the dike. Moreover, the land behind
the dikes is often drained to create more favourable conditions for agriculture and
urban development. The increased particle pressure in the soil causes the land begins
to subside, creating even larger differences between the river level and the land level.
Due to these processes, many delta cities are partly located below the level of the
river or sea and experience serious flood risk as a consequence.
The continuing urbanization process in flood prone areas has led to a large increase in
capital and population in vulnerable areas. As a consequence, flood risk has increased
dramatically. A flood that today would cause a huge damage and loss of life would
have caused much lower damage 100 years ago. The main reason is that both the
population and the amount of capital in the affected area were much lower at that
time. Also the number of extreme floods has risen as figure 1.6 shows. The average
global flood damage is now around 19.2 billion US$ a year.8 The average number of
deaths due to flooding amount to 7508 people per year. These numbers continues
to rise as the conventional way of urbanizing in delta areas continuous. Figure 1.3
shows that the global damage due to natural catastrophes, including flooding, has
risen dramatically over the past decades. The number of natural catastrophes has
also risen sharply as figure 1.4 demonstrates. Looking to the future flood damage
is expected to increase to 48,6 billion US$ per year 2100 only as a result of income
growth and population growth not taking into account the expected effects of climate
change.8 Urbanization in vulnerable coastal plains and river plains will continue and
more buildings and infrastructure will be constructed in these areas. Moreover,
climate change and sea level rise will even make flood plains more vulnerable to
flooding. The OECD has investigated how many people will be exposed to flooding in
2070.9 Figure 1.6 shows that in particular in China and India the number of people that
are exposed will increase. The increase is caused by socio economic development
such as rising living standards and urbanization, but also by the expected impacts of
climate change.
10 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 1.3:
Trends of economic losses (in billion US$) due to natural catastrophes (Munich Re 2012)
Figure 1.4:
Number of natural catastrophes worldwide (Munich Re, 2012)
11 Adaptive urban development
Figure 1.5:
Total number of extreme floods worldwide (Dartmouth Flood Observatory, 2012)10
Figure 1.6:
Top 15 countries by population exposed to flooding today and in 2070 (Nicholls et al (2007) and OECD, Paris)
12 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
1.3 Urbanization and land scarcity
Next to increasing flood risk, urbanization in delta areas also increases land scarcity.
Urbanization converts agricultural land into urban areas. One effect of growing delta
cities is therefore the reduction of productive agricultural land. At the same time, these
growing cities require more agricultural land to supply food and other resources to the
rising number of inhabitants with increasing living standards.
Modern cities can only survive by an agricultural system that is based on massive input
of energy, water and artificial fertilizer. For example, an amount of 10 kJ of fossil fuels
is needed to produce and deliver 1 kJ of food to a consumer in the US.11 Such a food
supply system can only exist with relatively cheap fossil fuels, which soon will no longer
be available. Biofuels are often mentioned as sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
However, biofuels require large amounts of land and water and compete with food
crops for these resources. The growing market for biofuels therefore leads to an even
a greater demand for agricultural products and drives up food prices.
Figure 1.7 shows that humanity now uses 1.5 times the resources than the globe can
provide in a sustainable way. This means that the natural resources are being depleted
faster than they are replenished. It is estimated that in 2050, the equivalent of 3 planets
are used to supply the world population with their needs. This means population
growth and the rise of welfare associated with urbanization leads to an enormous lack
of space, in particular in delta areas where most of the urbanization takes place.
Figure 1.7:
Ecological footprint of the world population.12
13 Adaptive urban development
The large ecological footprint is mainly caused by cities, because this is the place
where most resources are consumed. Cities cause 70% of humanities ecological
footprint12. Delta cities generally also have a large ecological footprint. Figure 1.8
shows the ecological footprint of various delta cities. The figure demonstrates that
the area needed to sustain these cities is much larger than the city itself.
Figure 1.8:
The ecological footprint drawn to scale of various delta cities (DeltaSync, 2012)13
14 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
1.4 The impact of urbanization on the urban water system
Next to flood problems, urbanization also alters the natural water cycle and creates
urban water management problems. Figure 1.9 shows that the urban water system
consists of components that are closely related. Therefore it is important to apply
a systems perspective when investigating problems in the urban water system.
Traditionally, urban runoff is transported out of the city as quickly as possible. For
this purpose, predominantly combined sewer systems have been implemented in
most Dutch cities and other delta cities. In these systems, stormwater is transported
with wastewater in the same pipe. During heavy rainstorms the capacity of the sewer
system is not sufficient to transport all runoff. In that case, combined sewer overflows
(CSO’s) take place. This leads to the emission of diluted wastewater and sewage
sludge to the urban surface water, decreasing the water quality of the urban surface
water. To deal with this problem currently separate systems are mostly constructed
in new urban areas to transport stormwater runoff and wastewater. In existing urban
areas disconnection of paved surfaces from the sewer system takes place to prevent
CSO emissions to the surface water system. More water storage capacity is created
to prevent pluvial flooding.
Figure 1.9:
Schematization of the urban water system with a combined sewer system14
In general, urbanization converts permeable natural soils into paved surfaces and
roofs while vegetation is removed. This process decreases evaporation, decreases
infiltration whereas runoff is increased. Due to the high amount of runoff, urban
15 Adaptive urban development
pluvial flooding and erosion of natural streams takes place. Urban runoff is also
polluted due to building materials, traffic pollutants and other sources. Even at low
levels of urban development, the discharge of urban runoff by centralised collection
and transportation systems has detrimental effects on aquatic ecosystems.15 Reported
effects on receiving waters include: flooding, erosion, sedimentation, temperature
rise, dissolved oxygen depletion, eutrophication, toxicity, and reduced biodiversity.
1.5 Scarce water resources and land subsidence
As cities in delta areas grow and industry develops, often the available surface water
is no longer sufficient to deliver the rising water demand. Either the available quantity
is no longer sufficient, or the decreasing water quality causes a water shortage.
The extraction of groundwater resources is often the next step. Located in deeper
layers, groundwater resources are not yet impacted by the effects of urbanization. A
combination of water extraction from the groundwater and reduced water infiltration
due to urbanization leads to a situation where groundwater extraction takes place at
a rate that exceeds the natural replenishment. The groundwater table decreases and
the pore pressure in the soil particles increases, leading to land subsidence. Excessive
water use for irrigation has caused massive water extraction from groundwater layers
and rivers. As an example, an equivalent of 130 million people in China and 175 million
people in India are being fed with grain irrigated with water that is being pumped out
of aquifers faster than it can be replaced.17 Overexploitation of groundwater resources
in delta areas has also led to land subsidence and saltwater intrusion in many delta
cities such as Jakarta, Bangkok, Shanghai and Venice. In Jakarta, Indonesia, land
subsidence of 20 cm to 200 cm has been reported in various locations and land
subsidence rates of more than 10 cm a year are not uncommon.18 As a result, large
parts of the cities have subsided below the sea level. The flood risk in such cities
increases as a consequence.
Due to overexploitation of water resources in delta areas, some rivers no longer reach
the sea anymore because all water is extracted for irrigation and drinking water
extraction. Examples are the Colorado River and Rio Grande in the United States
and the Yellow River in China. In other rivers such as the Nile in Egypt and the Indus
in Pakistan, the discharge has considerably dropped.19 Because river flow is severely
reduced or even eliminated, salt water intrusion threatens several coastal areas. The
productivity of these areas decreases, which further puts food production under
16 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 1.10:
Situation in Jakarta, Indonesia. The housing area on the left has subsided below sea level and is only
protected by a low flood wall (picture: Piet Dircke, 2012)
1.6 Nutrient problem of delta cities
Nitrogen is available in large quantities in the atmosphere. It is used to produce
artificial fertilisers through ammonia synthesis (Haber Bosch process). Industrial
ammonia synthesis is vital for global food production to sustain the current size of
human population. However, it has led to radical changes in the environment, including
water and air pollution and a loss of biodiversity due to a huge increase in ammonia
production.20 The use of artificial fertilizer and extraction of water for irrigation
has huge impacts on the ecosystems in river basins. The excessive use of fertilizers
leads to eutrophication of water systems which is characterized by an abundance of
nutrients that can lead to excessive growth of phytoplankton and algae, which leads
to oxygen depletion destroying aquatic life in affected areas. Notwithstanding the
excess of nutrients in delta areas due to eutrophication, the depletion of nutrients in
particular phosphate is a serious risk for the food security of cities. Nutrients such
as phosphate are nitrate are critical to food supply. Currently, the global food supply
depends on artificial fertilizers. The production of most fertilizers is based on mining
of finite reserves of rock phosphate. Proven phosphate reserves are sufficient for 100
years of economic use.21 At the same time, local urban nutrient sources, in particular
local wastewater streams are hardly used.
17 Adaptive urban development
1.7 A parasitic metabolism
The metabolism of current cities resembles the behaviour of parasites. The cities
use food, energy, and various other resources from surrounding areas and areas
elsewhere. Moreover they are growing rapidly by taking up productive land. In the
cities, the imported resources are used and changed into material waste, CO2, heat
and wastewater. These waste streams are not used in a productive way. Instead the
waste products and their negative effects are disposed to the surrounding areas.
The parasitic behaviour of cities is characterized by linear resources flows that
lead to depletion of resources and accumulation of negative effects of urbanization
in ecosystems. Therefore, there is an urgent need for cities in general and delta
cities in particular to transform into productive cities that live in balance with the
rural surroundings and the ecosystem. The metabolism of such cities should be
characterized by cyclic resource flows and productive use of waste streams to reduce
the impact on ecosystems.
1.8 Overview of the problem and an outline of the solution
Urbanization in delta areas causes an increasingly severe flood problem. The process
is also heavily constrained by the availability of space, food, energy and other
resources. Moreover, conventional urbanization leads to degradation of land and
ecosystems. Increasing the efficiency of agriculture is needed but will not be enough
to keep up with the rising demand for food, biofuels and carbon capturing. In addition
to increase the agriculture production, often more water extraction, more fertilizers
and more energy is needed. This will again increase rather than decrease the
ecological footprint of cities. Therefore, the problem that is caused by the parasitic
behaviour of delta cities needs to be addressed both in the delta cities itself, and in
their future expansions. What is needed are cities that:
¬ Increase land availability rather than create land scarcity
¬ Decrease flood risk rather than create flood risk
¬ Produce energy, food, water and nutrients instead of only consuming resources
and producing waste
¬ Have positive impact on ecosystems and create ecological habitat rather than
degrade ecosystems
This is the outline of productive cities with a cyclic resource metabolism, also called
adaptive urban development in this book. It will be discussed in more detail in the
next chapter.
18 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
19 Adaptive urban development
02. Adaptive urban development
on land:
transforming existing cities
“You never change things by fighting the existing
reality. To change something, build a new model that
makes the existing model obsolete.” – Richard Buckminster Fuller
Adaptive urban development is the design, construction and continuing evolution of
urban areas to anticipate and react to changes in the environment and society. These
changes include both processes within the city itself and external developments. The
previous chapter presented four general objectives of adaptive urban development.
These four general objectives are used in this book to discuss adaptive urban
development on land (this chapter) and adaptive urban development on the water
(next chapter). Concrete examples are given about the urban development process
in Rotterdam and other delta cities. After discussing the four objectives, this chapter
will elaborate on the feasibility and knowledge gaps. Finally the realization process in
will be discussed.
2.1 Increase land availability
One of the main objectives of adaptive urban development is to solve the scarcity of
land in delta areas in general and delta cities in particular.
Urban densification
Urban densification is an important strategy to increase the land availability in delta
cities. Cities that are denser make more efficient use of space and other resources.22
As the distances become smaller in cities that become denser, less energy is needed
for transportation of goods and people. It also increases the walkability of a city and
makes public transport more competitive. The inhabitants will be less dependent on
cars and it will be more likely that people will walk or take the bike.
Urban densification, however, also has some disadvantages. Due to urban densification
there will be a higher amount of paved areas in a city. The result is a faster rainfall
runoff process which will lead to more frequent pluvial flooding. Increasing the
amount of conventional water retention capacity is difficult in such circumstances
because space is lacking. Therefore, urban water management innovations, such
as green roofs, water squares, urban floodplains, stormwater infiltration and water
20 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
retention under buildings are needed to achieve sufficient water storage in high
density cities. Another important objective of urban water management innovations
is to contribute to a better living quality of delta cities for citizens and companies. In
Rotterdam, this is illustrated by the title of the municipal Waterplan 2:’ working on
water for an attractive city.’
Figure 2.1 a & b:
Urban floodplain along the Westersingel in Rotterdam during normal circumstances (left) and intensive
rainfall. An example of realizing water retention capacity while space is scarce (Source: Rotterdam Climate
Multifunctional use of space on the land
Multifunctional space is the use of urban space for more than one function to
increase the efficiency of land use. Integration of urban planning with flood control
strategies is a key component of multifunctional use of space in delta cities. A good
example of such a strategy is the development of superlevees in Japan (figure 2.2).
Due to the high value of buildings and infrastructure along the rivers in Tokyo and
the importance of land ownership, it is not possible to demolish an urban area to
construct a levee. Therefore, superlevees can only be created in combination with
urban renewal projects. During the planning of an urban renewal project along the
river, the river manager is involved and a superlevee is integrated in the urban
renewal plan. Characteristic for this type of planning is the long term perspective.
One segment of superlevee will have no impact on its own in reducing the flooding
probability of the city. This reduction will only be materialized if multiple segments
of superlevees are created and if these segments are connected in order to form
a superlevee riverfront. This will take decades to accomplish. The example of the
superlevee therefore demonstrates the value of integrating water management and
urban planning, and the use of a long term perspective to transform a city in order
to make it flood proof. In Rotterdam, currently a roof park levee is created. It is a
combination of a levee, a green roof and a shopping centre.
21 Adaptive urban development
Figure 2.2:
Illustration of a conventional dike (top) and superlevee (bottom)23
Figure 2.3:
Illustration of the roof park which is integrated with a levee near Marconiplein, Rotterdam24
22 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Multifunctional use of space on the water
Since space is scarce in cities, also the water surface should be used in a multifunctional
way. An example of multifunctional use of the water surface is the construction of
floating buildings. Floating urbanization enables multi-functional use of space in
densely populated areas, without further increasing flood risk. During floods, floating
constructions increase the flood coping capacity of an urban area. No damage to
the construction will occur because floating buildings will adapt to the rising water
level. In addition, these buildings may serve as emergency shelter during flooding.
Because floating houses can be relocated, they are also flexible and reversible, which
is a benefit to deal with uncertain future developments such as climate change.
In delta cities there are currently two main fields of application of floating urbanization.
The first is floating urbanization in port areas that have lost their commercial function.
These are often the shallowest ports that are closest to the city centre. As new deep
sea ports are developed to accommodate modern ships, the industrial activity moves
away to these new ports leaving old ports vacant. Waterfront development and
floating urbanization present a solution to give a new economic function to these
areas. At the same time, urban sprawl is prevented by achieving multifunctional use
of space and urban densification. The second application of floating urbanization in
delta cities is multifunctional use of water retention areas. To adapt to more frequent
extreme weather events, delta cities need to develop a higher amount of surface water
to increase their water retention capacity. Because property value and land costs are
generally high in delta cities and in particular in densely built areas, it is necessary
to also use these new water surfaces in a commercial way. Floating urbanization is a
potential solution to this problem. Part of the newly constructed water can be sold
to future residents or project developers to construct floating buildings. This method
enables the municipality to reclaim part of the costs of developing surface water for
water retention. Various municipalities in the Netherlands, including Delft, Amsterdam
and Rotterdam have already sold water plots or are currently in the process of selling
water plots. Next to floating urbanization in abandoned pot areas and water retention
surfaces, floating urbanization can also create a possibility to expand on the sea. In
the next chapter, this option will be discussed in more detail.
Figure 2.4:
Floating urbanization plan
for the Maashaven, Rotterdam
(DeltaSync, 2010)
23 Adaptive urban development
Next to floating urbanization, another function of urban surface water that can be
promoted is water based public transport. Cities such as Venice have already applied
this concept for a long time. Historically, also Dutch cities used urban water systems
intensively for transportation. In the Netherlands, water was the most important
mode of transportation until the 19th century. In that period, the train became more
important and many canals were filled in, because of hygienic problems and water
pollution. However, in many cities the main water infrastructure is still present. In
addition, many Dutch cities have plans to restore the historic water systems. This
creates opportunities to use the water system again for water based urban transport.
Figure 2.5:
A plan for a water based transport network for Rotterdam (DeltaSync, 2010)25
2.2 Decrease flood risk
Urbanization in flood plains usually increases flood risk because it leads to an increase
in invested capital and people in an area that is threatened by floods. How can we
urbanize in such a way that flood risk is not increased or even decreases the flood
risk of surrounding area? One technical solution is flood proof urban development.
Multiple technical measures are available to construct buildings and infrastructure in
such a way that damage is reduced.1
Wet flood proofing
Wet flood proofing or wet proof construction is a building method that allows
temporary flooding of the lower parts of the building. To prevent damage, preferably
water resistant building materials are applied. Alternatively, materials can be used
that can be easily repaired or replaced.
1 Section 2.2 is based on DeltaSync(2012) Technologies and concepts for flood proofing hotspot buildings. Research developed under the EC FP7
project FloodProBE: technologies for the cost-effective protection of the built environment.
24 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 2.6:
Wet proof method scheme with temporary
escape ways (E. Pasche, 2008).
Dry flood proofing
With dry flood proofing or dry proofing, water is prevented to enter the building. The
building is made waterproof by treating the facades with coatings, using resistant
materials or building materials with a low permeability. Openings in the facades can
be closed with flood shields, panels or doors.
Figure 2.8:
Door barrier (Leven met water, 2008).
Elevation of buildings
Another method to protect a building from floods is to elevate the entire building
above the expected flood level. To enable the continuing functioning of such a
building, the connection to infrastructure should be secured against flooding as well.
Figure 2.7:
Combination of mobile walls and cat walks in Hamburg,
Germany (E. Pasche, 2008).
Figure 2.9:
Pohkit Goh: 'Flood House' (, 2011).
25 Adaptive urban development
Methods to elevate a building a couple of buildings are building on stilts and building
on mounds.
Figure 2.10.
Office building on stilts in Amsterdam,
The Netherlands (Fghbank, 2012).
Floating and amphibious constructions
Floating and amphibious structures allow the vertical building movement with the
changing water level while fixing the building at the horizontal location by a mooring
system. While floating structures have water constantly present at the location,
amphibious structures are founded on the ground and have the ability to start floating
as soon as a flood occurs.
Figure 2.12:
Floating houses in Utrecht,
The Netherlands (W. Lindemans, 2009).
Figure 2.11:
Buildings on stilts in Trondheim,
Norway (Allshesaysis., 2010).
Figure 2.13:
Floating Pavilion under construction in Rotterdam,
The Netherlands (Deltasync, 2010).
26 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 2.14:
Amphibious dwellings in Maasbommel,
The Netherlands
(, Rijkswaterstaat/Rens Jacobs, 2004).
Temporary and permanent barriers
By constructing either temporary or permanent barriers, buildings can be protected
against flooding. Temporary barriers are installed if a flood is predicted while
permanent barriers such as dikes or flood walls are permanently installed around a
Figure 2.16:
Multiple examples of temporary flood barriers
Figure 2.15:
Amphibious house in New Orleans, Louisiana,
USA (DeltaSync, 2012).
27 Adaptive urban development
Figure 2.17:
Dutch dike along the Waal
(, Rijkswaterstaat,
Ruimte voor de Rivier/Martin van Lokven, 2010).
Design considerations of flood proofing measures for hotspot buildings
For floods with a low flood level of less than 1 metre, wet proofing, dry proofing,
stilts, mounds or temporary barriers are the most suitable solutions. For dry flood
proofing, in that case, only the lowest 1 metre of the building has to be made flood
proof. Temporary barriers are only useful if the flood can be predicted. They are
most suitable for short floods, for instance with a duration of days or weeks, and
a relatively low flood level. A mound is a good solution for low flood levels. In that
case the costs for ground displacement are relatively low. For a flood with duration of
weeks or months this solution seems appropriate.
Wet proofing is a possible solution when short periods of floods are expected and
the expected frequency of flooding is comparably low. Permanent barriers may be
a good strategy for flood levels lower than one floor that occur frequently. Also in
case floods cannot be predicted, permanent barriers can be a preferable option. For
high flood levels that exceed 3 metres, floating and amphibious constructions can be
useful options. Contrary to most other flood proofing technologies, the costs of these
technologies hardly increase with the flood depth. Floating and amphibious building
can adjust easily to changing water levels. Both technologies are most appropriate
for longer flood duration. With stilts it is possible to de-sign and construct a building
above the expected flood level. Stilts can be applied for different flood durations and
flood levels. However, elevation on stilts creates multiple use of space. It is therefore
more appropriate if the expected flood levels are higher than one floor. In that
case the ground floor can be used for another function such as parking. Figure 2.19
summarizes the design considerations as a function of flood duration and flood depth.
Figure 2.18:
House with dike in Vicksburg, Mississippi,
USA (Huffington Post, 2011).
28 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 2.19:
Flood proofing concepts for hotspot buildings (DeltaSync, 2012)
Critical infrastructures and hotspot buildings
Multiple technical measures are available to protect ordinary buildings from flooding.
However, to secure the functioning of entire urban areas during a flood, it is key that
also critical infrastructures are protected. Critical infrastructures such as electricity
networks, water supply, communication and transportation are vital for the continuing
functioning of urban areas during floods. Hotspot buildings within these networks
include power stations, water treatment plants, control centres of public transport,
waste water treatment plants, fire fighting stations and hospitals. The availability and
functioning of hotspot buildings is needed to maintain daily life as normal as possible
during floods but is also required for fast and effective recovery after flood disasters.
The flood vulnerability therefore largely depends on the degree in which both high
value assets and critical urban infrastructure are affected, either directly or indirectly.
In the FP7 project FloodProBE the feasibility and cost effectiveness of flood proofing
vulnerability hotspots has been studied. A result of the research is shown in table 2.1.
This table presents and overview of feasible and unfeasible flood proofing concepts
for different types of hotspots.
29 Adaptive urban development
Table 2.1:
Flood proofing concepts for vulnerability (R= retrofit, can be applied on existing building) (DeltaSync, 2012)
Drinking water
Sewage water
Substations, surface
Substations, building
Energy storage
Fire stations
Police stations
Communication centres
Food distribution
Financial buildings
Bus station
Train station
platform and tracks
Metro station
30 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
2.3 Produce resources
To deal with the challenge of energy scarcity and to reduce the negative impact of
cities on the environment it is key that cities abandon the linear resource flows. To
move towards cyclic resource flows cities will have to use their internal sources of
water, energy and nutrients first before they extract resources from other areas. This
does not mean a city should become an isolated completely self supporting system.
However, cities should use their internal resources in an optimal way.
Using the urban water system as a source
Urban water systems can be valuable source of water, energy and nutrients. Rainwater,
for instance is a resource that is often not utilized in most cities, instead it is mainly
converted into wastewater in combined sewer systems. However rainwater has many
opportunities of application. For example it can be used for flushing toilets or to
irrigate green spaces. In a city there are usually many impermeable surfaces that can
be used to collect rainwater in storage systems, for example in underground tanks.
The extraction of external water resources can be reduced by applying this strategy.
Figure 2.20 shows how in the Tokyo Dome, Japan, rainwater runoff is captured and
used in the building.
Figure 2.20:
Scheme for capturing and using of rainwater in Tokyo Dome, Japan26
31 Adaptive urban development
Instead of transporting rainwater runoff as quickly as possible outside the city
by sewer systems, water can also be infiltrated to the groundwater, adding to the
groundwater storage of the city. In many cities this is now widely applied and a wide
variety of technologies is available for this purpose such as bioretention systems,
raingardens, permeable pavements, planter boxes but also infiltration of rainwater
to deeper groundwater layers by Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR). In Australia
landscape architecture, water management and transition management have been
combined in a new discipline of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) which is now
commonly used across Australia to reflect a new paradigm that aims to achieve that
water environment and infrastructure service design and management opportunities
are being considered in the earliest stages of the decision making process that is
associated with urban planning and design. The concept of WSUD is a holistic urban
water management approach that encompasses all aspects of integrated urban water
cycle management, including water supply, sewerage, and stormwater management.
The objectives of WSUD include:
¬ Reducing potable water demand through water efficient appliances, rainwater
and greywater re-use.
¬ Minimising wastewater generation and treatment of wastewater to a standard
suitable for effluent reuse opportunities and/or release to receiving waters.
¬ Treating urban stormwater to meet water quality objectives for reuse and/or
discharge to surface waters.
¬ Preserving the natural hydrological regime of catchments.
Urban wastewater streams contain high amounts of phosphate and nitrates that
could be used as fertilizer for agriculture. On the longer term, this is crucial because
the proven reserves of phosphate are finite. Instead of burning wastewater sludge,
nutrients should be recovered and cities can become a net producer of useful
fertilizers for agriculture. The cycle can be closed even more by encouraging urban
agriculture with locally produced fertilizers. Many cities now see a fast increase of
urban agriculture. In Rotterdam there are already 14 locations for urban agriculture.
This development can assist in making cities less dependent on external food supply
and at the same time create a market for locally produced fertilizer.
Next to using urban water systems as a source for water supply and nutrients, they
can also function as a source of energy. Possibilities include the use of wastewater
for biogas production, recovering heat from wastewater streams by heat pumps, and
using the urban groundwater and surface water systems as a source of heat. In the
Paleiskwartier in ‘s Hertogenbosch a pond is used to collect solar energy in summer.
Heat from this pond is stored in an aquifer thermal energy storage, and is used in
winter for heating the houses, offices and apartments in the area. The required
surface water area per house is 70 to 90 m2 to collect enough heat.28
32 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 2.21 a&b:
Capturing, treatment and infiltration of rainwater runoff from roads in Melbourne (left) and Perth (right)
Figure 2.22:
Paleiskwartier Den Bosch, a shallow pond is used as heat collector for the nearby apartments.
(Photo: E. Aparicio, 2008).
33 Adaptive urban development
2.4 A positive impact on ecosystems
Using nutrients, CO2 and other waste in a productive way will reduce the impact of
cities on the environment. The urban metabolism will have a more cyclic character,
less waste will be disposed to the surrounding area and fewer resources will be
extracted. However, cities can also themselves be a valuable part of an ecosystem
and create habitat. In cities the biodiversity can be even higher than in rural areas
with monocultures of agricultural crops. Urban water systems can form a connection
between different nature areas as they offer a migration route for fish and other
animals. A good example is the Blue Connection (Blauwe Verbinding) in Rotterdam.
This is a water connection of 13 kilometres between Barendrecht, a new landscape
park in Albrandswaard and the south of Rotterdam. At the same time the connection
has recreational functions and serves as water retention storage. Next to urban water
systems, also buildings can be used to create habitat by the development of green
roofs and green walls.
2.5 Feasibility and knowledge gaps
In this chapter many possibilities have been discussed for cities to become more flood
proof, reduce land scarcity, produce resources and create ecological habitat. Most of
the possibilities were illustrated with practical examples of realized projects. However,
for flood proof urbanization, most of the examples were limited to individual buildings.
There is a lack of knowledge how these technologies and concepts could be used
to develop an integral concept for flood proof neighbourhoods or cities. Scaling up
flood proofing technologies beyond the scale of an individual building is an important
field of research for the coming years. Such a study should also take into account
critical infrastructures and hotspot buildings within these infrastructures. Flood proof
buildings are not sufficient to make a flood proof city as critical infrastructures should
also function during a flood to maintain daily life. Also the interdependencies between
different critical infrastructures play a key role.29 A system to evaluate and select
different flood proofing options for critical infrastructures should also be developed.
Although technologies and concepts are available for delta cities to transform
into adaptive cities, the actual implementation remains limited to small scale pilot
projects with small overall impact on the urban system. Therefore, more knowledge
is needed what the required skills, capacities and development methods are that
cities would need to transform successfully into cities that are less vulnerable to
flooding, produce resources, create ecological habitat and deal with land scarcity.
An international classification of delta cities in different stages of development
and research on strategies to progress from one stage to the following stage are
needed. Also more insight needs to be built on which capacities are needed for
cities to implement adaptation measures. An international research network with
climate adaptation centres in delta cities worldwide would be useful to facilitate joint
research, knowledge exchange and capacity building.
34 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
2.6 Research agenda
In this chapter, knowledge gaps have been identified for adaptive urbanization
on land. These knowledge gaps will be addressed in the coming years. Within the
research centre RDM Sustainable Solutions which is a part of Rotterdam University of
Applied Sciences, these gaps of adaptive urban development will be studied in close
collaboration with government organizations, NGO’s and entrepreneurs, SME’s and
large companies. For this purpose a four years research agenda for adaptive urban
development and water management has been developed that includes the following
topics.30 This agenda fits in the overarching strategic plan of the research centre.31
Table 2.2
Adaptive urban development on land research projects that will be executed in the coming years to address
knowledge gaps that were discussed in this chapter
Knowledge gaps
Large scale strategies for protecting hotspot buildings
and critical infrastructures
Integral concepts of flood proof neighbourhood
Contribution of innovative water management concepts
on system wide change
Development methods and strategies to transition to
stages of development of water cities
Required skills and capacities to organise climate
adaptation processes
Comparison between transition processes in delta cities
with regard to climate adaptation
Protecting Vulnerability Hotspots
in Critical Infrastructure
Innovative flood proofing
Innovations in urban water management
Rotterdam as entrepreneurial water
and adaptation showcase
Organising adaptation capacities
in delta cities
Climate change adaptation delta centres
2.7 Realization process: Rotterdam and other delta cities
What determines if innovations are applied and eventually become mainstream
practice? Recent research gives an outline of important factors.32
Including innovations in spatial development
First, innovations should be included in spatial development processes. For this
purpose, water managers and spatial planners should collaborate in long term vision
35 Adaptive urban development
development. A study on Rotterdam Watercity 2035 shows that cooperation between
disciplines can lead to a change in perception in which both disciplines became
convinced of the benefits of cooperation.33 To successfully integrate flood control
and urban planning, the role of water managers in spatial development processes
should change from a reactive role at the end of the spatial development process
toward a role where the water manager takes more initiative. By taking this approach,
water resources and flood control interests can be included much earlier in the spatial
development process. In the Netherlands, Waterboard De Stichtse Rijnlanden has
taken such an initiative by developing a spatial plan for a flood proof urban district.
This district includes multiple flood proofing concepts such as wet flood proofing, dry
flood proofing, amphibious housing, floating housing, developing flood shelters and
building on stilts.
Stakeholder receptivity
A second factor that determines if innovations are applied is stakeholder receptivity.
Jeffrey and Seaton34 defined receptivity as “the extent to which there exists not only a
willingness (or disposition) but also an ability (or capability) in different constituencies
(individuals, communities, organisations, agencies, etc) to absorb, accept and utilise
innovation options. For mainstreaming of new professional practices and alternative
technological options, four attributes are required according to the receptivity
¬ Awareness: being aware that a problem exists, and that alternative options
are available
¬ Association: associate these options with the stakeholders own agenda and
¬ Acquisition: being able to acquire, implement, operate and maintain the
alternative options
¬ Application: having sufficient legal and financial incentives to apply the
alternative options
Receptivity means that stakeholders need to be open to the concepts that are
developed by change agents in envisioning processes. In Rotterdam, water manage-
ment traditionally received little priority. Urban planners discovered that water had
the potential to make the city more attractive to citizens and companies.35 This
created a willingness to include water innovations in urban planning. Solutions that
were developed in the Rotterdam Watercity 2035 process were seen as a potential
contribution to the urban challenge. As a result, politicians were willing to support
the vision. The waterboards saw the vision as an opportunity to realise their water
retention objectives in an urban environment where space for water retention is
scarce. As a consequence, many ideas that were developed in Rotterdam Watercity
2035 were eventually included in official water management policy and are now being
implemented in practice.
36 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 2.23:
Rijnenburg during normal operation: plan developed by a waterboard for a flood proof urban district
(DeltaSync/Waterboard Stichtse Rijnlanden, 2011)
Figure 2.24:
Rijnenburg during extreme weather event: plan developed by a waterboard for a flood proof urban district,
(DeltaSync/ Waterboard Stichtse Rijnlanden, 2011)
37 Adaptive urban development
Improving innovations
Innovations in water management, energy and construction that require a new way
of working, new skills and new knowledge will not easily be adopted even if they
are technically and economically feasible. Innovations are often isolated showpieces
that hardly contribute to the overall transformation of the urban water system.3 6
These innovations are hardly evaluated and improved. Neither does replication of
demonstration projects take place on a large scale. Therefore, they remain isolated
and fail to influence mainstream day to day urban water management practice.
Brown and Keath have argued that sustainability practitioners and strategists should
focus more on providing the capacities and tools for replication and improvement of
demonstration projects rather than just the demonstration of technology itself.37 For
a successful transition from current cities to flood proof ecocities, it is essential to
make innovations more competitive compared to mainstream practices. In Rotterdam,
RDM Campus aims provides an environment for improving innovations to be able
to compete with mainstream practice. At the same time students and practitioners
gain new skills and knowledge that will enable them to work in this new market of
sustainable technologies.38
Creating a commercial market
It is necessary to create a commercial market for innovations in order to realize flood
proof ecocities. At this moment, there are hardly any incentives for developers and
citizens to demand local water management and energy innovations. Such incentives
could be created by awards, subsidies, increased competition among developers, and
binding targets and regulations with regard to water management for instance on
water robust buildings, source control, water quality, quality of the urban landscape,
and integration with water management. For citizens, waterboard taxes should be
made dependent on the surface of connected paved area to the sewer system to
stimulate local water retention and water use on private property.
The task of designers
In a spatial development process with a more important role for citizens, the role of
the designer will change from a determining role to a facilitating and inspiring role.
Co-design with citizens becomes an important approach to develop solutions that are
feasible from a societal point of view. The role of design is not to produce a blueprint
for a future situation, but to inspire stakeholders to take the direction towards flood
proof ecocities. Additionally, the role of design is to provide input for discussions and
stakeholder involvement. The Rijnhavenpark, a project that is discussed in chapter 4
of this book, is a good example of this approach.
New roles for professionals and citizens
The capacity of urban professionals and citizens to perform different roles than the
traditional roles, is an enabling factor for realizing flood proof ecocities. For example,
using the urban water system for new functions implies that urban water managers
and citizens will have to fulfil new tasks that are unfamiliar to them. An example of a
new role is the waterboard as a developer of water plots for floating urbanisation. The
water utility company may become a facilitator of local water supply. A possibility is
38 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
that local water treatments are owned by residents and that the water utility develops
a new business model based on supplying technology and service contracts.
Institutional mechanisms
Professionals should no longer be rewarded based on effective execution of their
fragmented statutory tasks, short term targets and costs minimisation. Instead, they
should be judged on their contribution to the total system performance and long term
targets. This creates room for stakeholders to be involved in long term collaborative
projects. To secure public interests, selection of urban development partnerships
should be based on costs, quality and system impacts rather than costs only. This
should be supported by a management culture that is leadership driven rather than
responsibility driven. Such a culture requires that professionals will have to do what
is considered beneficial instead of doing what is legally prescribed. These changes
will increase the potential of sustainability innovations to breakthrough to day-to-day
professional practice.
39 Adaptive urban development
03. Adaptive urban development
on the water:
floating cities
“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to
the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going
back from whence we came.” – John F. Kennedy
The previous chapter presented concepts and technologies for adaptive urban
development of existing cities on the land. These technologies and concepts can be
applied in city expansions or in urban renewal projects in existing cities. This chapter
will elaborate on developing an entirely new model of a city by making use of floating
urbanization. The chapter is structured around the same objectives of adaptive urban
development that were discussed in the previous chapter.
¬ Increase land availability rather than create land scarcity
¬ Decrease flood risk rather than create flood risk
¬ Produce energy, food, water and nutrients instead of only consuming resources
and producing waste
¬ Have positive impact on ecosystems and create habitat rather than degrade
Similar as the previous chapter, at the end of this chapter the feasibility and knowledge
gaps, and the realization process will be discussed.
3.1 Increase land availability
To understand the necessity of constructing floating cities for land availability, first
the global impact of conventional land based urbanization needs to be understood.
At present, there are about 3.5 billion city dwellers living on an estimated 2 million
square kilometres of land. This is an average density of 1750 inhabitants/km2.
Notwithstanding the objective of urban densification that was discussed in the
previous section, data shows that the urban density has actually been declining with
the rising population over the past decades.39 Until 2100, 5 billion city dwellers will be
added to the global urban population. With rising living standards, people generally
require more space. If still the estimation is made that this process will take place with
the same density, another 2.85 million square kilometres of land are needed. This
new urban areas equals 69 times the total area of the Netherlands, or more than half
of the total land area of the European Union.
40 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
As cities grow, they generally use fertile cropland for this purpose because this is the
area that is mostly located around cities. At this moment, there is a total area of 16 million
square kilometres of croplands in the world.40 Losing 2.85 million square kilometres
of cropland to new urban areas means a reduction of 18% of fertile cropland. At the
same time the demand for food will rise dramatically due to the growing cities, rising
living standards and increasing popularity of biofuels. It is estimated that already by
2050 global food supply needs to increase with 70% to 100% compared to current
levels to achieve global food security.41 The remaining cropland should become 2 to
2.5 times as productive as current productivity to achieve this. To achieve this growth,
an annual productivity growth of 2 to 2.4% over the next 38 years is needed. However,
figure 3.1 shows that the productivity growth of agriculture, is already declining for
decades. The required fresh water resources and fertilizers to support the needed
doubling of agricultural productivity are also lacking. From the perspective of land
availability and food security, it is therefore not feasible to accommodate 5.0 billion
additional city dwellers in new urban areas on the land.
Figure 3.1:
Productivity growth in
agriculture has already
been declining for some
Figure 3.2:
Global land availability, in
2050, the world lacks an
estimated 22 million square
kilometres, or more than two
times China. If the required
CO2 compensation is taken
into account, the shortage is
even much larger
(DeltaSync, 2012)
41 Adaptive urban development
A more feasible strategy that is proposed in this book, is to urbanize on the sea. About
70% of the earth surface is sea. This area is not yet optimally used. Only 0.8% of the
global sea surface is needed to accommodate 5.0 billion people in floating cities at
the same average urban density as current land based cities. This density can be
easily achieved because the average density of urban areas is quite low. Urbanization
on the sea would keep the fertile croplands around current cities in existence. These
croplands are urgently needed to produce the required food in the next century.
3.2 Decrease flood risk
Besides addressing the problem of land scarcity, floating cities are also an interesting
solution for reducing flood risk. No damage to the construction will occur because
floating buildings will adapt to the rising water level. In addition, floating cities may
serve as emergency shelter for urban areas nearby during major flood disasters
that are more frequently taking place. Because floating cities can be relocated,
they are also flexible and reversible, which is a benefit to deal with uncertain future
developments such as climate change. As described in the first chapter, the increase
in flood risk is mainly due to urbanization, socio economic changes and more extreme
weather events. Income rise and population rise will lead to an increase in yearly
flood damage to about 30 billion US$ in 2100. Floating urbanization is an alternative
strategy that does not increase flood risk. Therefore, on a global scale the economic
benefits of floating urbanization are in the order of magnitude of multiple billion
dollars every year by preventing a rise in yearly flood damage.
3.3 Produce resources
Next to reducing flood risk, floating cities can play a key role in increasing global
food supply and global energy production by productively using waste products of
land based cities. Cities on land produce CO2, heat and nutrients as waste products.
These waste products could be used by floating cities to produce food and biofuels.
Around floating cities, floating algae farms and seaweed farms could be constructed
that protect the floating city against waves. They will absorb the CO2 and nutrients
waste of the land based delta cities and at the same time produce biofuels and food
resources for the floating city and land based cities.
Algae biomass production is still in its early years. Biofuel production from microalgae
with lipid contents of around 40% gives a biodiesel yields of 40 to 50 tons per ha
per year42 and by far exceed the most promising yields from land crops.43 Growing
algae to produce biofuel can be 10 to 20 times more productive compared to corn or
Food production, in particular aquaculture can be realized in floating cities. There are
multiple concepts and technologies available for water based food production. The
concept of aquaponics, for instance, can be applied for this purpose. Aquaponics is a
combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. Hydroponics is a method to grow plants
in a liquid solution consisting of water and the required nutrients for a particular
42 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
plant.44 Aquaponics combines plant growing with fish farming in a self contained eco
system. Plants and bacteria use the nutrients that fish create and purify the water.
Both freshwater fish and marine fish can be produced in floating tanks. This is much
more efficient than cattle farming on land to fulfil the world’s rising protein demand.
Aquaculture can be more space efficient as producing meat on the land, the production
of biofuel can be 10 to 20 times as efficient per unit area as biofuel production on the
land. Therefore placing these activities on the ocean makes space available on the
land for instance to create nature again out of croplands. Another huge benefit is that
less fresh water resources are needed for this type of production. Figure 3.3 shows
that if it is possible to make the combined development of cities, food production and
biofuel on the sea 50 times more efficient than average land productivity by closing
the loop and the application of best practices, only 0.15% of the oceans is needed and
a third of the current agricultural area on land can be taken out of production.
Figure 3.3:
Blue revolution: locating a part of the urban
areas on the ocean and replacing inefficient
food production on land by efficient sea based
production (DeltaSync, 2012)
43 Adaptive urban development
Floating cities are the missing link to close the linear resource flows that characterize
the current delta cities. Because the proposed method of aquaculture can be based
on salt water and uses waste nutrients from delta cities instead of artificial fertilizers,
it is one of the few possibilities to increase the global food and biofuel production
without increasing the extraction of fresh water resources and rock phosphate. This
concept of a floating city based on cyclic resource flows is called the cyclicity (DeltaSync,
2012). Figures 3.4 - 3.6 illustrate the concept. In the cyclicity blue energy45 can be
produced by making use of the osmotic pressure between fresh water and salt water.
Also the concept to use water for heating and cooling of buildings by applying heat
pumps that was described in the previous chapter, can be applied in the floating city.
In floating cities that are near the deep ocean, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion
(OTEC) can be applied as an additional energy source.46
Figure 3.4
Scheme of the Cyclicity. Waste from delta areas is used for production of food and energy creating a
symbiotic relation between the land based city and the floating city (DeltaSync, 2012).
44 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 3.5:
Impression of the Cyclicity. (DeltaSync, 2012).
3.4 A positive impact on ecosystems
By extracting nutrients and CO2 from the surroundings, floating cities already have
positive impact on the ecosystems in delta areas. Extracting CO2 will also be a measure
against the increasing acidity of the sea water, which is a major threat to coral reefs
worldwide.47 Also an excess of nutrients in delta areas has a negative impact on
marine ecosystems, an impact which is reduced by the cyclicity concept. In a cylicity,
the productivity per square meter of the aquaponics system is much higher than
the conventional practice of catching (and depleting) stocks of wild fish. The change
from catching wild fish towards aquaculture can be compared with the transition
from hunter gatherer societies to agriculture on the land. This transition increased
the food availability to a great extent. Consequently, a part of the population was
no longer needed for food production and could spend time on the development of
technical innovations, science, culture, religion and political organization. The first
civilizations and cities were the result of this development. It took place on the land
within the last 11,000 years after being hunter gathers for about 7 million years since
the ancestors of modern human beings diverged from the ancestors of the current
great apes.48
45 Adaptive urban development
Figure 3.6:
Current cities have a linear metabolism (top), the cyclicity concept (bottom) creates a closed loop of
nutrients between the land city and the floating city
On the sea, the biggest part of our planet, humanity is still in the hunter gather phase
and should also make the transition to food production in an organized, planned and
structured way. This change is called the Blue Revolution in this book. Because the
food productivity will rise dramatically compared to the current hunter gatherer
practices, only a very small part of the ocean will be needed for food production.
In the remaining part of the ocean marine nature reserves should be created to
protect fish and other species. This strategy will give marine ecosystems a long term
perspective to survival, a perspective that is currently lacking with the global collapse
of fish stocks due to overexploitation and the continuing destruction of coral reefs.
46 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 3.7:
Back where we started from: floating urbanization as a logical next step in human development (DeltaSync,
Floating cities can also provide habitat for multiple species. Most of the marine life
is concentrated in a relatively small fraction of the sea with shallow areas, around
land-water interfaces and near structures such as coral reefs. The construction of
floating cities will make the length of the land-water interface substantially longer
and proportionally increase the ecological potential of the coastline. Around floating
cities wetlands and artificial reefs should be created to protect the floating city from
waves and at the same time create valuable habitat for a wide range of species.
Artificial reefs can be made from recycled materials or waste products such as glass
or metal. Around floating cities in deep water, artificial reefs and wetlands could be
constructed as connected floating or suspending objects. The result would be that
the amount of shallow water would increase and the potential habitat for wildlife
would expand.
47 Adaptive urban development
3.5 Feasibility and knowledge gaps
Is it possible to create floating cities on the sea? Could it really be the solution to
some of humanities most urgent problems such as land scarcity, urbanization and
finite resources? In this chapter the feasibility and knowledge gaps to achieve floating
urbanization will be discussed.
Technical feasibility and gaps
Many floating projects that have been realized demonstrate that is technically possible
to build on the water. Offshore projects such as oil platforms but also large cruise
ships have such a scale that they can almost be considered floating cities. Other
elements such as floating infrastructures, shallow water and deep water mooring
systems, artificial reefs, floating wetlands are already available on the market.
This is also the case for decentralized production technologies of drinking water,
energy and other utilities. The main technical knowledge gap for the development
of floating cities is therefore not the development of new technologies but more the
integration of a huge amount of different existing technologies and the up scaling and
improvement of these technologies. This is the essential challenge for the coming
years. One of the key components of the urban expansion strategy on the water is
the use of waste nutrients and CO2 to produce algae, fish and crops. The technologies
to achieve this are already on the market and rapidly developing. In particular the
further improvement and the integration of these technologies in floating cities is a
gap that needs to be addressed in the coming years.
Design feasibility and gaps
The idea to create floating cities is not new and over the years many designs and
plans have been proposed for floating cities on the sea or inland water. In 1895,
Jules Verne already described a constructed floating island in his novel l’Ile a Hélice.
More recently, a huge amount of innovative designs for floating buildings already
have been made. Most of them could be easily implemented in floating cities. What
is lacking, however, is an urban design philosophy that is specifically developed for
floating cities. Many designs for floating cities are still clearly derived from land based
cities and focused on the building scale. Others have a futuristic character similar to
space ships. Integrated knowledge about urban densities, building typologies and a
broader vision and imagination on how it would actually be to live in a floating city is
still lacking. There is therefore a need to develop urban design instruments that are
specifically accustomed to floating cities. This includes solutions for public space,
separation between public space and private space, mobility and transportation,
densities, land use and above all, more detailed knowledge and understanding about
the possible way of life in floating cities.
48 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 3.8:
Jules Verne, l’Ile a Hélice (1895), in this book
the already a constructed floating island
was described
Figure 3.8:
Jules Verne, l’Ile a Hélice (1895), in this book
the already a first constructed floating island
was described
Environmental feasibility and gaps
Floating cities will be surrounded by wetlands and artificial reefs and create habitat
for many species. Floating cities will also absorb CO2 and nutrients and solve part
of the environmental problems of delta areas on land. One field of knowledge that
still needs to be developed is the impact of floating cities on water quality and
ecology. Creating small platforms creates shading and hiding places for fish. However,
covering water surfaces that are too large could deprive the water from sunlight and
will have negative impacts on plants and fish. This problem could be addressed by
leaving parts of the surface in a floating city open. The knowledge how much water
should be left open and what the maximal size of floating platforms could be without
negative impacts on the water quality and ecology is an area of research that will be
investigated in the coming years.
Economic feasibility and gaps
Floating cities need to have a thriving economy and enough jobs for its inhabitants.
In a globalized economy that is connected through modern information technology,
the location of companies is becoming more and more independent from the
location of the market. Many companies already produce and sell products all over
the world. They could also find an excellent location in a floating city. Floating cities
could be created near international shipping routes, giving companies connectivity
advantages over land based companies. The extensive aquaculture around floating
cities would also generate jobs and create opportunities for high tech companies to
develop and implement new technologies. If floating cities are located outside the
territorial waters, they could benefit from tax benefits and attract many companies
and entrepreneurs. An example of such a plan is BlueSeed, a silicon valley floating
technology incubator that is planned 12 nautical miles from San Francisco to attract
entrepreneurs from all over the world without the need to apply for work visa.
49 Adaptive urban development
Floating cities will not be connected to mainland electricity and water networks.
Mainly decentralized technologies for water and energy production will be used.
Floating cities are a great testing and developing ground for these technologies but
at the same time, they would also be a growing market for them. This will increase
the attractiveness for companies to invest in research and development of these
technologies. Lower costs and a higher quality will be the result. Also jobs will be
created. Ultimately, decentralized sustainable technologies will be better able
to compete with the land based outdated infrastructures that are dependent on
fossil fuel input and were invented during the industrial revolution. Floating cities
therefore also provide the means for land based cities to become more sustainable by
developing a new model of city and generating more efficient and competitive clean
Other economic benefits of floating urbanization are the prevention of flood damage
compared to urbanization on land and saving scarce agricultural land from being
converted into urban space. The conversion of land would ultimately be paid by the
global human population in the form of rising food prices. This is already happening
today. The location acquisition costs to build a city will also be much lower on the sea
than on the land while construction costs will be higher.
Although the general economic feasibility looks promising, the current economic
models for real estate development are probably not suitable for floating city
development. Cities could sell pieces of water in a similar way as they sell plots of
land to real estate developers. However, usually cities are not the owners of the
sea. New economic models need to be studied and developed to support floating
city development. As an alternative to sea acquisition, floating cities could also
rent a coastal location from a certain country. The rent could be paid by delivering
ecological services such as CO2 capturing, biofuel production and waste processing
from cities on land. Such a non-monetary symbiotic economic model could prove to
be of great value as a possible alternative to the current growth dependent global
financial system that is not properly functioning and unsustainable in the long term.
Figure 3.9:
Blueseed: a plan for a floating hi tech startup incubator 12 miles from the coast of San Francisco, USA
50 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Governance feasibility and gaps
How could a floating city be governed? Over the last decades there has been a shift
from top down hierarchical steering (government) towards more network driven
decentralized forms of policy making with multiple actors (governance). Floating cities
offer an opportunity to take this development a step further by using the opportunities
that decentralized technologies offer. In the floating city, decentralized concepts for
water supply, energy production and other utilities are applied. Citizens and groups
of citizens have the opportunity to manage their own utilities and produce electricity
and water instead of only being a passive consumer of large utility companies that
are still dependent on fossil fuels. This will increase the influence of citizens in society
and strengthen their independence compared to their fellow citizens in land-based
cities. Citizens are better capable than ever before to assume such a role. The level of
education and access to technical information has never been as high as it is today.
While ordinary governance structures from cities on the land with municipal councils,
aldermen, a mayor and elections could equally be applied in floating cities, it is
important to notice that the current democratic models that are based on elections
and representations partly stem from the past logistic impossibility to collect all
citizens in one room and allow everyone to speak and vote on a certain issue. With
modern information technology this has become possible. Therefore, in a floating
city, citizens could have much more direct influence on the city governance and
directly vote and discuss certain city issues online. Human behaviour in floating cities
is also a field of research that should be studied. Another knowledge field that should
be investigated is how floating cities could be part of nation states, or alternatively
floating cities on the ocean could constitute their own state and become members of
international organizations such as the United Nations.
3.6 Research agenda
In this chapter, knowledge gaps have been identified for floating urbanization that
need to be addressed in the coming years. Similar to the research projects on
adaptive urban development on land, also project for adaptive urban development on
water have been identified. Table 3.1 provides an overview of these projects and the
knowledge gaps they address.
3.7 Realization process: Rotterdam and other delta cities
How can we get from the current situation towards a future with cities on the sea and
a population of billions of people living on the oceans? The answer to this question
forms a connection between this chapter and the previous chapter. Cities on the land
were not developed in one day. They started as small villages that developed into
cities, a process that sometimes took centuries. Similarly, the first floating districts and
small cities will not be created on the ocean. It is more likely that they will be created
in the current delta cities as part of the land based adaptive urban development
strategy. From that position the scale of floating developments can increase until the
step to the sea and ocean can be made. At the same time, considering the challenges
of land scarcity in the 21st century and the rapid process of urbanization, water based
development should take place faster than it is currently occurring.
51 Adaptive urban development
The city of Rotterdam has included plans for floating districts as part of the municipal
climate adaptation and urban planning policy. Port activities move from the centre
of the city to the west where new ports are being developed to allow for larger ships
to dock. The old port areas and sites will lose their old function, leaving a vast area
directly near the city centre open for redevelopment. This area of 1600 ha is called
the Stadshavens area, and is located outside the dikes. It will be one of the main
locations for the future urban expansion of the city instead of the old strategy of
expanding outwards (suburbanization). Floating urban development presents the
opportunity to create new urban space in the vast area of the old ports that will
become available. Moreover, it makes for a flexible and climate proof solution that
can cope with uncertain future scenarios. Following the realization of the Floating
Pavilion, Rotterdam intends to build 6000 sustainable floating homes over the
next 20 to 40 years.50 Figure 3.11 shows in which ports have been designated by the
municipal policy for floating urbanization on the short term or long term. Compared to
alternatives such as land reclamation, floating structures have a lower impact on the
local environment. Land reclamation can have serious environmental consequences,
such as reduction in biodiversity, erosion and pollution.
Knowledge gaps
Integrating technologies and up scaling from house
to neighbourhood and city level. Integrating floating
aquaculture innovations in floating structures.
Urban design instruments specifically accustomed to
floating cities, including public space, separation, identities,
mobility and possible ways of living in floating cities
Development of new economic models, new methods of
collaboration between research, government, companies
and SME’s, starting pilot projects
Data and understanding about water quality and ecological
impacts, establishing design guidelines based on this
Role of showcases in the development and transition
process of water cities
Floating structures and utilities
Urban design of floating cities
Realizing floating urbanization
Impacts on water quality and ecology
Rotterdam as entrepreneurial water
en adaptation showcase
Table 3.1
Adaptive urban development on water research projects that will be executed in the coming years to
address knowledge gaps that were discussed in this chapter
52 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
Figure 3.10:
The floating pavilion in Rotterdam, the first step towards floating districts
(Photo: R. De Wit, Source: DeltaSync)
Figure 3.11:
Ports in the city of Rotterdam where the municipality facilitates floating buildings on short term (red) and
longer term (orange) (Municipality of Rotterdam, 2011).
53 Adaptive urban development
With RDM AquaDock, a testing, development and demonstration centre is available in
the port of Rotterdam for floating urbanization. AquaDock is located in the Dokhaven
and facilitates the collaboration between education institutes, start up companies,
research institutes and the government. The partners involved in developing the
AquaDock project are City of Rotterdam, Port of Rotterdam Authority and Rotterdam
University. At AquaDock new technologies for floating urbanization can be tested,
improved and scaled up to make the step towards floating districts and eventually,
floating cities. The integration with education and entrepreneurship ensures that a
new generation of floating urbanization experts and companies is delivered that is
needed to develop floating cities in practice.
Figure 3.12:
Vision of AquaDock, a testing and demonstration centre for floating urbanization in Rotterdam (RDM
Campus, 2011)
The example of the Rijnhaven, one of the ports that are designated for floating
urban functions shows how a phased development process could look like. Floating
urbanization has started with the realization of the Floating Pavilion, a floating
exhibition and conference centre that is currently used by the National Water Centre
as the main showcase of the Dutch water expertise. The Rijnhavenpark, a concept for
floating public space combined with a wide range of urban functions was developed
during the past years. The concept includes functions such as: green space, hotel,
restaurant, flexible office space, theatre and stage, and many other functions. The
Rijnhaven project is a first step to develop a portfolio of different urban functions
on the water that are all needed to develop a comprehensive floating city that is
more than a collection of buildings. Instead it would also include public space, public
functions and infrastructure. One of the key characteristics of the concept is the
54 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
flexibility, it is possible to add or expand certain functions following changing societal
requirements and boundary conditions.
Figure 3.13:
Rijnhavenpark in Rotterdam, one of the many possible configurations of this flexible floating urban growth
model (Stichting Rijnhavenpark/DeltaSync, 2011)
Figure 3.14:
One of the many possible public functions in the Rijnhavenpark (Stichting Rijnhavenpark/DeltaSync, 2011)
Other delta cities
Next to Rotterdam, other developed port cities such as the port of London, New York/
New Jersey and New Orleans face similar challenges with regard to the revitalization
of old port areas. Some of these ports, such as the city of New York have already
55 Adaptive urban development
expressed interest in the floating urbanization strategy. It is therefore likely that
the old port areas will be the first location of floating districts. In San Francisco,
the Seasteading Institute is working on the development of floating cities for a new
generation of pioneers to test their ideas on government. In Japan, the Shimizu
corporation has developed a concept for self supporting floating islands with high
rise skyscrapers. The islands could together form a nation of a million inhabitants.
Delta cities that are rapidly expanding in vulnerable flood plains such as Jakarta,
Manila and Ho Chi Minh City could also benefit from floating cities as a strategy to
preserve agricultural land, provide affordable housing and reduce flood risk. A good
opportunity for cooperation and exchanging knowledge on floating urbanization is
Connecting Delta Cities (CDC). The goal of Connecting Delta Cities is to develop a
network of delta cities that are active in the field of climate change related spatial
development, water management, and adaptation, in order to exchange knowledge
on climate adaptation and share best practices that can support cities in developing
their adaptation strategies.
Figure 3.15:
Floating city design with skyscrapers, Japan (Shimizu Corporation)
3.8 A people’s perspective
Do people want to live on the water? Even if creating floating cities might make sense
from a city’s perspective, it still would not work if people would not want to live there.
It seems that people are quite interested to live on the water. Historically, there are
various examples of floating houses including Lake Titicaca in Peru, a floating village
in China and the traditional houseboats in Amsterdam. More recently a market survey
56 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
by USP marketing consultancy indicated that in the Netherlands 30% of the people
considers living in a floating house a ‘serious option’.51
Even in the current housing crisis in the Netherlands, the floating housing market
has declined less than the market for ordinary houses. Living on the water offers
also many possibilities for water recreation and offers a sense of freedom to the
inhabitants. More importantly, floating urbanization also creates the opportunity
for citizens to be actively involved in the water supply, energy production and food
production of their city. This will increase their independency. In land based cities,
citizens face great difficulty to contribute to sustainable development. It is obligatory
to connect to fossil fuel networks and people have to go to the supermarket to buy
food. Current cities are built in such a way that for a significant part of the population
there is no other option than to use the car to go to work. Even if people want to
behave in a sustainable way, our current parasitic cities do not provide the enabling
context to do this. In a floating city, people can be much more involved in energy
production and water supply. They can use water based electrical boats to go to their
work. They do not have to feel guilty that they live in a parasitic city. On the contrary,
the floating city has positive impact on the land based city and the ecosystems.
Also living on the water offers many possibilities for a flexible living style. The location
and the house can be sold separately. In a floating city, it is possible for citizens to
move with their house to a new city or new location within the same city, for instance
if they have found a new job. Alternatively, it is possible to stay at the same location,
sell their house and buy a larger house for the same location, for instance if their
family expands. Floating urbanization therefore offers a much more dynamic lifestyle
that is probably attractive to many citizens.
57 Adaptive urban development
Figure 3.16:
In floating cities people can move with their house to another location. Utilities can be integrated in
infrastructure (DeltaSync/SEV, 2008)
58 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
59 Adaptive urban development
04. Conclusion
“If at first an idea isn't absurd, there's no hope for it.”
– Albert Einstein
It is expected that until 2100 a total of 5 billion people will move to cities. Per day this
means a 150,000 people start to live in a city. In the same period, resources such as
fossil fuels, fresh water resources, phosphates and fertile topsoil are running out. This
unprecedented urbanization process will convert a large part of the fertile croplands
in urban areas. At the same time the food demand from this shrinking productive
area will double due to population increase and rising living standards. Most of
the urbanization will take place in vulnerable delta areas. Global flood damage will
increase from a current 20 billion US$ per year to 50 billion US$ a year on average in
2100. To create a perspective to deal with this huge challenge in the 21st century, two
things are needed. First, the current parasite cities need to transform from parasitic
and vulnerable cities into productive and resilient cities. Transforming the existing
cities, however, will not be enough to deal with the challenges the world is facing.
The second component of the strategy therefore means that a part of the cities and
food production should be located on the sea to create more space. Floating cities
should be surrounded with floating food production to use the waste nutrients and
CO2 from land based cities. The crops, fish and biofuels that are produced will be
partly supplied back to the land based cities and consequently close the nutrient and
carbon cycles at a city level all over the world. This adaptive urban development will
create a symbiosis between cities on land and water in the 21st century.
60 Inaugural lecture Rutger de Graaf
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64 Previous editions
Creating Comfortable Climatic Cities
author Duzan Doepel
ISBN 9789051798005
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Previous editions
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Inaugural Lecture
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Vrijheid en eigen keuzes maken is de huidige generatie met de paplepel ingegoten.
De meeste jongeren zijn dan ook goed in staat hun eigen leven zo in te richten dat
het aangenaam is. Keuzes maken voor een beroepsopleiding, nadenken over de toe-
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De kern is datgene wat er in de klas gebeurt: de pedagogische relatie tussen leraar en
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Deze uitgave bevat een pleidooi voor een kwalitatief hoogwaardige pedagogische relatie
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kun je een ‘excellente’ leraar zijn.
Lectoraat Maatschappelijk Vastgoed
In het lectoraat Pedagogiek van het Beroepsonderwijs werkt lector Piet Boekhoud samen
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als tweede natuur
Pedagogiek als tweede natuur
Over de noodzaak van een kwalitatief
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leraar en leerling in het beroepsonderwijs
ISBN 978 90 5179 760 2
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Over de noodzaak van een kwalitatief
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Piet Boekhoud Pedagogiek als tweede natuur
Maatschappij en
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kets and includes not only import and export but also foreign direct in-
vestments and international cooperation. Today’s globalising economy has
resulted in a growing number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) un-
dertaking international activities. Internationalisation has been shown to
be very benecial for rms. Cross-border activities are an important means
through which SMEs are able to create value, generate growth and access
new knowledge and technologies. A strong relation has also been found
between innovation and internationalisation: innovation may both be ne-
cessary to enter foreign markets as well as be a consequence of a rm’s
foreign market activities. In addition to value creation at the rm-level,
crossborder entrepreneurship is assumed to create wealth at an economy
wide level. With so many evident benets to internationalisation, what don’t
more SMEs internationalise?
In her inaugural lecture Anne van Delft will illustrate the importance of “coope-
ration within networks” in international business. In today’s “network economy”
it is important for rms to leverage their networks. Managing the interplay bet-
ween networks and knowledge will be one of the key challenges for the 21st
century. Cooperation with other rms is especially important for SMEs because
it allows rms to utilise their limited resources in the most efcient way. Some
of the sectors in the Rotterdam region are world leaders but nevertheless their
main competitor might soon come from an emerging market rather than form
within the regional cluster. The benets of cooperation and knowledge sharing
should therefore be exploited fully by SMEs in the Rotterdam region as global
competition increases.
Cooperation within networks
International Business
International Business
Cooperation within networks
ISBN 978 90 5179 810 4
Anne van Delft
Anne van Delft International Business Cooperation within networks
openbare les
Kunst, creativiteit en ondernemerschap in Rotterdam
Culturele diversiteit
Hugo Bongers
In deze tweede inspiratiebundel zijn onder redactie van Sandra Storm-Spuijbroek
en Daphne Hijzen acht gesprekken met docent-onderzoekers gebundeld over
professionalisering en curriculumvernieuwing. Professionalisering en curricu-
lumvernieuwing vormen de belangrijkste redenen waarom lectoraten bijna tien
jaar geleden in het hoger beroepsonderwijs zijn ingevoerd. Reden genoeg voor
docent-onderzoekers om met elkaar in gesprek te gaan over de manier waarop
het doen van onderzoek hun eigen onderwijs heeft versterkt. In de gesprekken
wordt teruggeblikt op de succesfactoren waarmee docent-onderzoekers hun
eigen en andermans professionalisering hebben bevorderd en hoe daarbij een
curriculumonderdeel is vernieuwd. Er wordt ook vooruitgeblikt: Wat is er straks
allemaal nog meer mogelijk als docent-onderzoekers in kenniscentra toegang
krijgen tot veel meer gelijkgestemde collega’s? Welke professionaliseringsmo-
gelijkheden zijn er wanneer ook docenten van andere onderwijsinstituten gaan
Docent-onderzoekers zijn benieuwd hoe docent-onderzoekers bij andere instituten
bezig zijn met het actief en gericht ontwikkelen van zichzelf en collega’s en hoe het
doen van onderzoek zijn weerslag krijgt in het onderwijs. De docent-onderzoekers
hebben elkaars verhalen uitgewisseld over iets waar zij met trots op terugkijken, en
(her)kennen ook de grote moeite die zij daar doorgaans voor hebben moeten doen
om dat te bereiken. Doel van de bundel is om nog meer docenten te inspireren zich
in de toekomst aan te sluiten bij een kenniscentrum. Zodat docenten niet alleen in-
spirerend onderwijs rondom regionale speerpunten ontwikkelen, maar ook zichzelf,
hun studenten, hun collega’s en het werkveld. Het onderzoeksartikel waarmee deze
bundel besluit biedt inzicht in de sleutelfactoren waarmee docent-onderzoekers zijn
gekomen tot professionalisering en curriculumvernieuwing. Het onderzoek biedt
tevens aanknopingspunten waarmee onderwijsmanagers en instituutsdirecties on-
derzoek en onderwijs steviger met elkaar kunnen verbinden.
In deze bundel staan de verhalen van acht docent-onderzoekers: Ada ter Maten-
Speksnijder, Arie de Wild, Arthur van der Molen, Hannah Frederiks, Hanny Groene-
woud, Margriet Clement, Netta van ’t Leven en Nico van Hal. Verder werkten aan
deze bundel mee: Ilse van den Donker, Josephine Lappia, Karen Smits en Willemijn
Digitaal verschijnen de verhalen van: Anita Feleus, Anne Kooiman, Annemieke van
Lieshout, Marina Meeuwisse, Susan Jedeloo, Remco de Vries, Rob Arnoldus en Wil-
lemijn Lofvers.
Gesprekken met
over professionalisering en curriculumvernieuwing
Gesprekken met docent-onderzoekers
over professionalisering en curriculumvernieuwing
ISBN 978 90 5179 7527
Sandra Storm-Spuijbroek en Daphne Hijzen (red.)
Sandra Storm-Spuijbroek en Daphne Hijzen (red.) Gesprekken met docent-onderzoekers over professionalisering en curriculumvernieuwing
openbare les
De taalverwerving op scholen is in verregaande mate verkaveld over verschil-
lende vakgebieden, (deel)vakken, doeltalen en deelcursussen. Bovendien is
deze verkaveling verschillend per schoolsoort. Zo is er in het basisonderwijs
sprake van allerlei verschillende meer of minder cursorische aspecten van het
taalonderwijs Nederlands (naast een beetje Engels). Om de belangrijkste te
noemen: beginnende geletterdheid, aanvankelijk lezen, voortgezet technisch
lezen, leesbevordering, begrijpend lezen, spreken, luisteren, schrijven (ook
wel stellen genoemd), handschrift, grammatica (ook wel taalbeschouwing
genoemd), spelling en woordenschat.
In datzelfde basisonderwijs is het Nederlands tegelijkertijd ook de voertaal en de
instructietaal voor alle overige vakken. Taalverwerving stopt niet bij de taalles,
maar vindt gelukkig ook plaats tijdens het gebruik van de taal in de alledaagse
communicatie en bij het leren van vakinhouden.
Taalverwerving en conceptuele ontwikkeling gaan hand in hand. Maar bij die vak-
lessen, zoals aardrijkskunde, natuurkennis, geschiedenis en wiskunde heeft de
leerkracht geen aandacht voor de wijze waarop leerlingen hun teksten lezen, hoe
ze in de klas een vraag formuleren en hoe ze hun verworven kennis op schrift for-
muleren. De boodschap voor de leerling is: het gaat hier niet om taalverwerving,
maar alleen om je vakkennis. Moeten we dan verbaasd zijn als leerlingen hun ver-
worven taalkennis bij de taalles niet gebruiken in andere contexten?
In deze uitgave schetsen twee lectoren, elk vanuit hun eigen invalshoek, hoe zij
zich een vruchtbare ontkaveling van het taalonderwijs voorstellen, waardoor taal-
verwerving en taalonderwijs -als de belangrijkste doelgerichte vorm van taalont-
wikkelingbeter samengaan dan momenteel op Nederlandse scholen het geval is.
Lectoraat Taalverwerving en Taalontwikkeling
Het lectoraat heeft als voornaamste missie bij te dragen aan de verbetering van
de voorwaarden voor taalverwerving en taalontwikkeling op scholen voor basison-
derwijs, voortgezet onderwijs en middelbaar beroepsonderwijs. Het betreft hier-
bij zowel het expliciete onderwijs in de Nederlandse taal en vreemde talen als de
voorwaarden voor taalontwikkeling die zich voordoen bij andere vakken.
Taalonderwijs; een
kwestie van ontkavelen
Taalonderwijs; een kwestie van ontkavelen
ISBN 978 90 5179 7626
Amos van Gelderen en Erik van Schooten
In deze Inspiratiebundel zijn onder redactie van Josephine Lappia en Jittie
Brandsma acht gesprekken met lectoren over kenniscreatie en kenniscir-
culatie bij elkaar gebracht. Kenniscreatie en kenniscirculatie vormen twee
belangrijke doelstellingen van lectoraten. In de gesprekken wordt terugge-
blikt op de succesfactoren waarmee lectoren kenniscreatie en kenniscircula-
tie tot nu toe hebben gestimuleerd. En er wordt vooruitgeblikt: Hoe kunnen
kenniskringen in gebundelde vorm als kenniscentra nog beter inspelen op de
kansen die voor de Hogeschool Rotterdam voor het oprapen liggen?
De auteurs zijn benieuwd hoe lectoren bezig zijn met het verspreiden en toetsen
van innoverende methoden en praktijken die voortvloeien uit kennisontwikkeling
en hoe zij aandacht besteden aan de exploitatie en ontwikkeling van kennis zodat
deze in het onderwijs en uiteenlopende beroepscontexten kan worden toegepast
en ingevoerd. Aan de vooravond van de bundeling van kenniskringen in kennis-
centra om voldoende focus en massa aan te brengen in onderzoeksverrichtingen,
is de balans opgemaakt. Waar kunnen de lectoren van de Hogeschool Rotterdam
trots op zijn en welke ambities hopen lectoren in de nabije toekomst waar te
maken? De bundel heeft tot doel anderen te inspireren een steentje bij te dragen
aan kenniscreatie en kenniscirculatie tussen hogeschool en samenleving.
De lectoren die meewerkten aan deze inspiratiebundel zijn: Frits Blessing,
Sunil Choenni, Florian Cramer, Chris Kuiper, Kees Machielse, Frank Rieck, Frans
Spierings en AnneLoes van Staa.
Auteurs die aan deze inspiratiebundel meewerkten zijn: Cobi van Beek, Jittie
Brandsma, Carolien Dieleman, Josephine Lappia, Marjon Molenkamp, Johan
Sevenhuijsen, Sandra Storm-Spuijbroek, Paulette Verbist en Wietske Willemse.
Acht gesprekken
met lectoren
over kenniscreatie en kenniscirculatie
Acht gesprekken met lectoren
over kenniscreatie en kenniscirculatie
ISBN 978 90 5179 715 2
Lappia en Brandsma (red.)
Adaptive urban development is the design, construction and continuing
evolution of urban areas to anticipate and react to changes in the envi-
ronment and society. These changes include both processes within the
city itself and external developments.
It is expected that until 2100 a total of 5 billion people will move to cities. Per
day this means a 150,000 people start to live in a city. In the same period
resources such as fossil fuels, fresh water resources, phosphates and fertile
topsoil are running out. This unprecedented urbanization process will con-
vert a large part of the fertile croplands in urban areas. At the same time the
food demand from this shrinking productive area will double due to popula-
tion increase and rising living standards. Most of the urbanization will take
place in vulnerable delta areas.
To create a perspective to deal with this huge challenge in the 21st century,
two things are needed. First, the current parasite cities need to transform
into flood proof ecocities. Transforming the existing cities, however, will not
be enough to deal with the challenges the world is facing. The second com-
ponent of the strategy therefore means that a part of the cities and food
production should be located on the water to create more space.
Rutger de Graaf is civil engineer, entrepreneur and researcher. At the Rot-
terdam University of Applied Sciences he works as professor Adaptive Ur-
ban Development. He is also director and founding partner of DeltaSync, a
leading international floating urbanization specialist, and editor of the Jour-
nal of Water and Climate Change at the International Water Association .
Adaptive urban development
A symbiosis between cities on land and water
in the 21st century
ISBN 978 90 5179 799 2
... However, a recent paper provided a discursive exploration of opportunities and challenges in floating housing innovation (Penning-Rowsell, 2020). In terms of empirical studies targeting implementation practices, de Graaf's doctoral thesis on urban water management innovations includes one case study of mechanisms for mainstreaming floating urbanization in the Netherlands, a country where water-based living represents a longstanding tradition and "a normal way of housing" (de Graaf, 2009(de Graaf, , 2012Huang-Lachmann & Lovett, 2016:39). In the Netherlands, there has also been a strategic national agenda with the National Congress on Floating Houses since 2008 (de Graaf, 2009(de Graaf, , 2012. ...
... In terms of empirical studies targeting implementation practices, de Graaf's doctoral thesis on urban water management innovations includes one case study of mechanisms for mainstreaming floating urbanization in the Netherlands, a country where water-based living represents a longstanding tradition and "a normal way of housing" (de Graaf, 2009(de Graaf, , 2012Huang-Lachmann & Lovett, 2016:39). In the Netherlands, there has also been a strategic national agenda with the National Congress on Floating Houses since 2008 (de Graaf, 2009(de Graaf, , 2012. To explore the viability of floating housing as urban climate experimentation, studies are also needed on their function in national contexts where such traditions and support-mechanisms are absent. ...
... First, the initiatives are considered to be small-scale side projects for a limited market that do not match the Swedish housing traditions. Contrary to the Netherlands, there is no tradition of living on water to fall back on, nor any national agenda with policy instruments supporting their establishment (de Graaf, 2009(de Graaf, , 2012Huang-Lachmann & Lovett, 2016). Varied forms of upscaling (van Winden & van den Buuse, 2017) such as on-site expansion, turning display homes to district scale and developing concept-solutions for replication. ...
Full-text available
With climate change already underway, cities are looking for ways to deal with its effects. To balance urban waterfront development and climate adaptation, floating housing is presented as a promising solution—however it has not been studied sufficiently. This paper explores floating housing as urban climate experimentation, targeting vision/motivation, practice and upscaling in a national context where support mechanisms and traditions are absent. Interviews with innovation entrepreneurs and municipal planners involved with planning and building floating districts show that, with one exception, the Swedish initiatives are at odds with the theoretical assumptions behind urban climate experimentation. Initiatives are neither challenge-led in terms of climate risk nor inclusive and community-based. Rather, the small-scale private entrepreneurs are pioneers in offering unique living on water as one-off innovations. While allowing experimentation, municipal planners are less convinced by the effectiveness and appropriateness of upscaling. Floating housing may contribute to local identity building and place marketing, but are riddled with implementation challenges regarding shoreline protection, privatization/accessibility, limited market interest and urban development fit. While the floating houses themselves withstand flooding, thus safeguarding individual house owners, they do not protect the land-based city with its vulnerable waterfront development patterns. Results thus suggest the limitation of floating houses in shifting development pathways and strengthening urban climate proofing.
... In the last decade there has been a rising attention for water management approaches which are not only focused on optimizing the current urban water system, but instead seek to deal with multiple, integrated challenges by establishing an entirely new model of urban development. Examples are Cities of the Future [16], Water Sensitive Urban Design [25] but also Floating Urban Development [7,14,24] and Floating Productive Developments [6]. These are developments that are based on floating foundations and can adapt to changes in the water level autonomously. ...
... The concept of the BlueRevolution was originally coined by Takahashi [19] to develop a proactive plan for ocean resource development. DeltaSync/Blue21expanded on this philosophy by proposing floating cities with a positive impact on the planet, including local production of food and energy and ecosystem development [7]. The concept was proposed as a perspective to deal with global challenges such as sea level rise, urban growth and global land scarcity. ...
... These two risks are related, since rising groundwater will increase tributary discharge rates (Bjerklie et al. 2012), and extreme precipitation events can increase groundwater levels (Habel et al. 2017;Horton 1933). Both phenomena may lead to flooding on the inland side of a coastal adaptation project, and cause structural failures of landforms such as levees, mounds or berms (Graaf 2012;Sills et al. 2008). ...
Full-text available
Designers and engineers are developing proposals for physical projects to adapt coastal sites to future sea level rise related threats. This puts pressure on local and regional decision makers to develop strategic frameworks for prioritizing, permitting and funding such projects. However, no systematic evaluation tools exist for the full range of these innovative designs. We build on the literature to develop an evaluation framework that synthesizes two different approaches to categorize these proposals and provide insight for coastal managers and decision makers. We apply this framework to physical projects that address sea level rise in their design around the San Francisco Bay Area, a leading region in sea level rise adaptation. We find that these projects demonstrate a shift toward more habitat-focused strategies, which likely marks the beginning of a larger transformation of the coastal zone. According to our five-part evaluation tool, we also find that the projects’ scores have improved over time, indicating that state agency work may be helping communities implement more flexible adaptation initiatives. Despite these positive signs, we also find that none of the projects achieved high marks in all five of the evaluation criteria. This finding indicates that there is a critical need for improvement in physical planning for adaptation to higher sea levels and associated impacts. Most importantly, we find that an evaluation framework such as the one used here can provide critical insights into the likely risks and benefits of proposed adaptation projects and their long-term implications for coastal zones.
... Phát triển đô thị thích ứng là thiết kế, xây dựng và phát triển liên tục của các khu vực đô thị để dự đoán và phản ứng với những thay đổi trong môi trường và xã hội. Những thay đổi này bao gồm cả các quy trình trong chính thành phố và các phát triển bên ngoài (Graaf, 2012). Việc thích ứng bao gồm bốn thành phần chính (1) đặc điểm của mối nguy, (2) đặc điểm của hệ thống, (3) các cấp độ thích ứng và (4) phản ứng thích ứng (Bryant et al., 2000). ...
... It has been noted by many authors (Jovanovic et al. 2009;De Graaf 2012;Doocy et al. 2013;Dorfman and Mehta 2011), that the frequency of floods is increasing. Data of flood events are collected in different databases for different periods, but data recorded after 1980 are considered reliable and relatively complete. ...
Full-text available
Eastern Herzegovina is highly karstified area, with porosity of karstified rock mass between 0.8 and 2%. It is an area with high precipitation (average annual values in wet year are around 2450 mm), but its distribution is uneven, with 70% of annual precipitation occurring during the wet season (late fall to early spring). The outflow coefficients are very high, between 0.7 and 0.8. The ratio between flow in the low water period (Q95%) and in the period of high water flow (Q1%) is 1:4000(5000). Due to such hydrological conditions, with limited dewatering capacity of karst channels and ponors, floods of karst poljes occur frequently. This article presents, in very general terms, the properties of the natural water regime of the Gatačko Polje, highest polje in Eastern Herzegovina, including some hydrological and hydrogeological specificity. Special attention is referred to floods and possible ways to mitigate such events, as there are coal mine and coal power plant “Gacko” situated in the polje. Several possible measures are presented in the paper, such as passive protection measures, active flood protection by proper reservoirs management, as well as spatial planning measures. Also, the possibility of transferring part of the water from the Gatačko Polje watershed to the multipurpose hydrosystem Trebišnjica for usage in hydropower production, irrigation, water supply and other secondary benefits is considered.
... Planificarea urbană se impune a se realiza în concordanță cu schimbările ecologice și conservarea resurselor naturale aflate în spațiul vital al orașului sau la distanțe măsurabile, funcție de sistemul urban căruia aparțin. Zonele de influență ale orașelor se constituie în receptori ai unor probleme de mediu produse în oraș (consum de energie, apă, emisii de noxe, deșeuri menajere și industriale, etc.) sau induse de existența și dezvoltarea acestuia, existând diferențe între limitele de-facto ale orașelor și limitele în care acestea își manifestă efectele propriu-zise (de Graaf, 2012). Mai ales în cadrul orașelor mari, importanța lor economică și socială determină profunde schimbări și în zonele din proximitatea sau periferia acestora, iar orașele trebuie să adopte standarde pentru implicarea tuturor actorilor interesați într-o mod comun și ușor de înțeles. ...
Full-text available
Today’sarchitect and urban designer neglected the networked world's vast flowsdeveloped by other innovators. An urban space may consist of several networksystem series. Urban network capacity to evolve within multiple choicesconcerning connections or adaptive shall be considered ultimately in theplanning direction. As an adaptive principle, the network should be able tomodify its own structure, and it should be adapted to various changes andchanging needs and desire of its users. Adaptive network urbanism considers asa planning approach, which focuses on the dynamic system that can be evolvingdynamically. The application of adaptive planning can be developed throughanticipation and adaptation by preparing “plans” that may respond to the needs.This study applies the adaptive approach at the border area by proposing newnetworks on the existing infrastructure network to watch the “dynamicalinterplay” among areas, especially among Paloh district as a border area andSambas district as the capital city. This study is specifically tried toidentify the new links or expansion configuration by repeatedly proposing newlinks and re-calculations until it finds or gives alternatives for the bestconnection or “a prepared plan”. There are five types of “adaptive"approaches to be considered in developing the strategic areas from the researchfindings. These approaches are (1) network transforms or new link, (2) networkextension, (3) addition (new) node, (4) other supporting networks as asupplement network, and (5) inter-country connection to improve relationshipand cooperation.
Full-text available
Five capacities of urban climate resilience are discussed. These capacities are threshold capacity, coping capacity, recovery capacity, adaptive capacity and transformative capacity. Key processes for the transition to resilient delta cities include: implementing innovations at appropriate scale and speed; transdisciplinary planning and collaboration; capacity building at a local level; and to move from sustainability to regeneration. At a fundamental level, building transformative capacity is about changing water management, urban development and urban redevelopment practice. The main objective is to provide different outcomes than conventional practice. This requires transformation of society itself. A potential way to build knowledge and experience in this field is by creating urban projects and processes where new societal models based on different values and assumptions could be tested to provide more resilient outcomes. Floating communities can provide a testing space for this.
Within the context of urban flood risk management, this chapter focuses on the vulnerability assessment and improvement of flood performance of buildings, in particular those that perform essential functions—designated as critical buildings. Three methods are presented as part of a framework for the assessment of building flood vulnerability and resilience. The first method (the “Quick Scan”) is a “first pass”, simple method to identify the assets most at risk of flood damage and easiest to tackle, leading to cost-effective interventions. The second method provides the necessary information and tools for selection and evaluation of flood resilient options for critical buildings while the third method (the Individual Building flood damage Tool, or IBT) allows detailed estimation of the extent of damage.
Opportunities exist for radical strategies, driven by spatial planning, to adapt our urban fabric to climate change. Floating developments are one such innovation. This phenomenon and its ideas are driven by a variety of societal forces, including by population pressure, rapid urbanisation, the resulting need for additional housing inventory, by urban adaptation strategies to counter fluvial flooding and sea level rise, plus interests in urban landscape renewal. We reflect on seventeen projects in five countries and note that, to date, it is inner city harbours or industrial areas in decline that are being targeted for floating communities. These can add renewal, recreational and landscape value, while simultaneously expanding the existing urban housing stock.
Full-text available
First test flights using blends with algae oil are already carried out and expectations by the aviation and other industries are high. On the other hand technical data about performance of cultivation systems, downstream processing, and suitability of algae oil as fuel are still limited. The existing microalgae growing industry mainly produces for the food and feed market. Energy efficiency is so far out of scope but needs to be taken into account if the product changes to biofuel. Energy and CO2 balances are used to estimate the potential of algae oil to fulfil the EU sustainability criteria for biofuels. The analysis is supported by lab tests as well as data gained by a pilot scale demonstrator combined with published data for well-known established processes. The algae oil composition is indicator of suitability as fuel as well as for economic viability. Approaches attaining high value fractions are therefore of great importance and will be discussed in order to determine the most intended market.
Full-text available
On 13 October 1908, Fritz Haber filed his patent on the ``synthesis of ammonia from its elements'' for which he was later awarded the 1918 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. A hundred years on we live in a world transformed by and highly dependent upon Haber-Bosch nitrogen.
Hydroinformatics systems are systems that combine computational hydraulic modelling with information systems (including knowledge-based systems). They are gaining rapid acceptance in the areas of environmental planning, design and management. The present book focuses exclusively on sewage systems, starting with their planning and then going on to discuss their design, operation and rehabilitation. The very experienced authors discuss business and information needs in the management of urban drainage, tools for collecting and archiving such data, and their use in modelling catchment hydrology, sewer systems hydraulics, wastewater quality, wastewater treatment plant operation, and receiving waters. The control and operation of sewer systems in real time is described, followed by a discussion of their maintenance and rehabilitation. Intelligent decision support systems for managing the urban drainage business process are presented. Audience: Researchers into sewer design, municipal engineers, planners and managers interested in an innovative approach to all aspects of the planning, design and operation of sewer systems.
Technical Report
Available online at:
Worldwide, urban water managers are grappling with the challenge of managing water resources more sustaimbly. Numerous commentators have highlighted significant social and technological barriers to the uptake of new approaches and some are calling for a major socio-technical transition in urban water management. Social research and theory is an increasingly important factor in understanding and responding to the challenges associated with evolving a more sustainable society. This paper draws upon key social theories around change to propose a framework for transition policy that can be applied by urban water strategists when designing reform initiatives to progress sustainable urban water management.
The removal of phosphorus from municipal waste waters prior to their discharge into the receiving waters is practised widely and a number of effective and reliable techniques can be employed. In almost all of these, the phosphorus is removed from the aqueous phase into the sludge phase (either as a precipitated metal salt or as a component of the sludge biomass) along with other solids. There are, however, a growing number of techniques, some at a laboratory stage, a few in full scale operation where the phosphorus is removed in the form of a simple inorganic phosphate salt which may have utility for recycling in industrial applications. The potential for recovery and recycling of phosphorus is reviewed from both a historical and a modern industrial perspective.
The need to better understand how people and communities understand, interact with, and behave in relation to, water and water management systems has long been highlighted by both national and supra-national governmental bodies. Such understandings are of particular relevance to support the design and deployment of water policy instruments. We argue that, in analysing individual, community and organizational interactions with water as both a natural resource and a commodity, there is a need to move away from policy tool design and deployment perspectives which characterize consumer response as an artefact of social or economic status to one which explicitly incorporates the capacity for response as well as the ambition of policy. A framework for evaluating water management policy instruments based on a conceptual model of ‘receptivity’ is presented in detail and three case studies demonstrating its use in a variety of contexts (regional water management, water recycling, and water filters) are reported on. Comments on the relevance and scope of the approach are provided together with conclusions regarding strengths, weaknesses, and suitable application contexts.