Rotterdam's Adaptation Strategy addresses the urgent need to make Rotterdam climate proof by describing which guidelines need to be in place to effect this over the next few decades, in as targeted and effective a way as possible. The strategy is not an implementation plan, but provides a framework, establishes starting points and clarifies Rotterdam's ambitions and goals to become a resilient city.
The Adaptation Strategy's knowledge base is made up of research that has been carried out in recent years, for example within the scope of the Knowledge for Climate research programme and the Delta Programme (to protect the Netherlands against flooding and to ensure supplies of fresh water now and in the future) in which Rotterdam actively participates.
The climate effects acknowledged in the strategy consist of extremes in river levels, the rising level of the sea, the increase of cloudbursts, longer periods of drought and higher temperatures.
The following objectives have been set and are to be met through the Adaptation Strategy:
Robustness, resilience and awareness are the key elements of the Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy. The Maeslantkering storm surge barrier, the dikes and the sewage system need to be ready to carry out their tasks. Dikes may become green connections in the city, or multifunctional water barriers. By enhancing the adaptiveness of public spaces - for example by investing in green infrastructure at street level and on roofs, providing more space for water to run off, such as water plazas, or using the river Meuse as a tidal park - water safety and water nuisance issues will be linked to new urban development which will actively improve the city's attractiveness. Floating developments not only result in new and inviting areas to live and work in, but also in innovations that strengthen the city's economy. Developments in the unembanked areas will be based on the multilayer safety approach, consisting of a combination of prevention, spatial adaptation and disaster management. In addition, the strategy aims to raise the awareness of Rotterdam citizens and businesses and actively involves them in helping to increase water safety and dealing with water-related inconvenience and urban heat stress effects.
Adaptation to climate change is a long-term affair. However, Rotterdam cannot afford to wait any longer, as the city is continuously changing and is in a constant process of development. The adaptation strategy will incorporate in planning processes and maintenance programmes. Rotterdam wants to support the implementation and to monitor the progress by means of suitable tools and instruments. A number of instruments have already been developed, like the Rotterdam Climate Societal Cost Benefit Analysis and the Rotterdam Climate Game; others will be developed in consultation with the respective stakeholders and implementation partners, both within and outside the City of Rotterdam.