Resilient Cities

Water management is becoming increasingly complex, both above and below ground. One of the drivers is climate change causing the weather becoming more variable and extreme. Urban water issues are pre-eminently complex and multifaceted. For example, there are problems with flooding, but at the same time cities are also drying up due to climate change. In addition to negative effects on urban greenery and thus the quality of life in the city, this has major negative consequences for the built environment such as for the lifespan of the foundations of buildings and infrastructure. We have bundled our tools and competencies from both an analytical and design perspective so that they can be used in conjunction to make cities future-proof because more resilient and sustainable. We do all this from a future-oriented Digital Twin perspective. Municipalities, contractors and developers face complex challenges to make the environment climate-robust and to minimize the effects of climate change. We help them with specific services. Our water competences cover many aspects of climate adaptation of the urban water system. They include groundwater and foundation research, infiltration and drainage design services an practical solutions for subsiding villages and cities in coastal areas. Our most recent innovation is in urban sewage design.

We only get started when we have the facts in order and we have thoroughly analyzed a situation. This enables us to realize reliable urban water infrastructure which is optimally geared to the desired water management. Our extensive toolkit contains a number of complementary tools. The Urban Water Planning tool (UWP)¬† offers a digital platform which brings together the different dimensions of the climate-related, urban water challenge. It is a powerful tool with which to translate a wide range of data into an optimal design to address a specific set of problems. In addition, we use a number of design-oriented instruments to balance the supply and demand of urban water, both above and below ground. We do this at different scale levels: from a single construction site to an entire city. A key instrument to do this is AGAPE, the Dutch acronym for ‘Active Groundwater Level Management’. The combined implementation of these solutions can make cities more resilient and more sustainable.

At the same time we observe that the increasingly multi-functional urban land use and a changing climate mean that planning issues are becoming more and more complex. This is also partly due to the increased variety of stakeholder categories. In this context, decision-making is more successful if all the parties involved jointly analyse the planning process scenarios. There is therefore a growing need for a tool that makes knowledge meaningful in a practical context, combines disciplinary knowledge, and provides an evaluation framework to identify the most effective solution. The Urban Water Design Optioneering Tool (UWDOT) is a process-oriented tool to visualise the outcomes of different scenarios. A functional model of the reality, combined with serious gaming, offers you the possibility of successfully realising this process to jointly look into the (virtual) future.

One of the major challenges in this spectrum is to be able to cope with serious flooding or with severe water shortage. The reason being the relationship between the supply and demand of water that is becoming more and more unpredictable. The supply-demand imbalances are a product of increasingly heavy downpours as well as increasingly lengthy drought periods. This leads to flooding but also to drought-related damage to cities such as in the case of foundations or urban green spaces. The Urban Water Buffer New Generation (UWB NG) is an innovative design that makes it possible to establish such a balance in a cost-effective manner. The UWB NG is integrated into local water management and makes optimal use of existing infrastructure. It is an underground storage system that combines the harvest, treatment, retention and reuse of rainwater and is both scalable and multi-functional. A very visible and prestigious project was the safeguarding of the wooden pole foundations of the Rijksmuseum, a national monumental building, by designing and creating a stable local groundwater environment.