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Water Resilient Urban and Regional Development

In February 16.-18.02.2017, Department of Urban Design and Land Use Planning (STB), Faculty of Spatial Planning TU Dortmund, and the University of Virginia, Faculty of Architecture, have organized together with the UAR New York, The Emschergenossenschaft and further partners an international Symposium in New York on water and resilience in cities and regions.

Cities and urban regions play a central role in reducing human vulnerability by designing resilient infrastructures and enhancing a sustainable urban metabolism. Imbalanced eco-systems, scarce water resources and rising sea levels are just a few of the challenges that cities and urban regions face when designing climate action planning tools. While the UN principles serve as guidelines, different cities confront different risks and need to define which tools to use in their specific context. As a result, mitigating the impacts of a changing climate through resilient spatial development has become an important topic in urban design, environmental planning, and architecture. The increasing need for green infrastructure and efficient water management in the design of safe, attractive and sustainable urban spaces requires innovative design solutions and new analytical methods.

Urban planners, researchers and practitioners presented examples of design and urban planning solutions that have been implemented both in the US and in the Ruhr area in Germany in order to compare best practices, discuss different methodological approaches and define topics of future research and education. Examples from cities and regions of New York City, Torotno, Virginia and Vancouver on the North-American side, and Dortmund and Duisburg from the German Ruhr Region, Germany. Universities of the City College of New York, Rutgers University, Simon Frasier University, and the Technical University of Dortmund together with the University of Virginia as main organizers together with the UAR New York, participated in a discourse with practicians such as the Emschergenossenschaft and US consultants in resilient urban and regional development.

The organizing team led by Prof. Christa Reicher, Prof. Mona El Khafif and Dr. Jan Polívka also invited further researchers from Dortmund Planning faculty's department of Planning Cultures and IRPUD and their North-American partners working on resilience issues to participate in the symposium. In a Pecha-Kucha Session, nearly twenty participants presented ist research and practical work, further discussed in a broader plenum. The program included readings by Ila Berman from the Virgionia School of Architecture, Pippa Brashearfrom SCAPE, Catherine Seavitt Nordensen from The City College of New York, Uli Paetzel from the Emschergenossenschaft, and Kai-Uwe Bergmann from BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group, mainly on the New York Water Resilience Planning.

In a special session, Anthony Acciavatti and Inaki Alday from the University of Virginia introduced their research on Rivers Ganges and Yamuna in India. The final workshop of the key stakeholders could agree on a concrete road map towards an integration of resilience into the regional urban planning and design, and pointed out concrete steps towards an international cooperation in both areas of research and education.

The next meeting opportunity for the Transforming City Regions & the Urban Research Network, which has been established in 2014 during the International Conference on Transforming City Regions in Essen Zollverein, will be held in Amman. For education, Department of Urban Design and Land Use Planning (STB) and its partners plan to carry out a summer academy in 2018 in the Ruhr.

Further information and detailed information on the workshop can be downloaded from the STB Homepage .

Contact: Prof. Christa Reicher, Prof. Mona El Khafif, Dr. Jan Polívka