May 22, 2013

Addressing Coastal Flooding

Special lecture held in conjunction with APA Professional Study tour to the Netherlands

CHICAGO —Approximately two-thirds of the Netherlands is vulnerable to flooding. The country has utilized hard and soft approaches to hazard mitigation to protect its residents. Next week, the American Planning Association (APA), is hosting a professional study tour in the Netherlands to explore how protection methods can be used and applied to coastal regions throughout the United States.

The tour, "Coastal Planning, Floods, and Hard and Soft Approaches to Hazard Mitigation," will educate tour participants on climate change, adaptation, water management and water-based planning. The tour runs from May 26 to May 31, 2013, and will include site visits to Amsterdam's Jordaan and Watergrafsmeer districts, IJburg, the Scheveningen Boulevard restoration, Rotterdam's Climate Plan, the Delta Works, the Noordwaard polder project and Deltares.

Renée Jones-BosAs part of the study tour, the annual L'Enfant Lecture on City Planning and Design will be held on Tuesday, May 28 at the New Institute in Rotterdam. "Planning Adaptation for Climate Change" will be presented by Renée Jones-Bos (right), former ambassador to the United States from the Netherlands and current Secretary General of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Jones-Bos delivered the 2012 closing keynote address at APA's National Planning Conference in Los Angeles.  

The study tour and lecture will focus on:

  • Incorporating active water management into urban, inland, and coastal planning;
  • Adopting a multiple-defense approach to adaptation and hazard mitigation;
  • Projecting the benefits and costs of hard and soft water infrastructure; and
  • Living with water, deriving value from water, and protecting against water.

"The professional study tour is a unique opportunity for American planners to learn from the Dutch and see firsthand their mitigation efforts," said W. Paul Farmer, FAICP, CEO of the American Planning Association. "The Dutch have implemented a variety of hazard mitigation efforts that U.S. communities could adopt."

APA and the Netherlands share a commitment to developing measures to tackle climate change. APA members working with Dutch officials, scientists, planners and academics exchange information on water management techniques and this cooperation is bearing fruit. The Dutch Embassy, APA and the architectural firm Waggoner & Ball collaborate on the Dutch Dialogues program to see how the Dutch approach to water management can be utilized in American cities. To date, Dutch Dialogue workshops have been held in New Orleans and St. Louis.

The L'Enfant Lecture is co-sponsored by APA and the National Building Museum to draw attention to critical issues in city and regional planning. The goal of the lecture series is to enliven national dialogue about urban and regional growth, while challenging individuals to create communities of lasting value for the 21st century and beyond. The lecture series is names after Pierre Charles L'Enfant, creator of the acclaimed plan for Washington, D.C. Previous L'Enfant Lectures have been held in Chicago, Washington, D.C, New York City, and San Francisco.


Roberta Rewers, APA Public Affairs; 312-786-6395;

Royal Netherlands Embassy Contact: Carla Bundy,, 202-274-2632