Adaptive planning for resilient coastal waterfronts: Linking flood risk reduction with urban development in Rotterdam and New York City

Peter van Veelen

    Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    201 Downloads (Pure)


    Many delta cities and urbanized coastal regions are facing increasing risks of flooding due to climate change and sea level rise and will have to adapt. The question that is central to this study is what opportunities offer spatial development and urban renewal to speed up the process of adaptation, and reduce costs, while creating spatial value and wider benefits for society. To answer this question a new method is introduced that is based on the development of adaptation paths and analysing urban dynamics. The method has been tested in two flood-prone waterfront areas in Rotterdam and New York. Both cases have shown that identifying opportunities for adaptation based on an analysis of planned investment projects and life cycle of buildings and urban infrastructure helps to systematically assess the effectiveness of adaptation paths. Moreover, it helps to identify new spatial transformations that provide opportunities for adaptation that were not yet identified, or positively assessed before. This makes it easier to synchronize adaptation measures in space and time, and to develop more comprehensive strategies. Both cases show that in intensively built-up environments, such as Rotterdam and New York, adapting existing buildings, despite changes in the building regulations is not a sustainable solution to increasing flood risk. In the long term an integral solution by developing integrated flood protection as part of the redevelopment of the waterfront is necessary. To make this possible, it is however necessary to develop new financial arrangements that fairly distribute the costs and benefits of the stakeholders and to make major changes in the policy regime.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Delft University of Technology
    • Meijer, V.J., Supervisor
    • van de Ven, F.H.M., Advisor
    Thesis sponsors
    Award date25 Nov 2016
    Place of PublicationDelft
    Print ISBNs978-94-92516-21-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Bibliographical note

    A+BE | Architecture and the Built Environment No 19 (2016)


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