Urban Fold

The Flood-Prone Should Look to the Dutch

Plans for 250,000 new houses on a floodplain in Britain and broad redevelopment plans in New Orleans have many wondering why planners aren't looking to the flood expertise of the Dutch.

"Britain seems to be in denial. In the Thames Gateway alone, there are plans to build 250,000 new homes, 91% of which are within the floodplain. And despite their vulnerability, it looks as though they will be built just like ordinary houses."

"Civilisation has always flourished near he water, and communities have found ways of overcoming fluctuations in water levels - but making architecture that is flood-proof is a different matter. If, as seems to be the case, we are facing a drastically more aquatic landscape, we should be looking for solutions, not boats - and the best place to start is the Netherlands."

"The Dutch are well acquainted with water and its problems: their country is two-thirds below sea level, protected by an ingenious system of "polders" (reclaimed land surrounded by dykes) and massive flood barriers. But even here, the traditional relationship between architecture and water is being renegotiated."

Full Story: We'd like 250,000 of these, please

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