Renée Jones-Bos, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States, spoke as the closing keynote speaker at the 2012 APA National Convention in Los Angeles. In case you left a bit early to beat the rush to LAX, The Planning Report has a transcript of her comments.
Her remarks center on the partnerships formed between the Netherlands and the US, particularly in lieu of Dutch expertise on climate change and sea level rising. As Ambassador Jones-Bos notes, the Dutch have been forced to approach large infrastructure and planning projects head on, given that 60% of the country's population lives below sea level. Today, Dutch engineers and planners are known worldwide for their expertise on ports and sea level, and their efforts in New Orleans, in particular, indicate that American municipalities can benefit from reaching out internationally for partnerships and learning.
American cities may learn from their ally's proactive embrace of cost-benefit analysis. Ambassador Jones-Bos offers examples of large infrastructure projects that the Dutch have tackled directly, despite their enormous capital costs. This approach requires an honest measurement of a project's social and economic benefits. She notes, "Another part of Dutch DNA is found at the entrance to the old port of Amsterdam – close to the Amsterdam Stock Exchange: 'De cost gaet voor de baet uyt'. That means 'The cost comes before the benefit'."
Thanks to Kevin Madden