AIWW conference preview: Lykke Leonardsen

The plan will feature in a workshop on stormwater resilient cities that will be part of the AIWW conference track on urban resilience and adaptation to climate change. Given the concern on the part of many cities that climate change will lead to more intense rainfall and hence a greater risk of flooding as this century progresses, the novel plan is certain to be of great interest to delegates. Furthermore, the workshop will offer the opportunity to hear about not just one, but four leading examples, covering Amsterdam, London and Hamburg, as well as the Danish capital.
Copenhagen has begun implementing what is a 20-year, Euro1.3 billion stormwater plan. Rather than an expensive overhaul of the city’s sewers, the plan will see construction of numerous parks and recreational spaces able to retain and slowly release storm floodwater, with these working in combination with the above-ground transfer of floodwater out of the city along roadways. The city’s experiences already offer worthwhile lessons to other cities faced with stormwater challenges. ‘It is about creating a cost-effective solution that not only solves the problem of managing a greater amount of stormwater, but about how we are using this also to upgrade urban spaces and create a more liveable city,’ says Leonardsen, who is organising the workshop.
Every city has its own set of circumstances that will affect how stormwater will be dealt with, ranging from physical differences through to legislative and administrative differences. Leonardsen explains that the four workshop cities have similar goals, but are taking different approaches. For example, the issue is high on the political agenda in Copenhagen because of the recent history of flooding and flood damage there. ‘Of course we cannot give the answer to each city, but we might perhaps provide some inspiration from being four very different cities,’ says Leonardsen.
Leonardsen is looking forward to the format of the event. The workshop approach will allow for feedback and for experiences from other locations to be shared, and Leonardsen hopes a set of summary recommendations can be drafted after the event. She is also excited by the prospect of the event being focused on city-to-city exchanges. ‘I find it most interesting when cities are talking among cities – people who are actually struggling on the ground with making this work on a daily basis.’
Programm overview