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Multi-level safety. Water resilient urban and building design

Rapportnr 2014-12
ISBN 978.90.5773.632.2
Type Report
Datum 20-6-2014


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The changes in climate are causing greater weather extremes: higher sea- and riverwater levels, heavier precipitation, longer periods of drought and extreme heat, and more severe storms. More and more people live in cities and are experiencing there the effects of these weather extremes. This calls for the ‘water- robust’ and ‘climate-proof’ designing of our cities.

For centuries the Netherlands has devoted much attention to water safety. Significant investments are made in building and maintaining strong dikes in order to prevent flooding to the greatest extent possible. Sometimes the high economic costs or societal resistance makes investment in strong dikes alone unattractive. In such situations it is important to also investigate other possibilities of limiting the effects of a flood. Furthermore, it can be desirable to provide extra flood protection to vital and vulnerable functions such as energy infrastructures, hospitals and chemical plants by means of water-robust designs. We call all of this “Multi- leveled water safety”: investing in a combination of preventive measures such as dike reinforcements and river widening (layer 1), investing in effect-limiting mea- sures through spatial planning and water-robust construction (layer 2), or inves- ting in disaster management and evacuation (layer 3).

The aim of this book is to provide inspiration for, and give form to, Multi-leveled water safety in cities. It sketches possibilities for a different kind of spatial design as well as the construction of buildings in a ‘water-robust’ manner. The examples provided in this book illustrate that sometimes even with small adjustments sig- nificant effects can be achieved. Cities change, often slowly, sometimes quickly. We hope that this book will inspire water boards, municipalities, designers and project developers to contribute to creating water-robust cities, both now and in the future, so that our cities can remain safe and attractive places in which to live and work.

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