Nieuwegein vision and implementation programme: climate adaptation along with greenery and nature
Nieuwegein is investing in climate-proofing the city, in collaboration with local and regional partners. In 2018, a climate adaptation vision (pdf, 12 MB) and implementation programme (pdf, 3.6 MB) were drawn up to set out a course for the efforts. The aim is to boost the appeal of the city, enhance its environmental health, and minimise the damage and nuisance caused by the consequences of climate change.
How has the vision been developed?
The municipality first conducted a stress test. Subsequently, several meetings with partners and feedback groups were set up, followed by a survey and interviews.
- The stress test has provided insight into the impact of climate change on the city. In a workshop with experts, the vulnerabilities, opportunities, and solution strategies were mapped out, using the municipal waterlogging and heat maps, and the national Climate Impact Atlas maps.
- Following the stress test, the municipal authorities organised meetings with regional coalition partners and with feedback groups. In addition, internal working sessions were held. In these meetings and sessions, they formulated the ambition and elaborated the vision.
- The municipality has conducted a survey on climate adaptation among its residents, which generated a response of more than 20 per cent. The results of these 1800 respondents have been taken into account in the vision. Furthermore, the municipality has conducted interviews with several private parties and research institutes.
What goals have been set down for each topic?
The topics for which the taskings have been mapped out are heat, waterlogging, drought, and flood risk management. With respect to these topics, Nieuwegein intends to achieve the following goals:
- Reducing the city’s, residents’, and local businesses’ vulnerability to heat stress;
- Preventing waterlogging to the maximum extent possible, including waterlogging resulting from extreme downpours;
- Reducing the impact of drought by retaining rainwater at the locations at which it falls;
- In addition to preventing flooding, containing the impact of flooding by adapting spatial designs and by implementing disaster control measures. Particular attention will be paid to vulnerable objects and vital infrastructure.
What else does the vision set out?
The municipal authorities deem it important for climate adaptation measures to increase the appeal of the city and enhance the health of its living environment. For that reason, they are focusing on greenery and nature, in addition to technology. Living in a climate-adaptive city will thus enhance the health and happiness of residents.
What does the implementation programme state?
The 2019-2022 implementation programme sets out the resources, potential subsidies, and programmes that the municipality of Nieuwegein intends to use during this period in order to realise the goals contained in the vision. In the implementation programme, the goals have been elaborated into specific actions, divided over four components. Below, one or two examples are given for each component.
- Design of public space and buildings:
- In the Betere Buurten [Better Neighbourhoods] innovation projects, the municipality is implementing as many climate adaptation measures as possible. To this end, in 2019 the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management awarded the city a grant under the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation, intended for an implementation pilot in the Betere Buurt Schansen-Noord area.
- The municipality has set down performance agreements with the housing corporations. One such an agreement is that the municipality will organise inspiration sessions for the corporations, focused on ways to factor in climate adaptation in renovations and new development projects. Furthermore, campaigns will be organised in collaboration with the corporations and tenants, for example, to encourage house front gardens.
- Research and policy:
- The City-West urban area, which is being developed, will be fully climate-adaptive. To this end, the municipality has developed standards relating to, e.g., heat stress, coping with torrential rain, nature-inclusive building, biodiversity, and the construction of a green-blue network. All the parties involved in the development must abide by these standards. The municipality has set up a sustainability fund to support their efforts.
- In a project under the auspices of the Top Sector Knowledge and Innovation, the municipality is exploring, in collaboration with KWR, the province, the district water board, project developers, and several businesses, methods to fully reuse rainwater and residential waste water following local purification, for example, for watering public greenery in periods of drought.
- Communication and collaboration:
- The municipality is setting up a climate adaptation network. To this end, it intends to launch a website enabling network members to share projects and contact one another.
- Organisation and review:
- To carry out the actions set out in the implementation programme, the municipality has hired a new staff member.
Lessons to be learned
Support within and outside the municipal organisation is vitally important in the development of a vision and an implementation programme. That is why other parties should be involved in the vision at the earliest possible stage. In addition, it is important to continue to think about how you want to design the city. The step from climate-conscious to climate-adaptive poses a challenge in this respect.
As many parties were still relatively unfamiliar with the topic of climate adaptation in 2018, the municipality also compiled an inspiration booklet at that time. Rather than providing a comprehensive overview of climate adaptation measures in Nieuwegein, the booklet is intended as a source of inspiration.
Laurens van Miltenburg