Rotterdam Implementation Agenda 2020-2022
In its Implementation Agenda (pdf, 8.5 MB), the municipality of Rotterdam outlines the measures it will be taking in the period 2020 - 2022 to climate-proof the city. In addition to specific waterlogging measures, the municipality is working on a medium-term strategy under the Rotterdams WeerWoord Programme.
What does the Rotterdams WeerWoord Programme entail?
Under the Rotterdams WeerWoord Programme, the municipality is working on a vision, goals, and a strategy in the purview of climate adaptation. To this end, it has joined forces with such other local stakeholders as residents, entrepreneurs, organisations, and district water boards. The goals that the municipality intends to achieve have been divided into six climate issues:
- Precipitation: by 2030, more room will be created to accommodate extreme precipitation, to ensure that vital facilities are better protected;
- Heat: by 2030, the city will warm up to a lesser extent, and heat will have less of a negative impact;
- Drought: by 2030, liveability in the city will be safeguarded, also in times of drought;
- Soil subsidence: by 2030, soil subsidence will cause less damage and less need for maintenance;
- Groundwater: the groundwater system will be more resilient, and urban planning will keep pace with the (ground)water system;
- Flooding: by 2050, the probability of fatalities and damage caused by the rising sea level and river discharges will be on a par with or lower than the current probability.
How does the municipality intend to achieve these goals?
The municipality is pursuing two strategies to achieve these goals. The first strategy involves collaboration with other local parties, such as residents, project developers, and housing corporations. All these parties can contribute to climate-proofing the city by taking measures on their own premises. The second strategy involves capitalisation on physical changes in the city. Scheduled changes, such as the construction of new houses or the maintenance of public space, open up opportunities for climate adaptation measures. The municipality intends to tie in with such projects in order to address adaptation goals. The municipality is implementing the two strategies in the following domains:
- New real estate: the next twenty years will see the construction of many new houses and facilities in Rotterdam. The municipality intends for this real estate to be developed in a climate-proof manner, which is why it will be collaborating with project developers and investors;
- Existing real estate: the municipality intends to have adaptation measures incorporated into the maintenance of existing houses and into restructuring projects. For that reason, housing corporations – which own the bulk of the existing houses – constitute a key collaboration partner for the authorities;
- Public space: extensive public space maintenance, such as sewer replacement and redesign of outdoor areas, is carried out every year. The municipality intends to include adaptation measures in such operations;
- Residents of Rotterdam on the move: the municipality intends to make residents aware of the impact of climate change and to encourage them to do their part. For that reason, it is going to explore, in concert with local residents, ways to improve neighbourhoods’ resilience against weather extremes.
Which measures are scheduled for the years ahead?
For the period 2020-2022, the municipality has scheduled measures to mitigate the impact of extreme precipitation. The current Municipal Executive will be in office up to and including 2022. One of the goals it has set down is that by 2022, more than 2500 buildings in Rotterdam will have been rain-proofed. A building is considered rain-proof if an extreme downpour of 100 mm in two hours does not overflow the doorstep. The municipality is rain-proofing its own buildings by, e.g., creating water storage areas. Building owners qualify for grants to take adaptation measures. In addition, the municipality is preparing a medium-term strategy, which will constitute the basis for the implementation agendas of the next two terms of office of the Municipal Executive.
What is the strategy envisaged for the period 2022-2030?
In 2021 and 2022, the municipality will be working on a strategy for the period 2022-2030. This strategy is focused on five activities:
- The municipality intends to raise awareness of the need to take adaptation measures. One of the measures it is envisaging to this end is to join forces with local parties and elaborate how Rotterdam can be climate-proofed;
- The municipality intends to inspire local parties with good examples;
- The municipality intends to further develop its knowledge base on climate change and climate actions. Among other things, it will be drawing up a research agenda and developing a heat and drought monitoring strategy;
- The municipality will be taking measures to reduce damage and nuisance caused by extreme precipitation. Furthermore, it will be focusing attention on greening the city and rainwater processing in order to boost the city’s capacity to adapt to drought and heat;
- The municipality intends to embed climate adaptation in its policies and regulations. For example, it will be setting down requirements regarding the climate resilience of public space, which will be integrated into the Rotterdamse Stijl guidelines and into the design brief for climate-adaptive construction.
Lessons to be learned
The municipality of Rotterdam has gained a wide range of insights while drawing up the implementation agenda. These are the main lessons to be learned:
- A short-term implementation agenda is easier: as the implementation agenda involves collaboration with many parties, drawing up a short-term agenda is easier than developing a long-term agenda. This is mainly due to the fact that short-term measures will be more tangible for the parties involved. With respect to long-term measures, bringing all the parties in line is more difficult. Furthermore, coordination with the parties involved takes a lot of time, as a result of their different interests;
- Link measures to other funding goals: in some cases, securing funding for measures will be difficult, especially in times of uncertainty and shortages, such as the current Covid situation. However, a crisis also opens up adaptation opportunities. For example, demonstrating how the measures can contribute to achieving other goals of the city, such as sustainability and health, may help to garner support for additional funding;
- Do not forget about management costs: when applying for funding for measures, do not forget the resources required to manage the measure once it has been carried out.