Antwerp Waterplan, Towards A Future-proof Watercity.

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Submission Summary
The social, environmental and economic challenges as a result of climate change are enormous, above all in urban territories. Periods of extreme rainfall will increase both in frequency and intensity, also in the City of Antwerp. Furthermore the number of days with extreme heat will increase, resulting in longer periods of drought and reducing groundwater levels. To provide an answer to these challenges, the city of Antwerp has developed an urban Waterplan. Instead of solely focussing on the problems caused by climate change, the Waterplan equally focuses on the spatial potential and qualities that blue and green infrastructures can provide for dense urban fabrics. In addition to climatological and spatial challenges and opportunities, the Waterplan tells the story of Antwerp as a historic watercity and provides a narrative glimpse on Antwerp as future watersensitive city in order to increase water awareness. An analysis of the historical and current water system shows the evolving and sometimes tense dialogue between water and the city over the past centuries. Furthermore, an analysis of the existing urban structures in combination with climatological projections for current and future flooding shows the possibilities to find room for water-related challenges on a very small and pragmatic scale. The merge of this spatial and hydrological analysis learns that Antwerp can be identified as not only one, but three parallel Watercities. The first one is defined as the Hidden Watercity and refers to the historical water (infra)structures that played an important role in the urban development of Antwerp. It tells the story of (re)moved rivers, medieval sewage systems, military hydrological infrastructures, canals and the often hidden remnants of this history of Antwerp with water. The Natural Watercity focuses on the native origins on which the city is built. It includes natural topographies, greenblue networks, varying soil composition and stream valleys. In some specific locations in Antwerp, these elements are still tangible and provide significant spatial and climateadaptive qualities for the adjacent urban fabric. The technical water system on which the city functions today is named the Artificial Watercity. It shows sewer infrastructures, pumping stations and water treatment plants. These technical interventions have been installed during the past centuries, and were necessary for the city to grow and evolve. Nowadays, this is the most dominant Watercity. Climatological predictions and hydrological calculations however show that the future challenges can’t be resolved within these existing infrastructures. The Waterplan keynotes a citywide vision, building on a new equilibrium between the three watercities. The vision consists of five territorial water structures that build upon the resilience of the Natural Watercity and seek possibilities in the remnants of the Hidden Watercity. In addition to this city-wide vision, a toolbox consisting of 60 small scale watersensitive interventions has been developed. These pragmatic measures can accommodate stormwater in both private and public areas and are linked to specific urban typologies in Antwerp. Depending on the specific location in the city and the corresponding territorial water structure, certain interventions are more suitable to implement than others. The Waterplan creates a framework for transforming Antwerp into a futureproof city. But there is need for more. Several (design)workshops have been organised with a mix of sectors in order to gain better insight into possible complexities and bottlenecks to implement this methodology and vision. As a result, various people and sectors know the story and vision of the Waterplan. It shows that there is a need for a collaboration between spatial design and hydrological modelling, for both a physical and mental implementation and for a cooperation between different stakeholders. It frames and visualizes the transition towards a watersensitive city.
Submission ID :
ISO30
Submission Type
Submission Track
4: Resilience and adaptability. Al-Waha: promoting glocal solutions
Coördinator Public Space & Waterplan
,
City of Antwerp
Projectleader water-projects
,
City of Antwerp
Director Public Space
,
City of Antwerp

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