A conference exploring climate change adaptation strategies, sustainable development, and the Dutch experience
May 16-17, 2013
The City and County of Los Angeles and partners will host a workshop and symposium organized in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Netherlands to explore the role of the Los Angeles River in the coming decades. The event builds on initiatives focused on the river and examines ways we can collaborate to achieve multiple benefits simultaneously: managing flood risk, increasing local water supplies, developing green infrastructure, and guiding sustainable urban development. The proceedings will serve as a basis for continued dialogue and exploration of solutions associated with the future of the Los Angeles River and, by extension, offer insight into the global role of urban rivers in times of climate change.
The Dutch Experience
In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Ike and Sandy, experts turned to the Netherlands to learn from its 800-year experience in managing water in an urban coastal zone. After two near-floods along Dutch rivers in 1993 and 1995, and given climate change and the likelihood of more extreme weather, the Dutch designed and are currently implementing a new approach to managing its rivers and floodplains, known as Room for the River.
This $3.1 billion highly collaborative program aims to restore natural floodplains and integrate planning and river management processes to lower flood risk while improving an area’s spatial function and quality. This new, more holistic approach inherent in Room for the River is also being combined with a Building with Nature strategy that recognizes the dynamic power of natural ecosystem functions.
Experience from the Room for the River program will be shared by Dutch experts, who will demonstrate how innovative models merging science, technology, and collaborative processes may help solve similar floodplain, water resources, development, infrastructure and planning challenges along the Los Angeles River.
The event promises to provide myriad opportunities for knowledge sharing and networking across disciplines and countries. The goal is to lay the framework to support continued exploration of climate change adaptation strategies in Los Angeles to help preventatively minimize adverse consequences of evolving environmental conditions while guiding innovative and sustainable urban development.
The first day and a half of the program will bring together a small working group of invited experts from the two countries to consider what physical, political and policy adaptations may be necessary to support a resilient Los Angeles in the 21st-century.
The Day One objectives are to collaboratively define priorities and establish prerequisites that follow those priorities. The group will spend the first half of Day Two building on the outcomes of the first day and exploring key regional solutions.
The afternoon of Day Two takes a wider and multi-disciplinary scope and will consist of a Public Symposium. The results of the two days’ work will be presented in a panel format. The event concludes with visual presentations to encourage continued discussion between the working group and the public.