On the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the New Waterway (Nieuwe Waterweg), the LDE PortCityFutures Center explores the past, present and future of this channel that links Rotterdam to the North Sea. It explores questions of shipping, dredging, and planning in the context of the Dutch delta and links it to ongoing debates on the environmental, spatial, and societal conditions of shipping channels internationally.
Canals, and other man-made interventions, have supported maritime traffic and port development for many centuries. Radical transformations of these shipping landscapes through land reclamation, diking and canalisation have been praised and celebrated as Herculean works of progress and modernity. Today, they are the scene of increasing tension between economic growth and associated infrastructural interventions focused on the quality, sustainability and resilience of natural systems, spatial settlement patterns and urban societies.
Channels and the landscapes that host them require radical reorganization of land use in their vicinity and of associated infrastructure to address (1) the globally recognized need for an energy transition, to mitigate and adapt to climate change and (2) to enhance the sustainability and resilience of the natural and societal systems of these regions, with the goal creating safer cities and richer ecosystems. Future strategies need to be based on broad public debate and support.
The symposium brings together a diverse group of international and local academics and professionals to discuss initiatives and possibilities for shipping channels and port cities, the challenges and implications for water management, spatial planning and design, and public participation. It sets the stage for much-needed interventions in water-related planning and management worldwide. Visit the conference website for more information.