Implementing Innovative Sustainable Solutions






To convene a Building Resilience Workshop, to be held February 25-27, 2010, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to address key issues such as climate change, sustainable development, human capital, public security, and culture and identity related to adopting a new way of living WITH water.   To exploring innovative flood mitigation strategies (wetlands restoration, non-structural approaches etc.) in New Orleans in particular and North America in general, and the institutional resistance to change that inhibits their adoption.  Speakers from European and North American institutions and local communities will explore the physical and cultural implications of redesigning cities for resilience in the face of global climate change.

The primary objectives of this workshop are to bring innovative flood mitigation techniques successfully used in Germany and the Netherlands to the attention of North American practitioners, policy-makers and community stakeholders, and to foster international collaboration to develop local solutions. The information exchange will include sustainable flood protection practices and strategies to create safe, permanent approaches to protect established communities and cultures in the face of impending environmental changes.  The workshop focuses on supporting established residential communities and raising the awareness in at-risk communities of advanced, sustainable urban flood resistance strategies at use in Europe and elsewhere.

Workshop attendees will discuss such questions as:  How have international communities, faced with repeated, catastrophic storm and flood events, maintained physical and social infrastructures?  What innovations have occurred in response to catastrophic events?  How can mitigation strategies that diffuse risk, as opposed to concentrating risk, reduce a community's overall vulnerability and increase its resilience?  How might cultures share “best practices” and incorporate innovative, sustainable technologies more quickly?  How can technical solutions be more responsive to social and cultural needs?  What planning decisions can we make now that will help us build resilience and adaptability into our cities in the future? 

In the short term, this workshop will bring together academic researchers, engineers, architects and planners specializing in sustainable flood protection practices with policy makers, community organizers and public officials, helping to expand the knowledge base, build exchange networks among participants, and develop solutions.  In the long term, the workshop will provide a springboard for the sharing of sustainable, low-impact technologies that save lives and make vulnerable communities, in North America and elsewhere, more resilient to climate change.