Water: Planning for Today and Tomorrow
• German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI)
• University Alliance Ruhr
On February 16th, 2017, the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) New York and the University Alliance Ruhr, hosted the panel discussion “Water: Planning for Today and Tomorrow.” This panel presented two urban planning solutions – the Emscher landscape conversion project and Living Breakwaters in Staten Island, NY – that have been implemented both in the U.S. and in the Ruhr area in Germany. Experts from Germany and the U.S. introduced different approaches to ecological design and discussed the role of water at the interface of urban and rural territories.
The public event was opened by Peter Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the University Alliance Ruhr office in New York. Afterwards, Ambassador Jürgen Schulz, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, extended a warm welcome to the audience with a personal note about the positive changes in his home region, the Ruhr Area. Two presentations delved into questions of water, regional development and the environment. Dr. Uli Pätzel, CEO of Emschergenossenschaft and Lippeverband, laid out the historical path of water needs of the once heavily industrialized Ruhr region. After decades of mining and industry, the region now boasts over 300km of renaturalized waterways, bicycle paths and an extensive network of water treatment plants.
With a focus on New York City, Pippa Brashear, Director of Planning and Resilience at SCAPE, addressed the threats of climate change and the challenges of designing resilience projects. Her presentation on SCAPE’s Living Breakwaters, a project funded by Rebuild By Design, reminded attendees of the long-term effects of Hurricane Sandy and how local communities in Staten Island are re-thinking their co-existence with living in an urban-coastal context.
The conversation was moderated by Prof. Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at CUNY’s City College of New York and principal of Catherine Seavitt Studio. Following the public panel discussion, Dr. Uli Pätzel opened the exhibition “Transforming Regions – The Emscher Conversion” at the German House New York. The exhibition closed on March 3, 2017.
The event was part of the international symposium “Water Resilient Urban and Regional Development: Transforming City Regions & The Urban Research Network," which took place from 16-18 February, 2017. It was hosted by the New York office of the University Alliance Ruhr in close collaboration with TU Dortmund University, Rutgers University and the University of Virginia. The symposium’s aim was to exchange best practices in regional development and water management. Local and international partners from German and North American universities, municipal representatives and the private sector focused on the lessons-learned from their respective global regions.