Knowledge and participation
Both municipalities use the experiences and needs of the residents in a progressive manner . The knowledge that residents have about problem areas, plays a central role in the assessment of the effects of flooding and the ways it can be managed.
Using a broad range of tools - town meetings, climate workshops, visualization, sketch sessions - the observations and wishes of residents of Woerden were mapped. By looking at the problems on a very concrete level, experts and municipality officials were able to source as much information as possible. In some cases, the findings proved surprising. For example, through this process it has become apparent that the climate-proofing needs differ per specific neighbourhood. The resulting repair and maintenance projects are often not revolutionary from a technical viewpoint, but are noteworthy in the strong support received from the community.
A tangible focus on long-term quality of life
The practical concerns and stories offer a way to prioritize the order and manner in which issues need to be addressed. In Kockengen the issues raised by residents has directly influenced the material choice for street maintenance work. By using lighter materials for street paving, the rate of land subsidence will slow down.
For residents, this means a lower risk of flooding and better quality of life. For the municipality, this choice results in lower long-term maintenance costs.
The Waterproof Kockengen project has been named a national and exemplary case by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, due to the unique nature of collaboration between various stakeholders.
Case: Colourful Canals
The “Stadsbuitengracht” is a historic part of Utrecht. To improve water quality, ecological diversity and aesthetic appearance of the canal, volunteers are responsible for maintaining the riverbanks.
Actively involving residents in climate-proofing the community is an effective way of making the long-term focus tangible, which is necessary when dealing with climate change. Input can be gathered using a broad range of tools: from town meetings and climate workshops to visualization and sketch sessions.
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