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Cities at the Front Line of Floods, Storms, and Droughts

Adobestock 302507500 flooding web
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    7 LU/HSW AIA credits available

This is a sponsored event by the Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education.

Is your city at risk? On coasts, riverfront or in ever dryer regions? Do floods and extreme events like storms and droughts pose a threat to your community, your economy, the built environment, and your livelihood?

If yes, this program is for you. In a world of droughts, hurricanes, floods and sea level rise, cities are at extreme risk. The city is where we live, where the aggregation of our economies and environment accumulates value across our society. For example, assets along coasts are already losing billions of dollars in value, while real estate, which consists of 40% of the world’s assets, continues to see its own emissions rise, further exacerbating the very problem it is threatened by. Floods and storms cause immediate losses—lives and financial—increasing over time, while droughts have a crippling effect on regions GDPs for years, possibly decades. Rapidly increasing climate impacts not only ruin the economy and built assets, but increase inequalities and decrease opportunities, rapidly turning your city into a climate wasteland.

Henk Ovink, foremost global expert on climate resiliency, Ambassador of Water for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and a leader of the multi-billion-dollar efforts to rebuild the US East Coast after Hurricane Sandy, will analyze the specific dangers and opportunities and teach the path to city resiliency: how the connections between disparate city-wide systems—e.g. transit, sewage, sea walls, foundations, parks, waterbodies, community amenities, putting the city at risk at all scales and across all sectors and interests—can be used to change course and reverse this urban climate downfall.

Climate change breaks the city’s fabric from within: its social coherence as well as its economic strengths. This program explores how to build resiliency now, mainstreaming its measures with every investment, every initiative no matter how small or big, across all interdependent factors that make your city the best place on earth. How to develop and seize the new ‘blue and green’ city, a city where equity, equality, and economic opportunities pair with reversing climate change through rethinking public space and community developments, transit, net-zero buildings and water-sensitive parks and buildings. Your city of tomorrow, where resiliency opportunities—social, economic, cultural, and environmental—shape the future together.

Course Instructor

Henk Ovink
Ambassador for Water, the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Full Bio >>