CATCH in guest lecture Wageningen University
CATCH pilots projects featured in guest WSUD lecture at Wageningen University
(Report by Julia van der Heijden, Bachelor thesis researcher at Royal HaskoningDHV)
The 7 CATCH pilot projects featured in a guest lecture about Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) at the WUR last 11 April. As part of the international ‘Planning and Design of Urban Space’ course (link), the guest lecture was delivered by Nanco Dolman, leading professional at Royal HaskoningDHV and Water Sensitive City expert for the CATCH project. After the two hour lecture the students also went to work on a WSUD assignment in class.
The approx. 30 students who signed up for the course come from all over the globe. With a different background in culture and education, all these students share a common ambition to graduate in Urban Environmental Management at the level of Master of Science from the WUR. Next to the students and the guest teacher, also one of the WUR’s lecturers Joeri Willet was present, as well as Bachelor thesis researcher Julia van der Heijden. It was an interesting and motivated group of students, of which everyone paid attention to the inspiring speaker.
During the lecture Nanco talked about coping with challenges in water management, urban densification and climate change. By understanding these, often water-related, challenges and developing awareness, a water-sensitive city comes into sight. This was richly illustrated by international WSUD examples, including the 7 CATCH pilot projects (link). All pilot projects are good and different WSUD examples that help cities in the North Sea Region becoming more flood resilient and water sensitive.
After the lecture the WSUD theory was put into practice. The design assignment was based on one of the Gentilly Resilience District projects in New Orleans, USA (link). The aim of the assignment was to develop a WSUD approach or design a solution for the vacant Mirabeau property. This 25-acre site of the former convent of the Sisters of Saint Joseph was left vacant after hurricane Katrina in 2005. The students worked in four separate design teams, each provided with a set of geographical data, e.g. topography, surface elevation, land use, water system and a flood risk map.
Besides the ambition to re-build the convent and the school, each of the four student teams came up with their own WSUD solution. Following multiple use of space, the designs illustrated the “water garden” opportunity to store up to 10 million gallons of storm water while also serving as a space for recreation and environmental learning. Much of the information and examples from the WSUD lecture was included in the elaborations.