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Will the Dutch Solve the Bay Area Resilience Challenge?

Nils Kok

The Dutch have some experience with water management and resilience -- after all, a large part of the country is built on reclaimed land, the Zuiderzee was turned into a de facto lake, and after a major flood killed almost 2,000 people in 1953, one of the world's largest flood gates was constructed to protect a whole province from the dangers of the sea.

But it's not just in construction and engineering that the Dutch try to conquer the elements. The same holds for building design and use of data and technology in providing solutions for resilience, which includes the ever-more present dangers of climate change.

GeoPhy has ample experience in using "big data" to assess the impact of climate risk and resilience on individual buildings and real estate portfolios. Using LiDAR, we mapped more than 3,500km of dikes, at a level so granular that the resulting dike profiles rival the quality of manual inspection. We then assessed the impact of rising water levels on flood risk and water overflow -- a very useful tool for the agency responsible for dike management, as well as for municipalities and homes adjacent to rivers (and at risk of flooding). The insurance industry may want to look at this tool as well... Check it out here!

Given the expertise of Holland in understanding and managing climate resilience, we were naturally attracted to The Bay Area Challenge, which is an open call for design proposals related to climate change and its effect on California’s Bay Area. Through local engagement, research and design initiatives, the organizers's ambition is to foster collaboration and leadership while addressing big challenges that affect local communities today and in the future.

To answer this call, we put together a multidisciplinary Dutch team comprising of UNStudio, Nelen & Schuurmans and GeoPhy. Together, the team combines great expertise, international experience and a strong track record in their given fields.

Ben van Berkel, Founder and Principal Architect, leads the multinational team of architects and urban planners at UNStudio. Ben is the Content Design Developer for the project. He will contribute his knowledge in planning and design and translate the programme brief into a location and challenge-specific organisational model.

Our own Teun van den Dries is the Founder and CEO of GeoPhy, a Dutch real estate data & analytics company. As Data Analytics Manager for the challenge, Teun will oversee the data analytics and translate this information into possible solution scenarios.

Fons Nelen is the CEO and Co-Founder at Nelen & Schuurmans. As Overall Project Manager Climate Resilience, Fons brings to the team vast experience in water management challenges and analytic and managerial skills.

All three are innovative leaders in their fields of expertise. Together, our team is focused on data-driven design, collaboration and engagement that empowers the various stakeholders with no-nonsense (resilience) data and economically feasible strategies.

We created a pretty awesome movie to get our friends in the Bay Area excited about the Dutch coming to solve San Francisco's problems... Watch it here!

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