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How Dutch Cities are Soaking Up Rain and Reducing Flooding

on March 11, 2020 at 12:23 pm under , , , , ,
Photo: Dan Swenson | Graphics Editor

ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands — Eveline Bronsdijk knew she’d done her job when the people of Rotterdam began debating whether pigs should be allowed on rooftops.

In 2012, Bronsdijk, the city’s sustainability adviser, was trying to promote green roofs, thin layers of plants that make buildings cooler, the air cleaner and — most importantly for Rotterdam — gutters and storm drains drier.

At first, she touted how much rain the roofs can absorb, and how they could play a role in reducing the city’s increasingly chronic flooding problems. “But people don’t care about those technical aspects,” she said. “They thought it’s nonsense. Why invest in something above your head that you can’t see? Duh! End of story.”

Now Rotterdam has more than 100 acres of rooftop greenery. That’s enough to coat nearly every roof in New Orleans’ Central Business District with rain-absorbing vegetation. Rotterdam’s green roof initiative is one of a growing number of projects in Dutch cities that aim to capture and store rainwater while also making urban life more livable.

Learn more:

Don’t miss the excellent Keynote video “The Rotterdam Roofscape” by EVELINE BRONSDIJK, City of Rotterdam Sustainability Advisor now playing at our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2019.

Read more: Pour it on: How Dutch cities are soaking up rain and reducing flooding


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