Matthijs Bouw to Speak on December 6

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy sent a record storm surge of 13.88’ across New York Harbor, inundating large swaths of lower Manhattan. This prompted Mayor Michael Bloomberg to vow that the city would be prepared when the next storm strikes.

On Wednesday, December 6 at 6:30 PM at Portsmouth Public Library, PS21 will present one of the designers of New York’s new flood protection plan, Dutch architect and urbanist Matthijs Bouw. He is a founder of One Architecture, an award-winning Amsterdam and New York-based design and planning firm. Bouw will discuss his experience in New York designing protective infrastructure along Manhattan’s shoreline, and his work in the Netherlands. One third of the Netherlands is below sea level. The country has long been recognized for its sophisticated water management strategies.

Attendees will have an opportunity to discuss what lessons might apply to Portsmouth, and what infrastructure options might protect our city from a rising sea and storms of unprecedented scale. Scientists advise that climate change will bring more such storms, and with greater frequency, and that the effects will be exacerbated by a sea level that is projected to rise some 3 to 6 feet by the end of the century. It is not hard to imagine a storm surge of unprecedented height rolling up the Piscataqua on an incoming tide.

Bouw is the Rockefeller Urban Resilience Fellow for PennDesign at the University of Pennsylvania, and is developing the Chief Resilience Officer curriculum for 100 Resilient Cities. His firm co-leads the team that won the Rebuild by Design competition for the flood protection of Manhattan, and is currently part of the multi-disciplinary teams executing the first phase of the East Side Coastal Resiliency project for Lower Manhattan, as well as planning the Lower Manhattan Coastal Protection project. In Panama, Bouw is the urban designer in the ‘Water Dialogues’ team. In the Netherlands, his firm is part of the ‘Hackable City’ team for Buiksloterham, a large-scale brownfield redevelopment in Amsterdam-Noord based on the principles of the circular economy.

The event is free and all are welcome. Please register to help ensure sufficient seating.

Upcoming Events

Density Done Well: On January 25, urban planner Brent Toderian will be presenting via a live video feed from Vancouver on his signature topic that brought him international renown, Density Done Well. As he notes in his blog, It’s an understatement to say that the D-Word is a controversial subject in cities across North America. It needn’t be so though, and shouldn’t be, as when it’s done well, density is immensely important to the success of cities and regions.” Following the presentation, the local audience at 3S Arts Center will have an opportunity to pose questions to Mr. Toderian.

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