This Monday the Kick off of the new international exchange programme ‘Creating Resilient Cities’ took place. The programme was opened by the managing director of the School of Built Environment, Robert van Ingen. He emphasized the importance of these questions for the future development of cities. The keynote speech was given by Marike Lendering from the Resilience team of the City of Rotterdam. She pointed out certain shocks and stresses the city of Rotterdam is likely to encounter in the future if we do not take action now, underlining the urgency.
Truly international and multidisciplinary
During a period of one semester 26 students, from 8 nationalities and 9 professional disciplines, will work on comparative research between either Rotterdam and Bristol, Rotterdam and Paris or Rotterdam and Thessaloniki. All cities are part of the 100 resilient cities network. www.100resilientcieties.org One of the main goals of the programme is to stimulate knowledge exchange within this network.
As you might expect of a network, Rotterdam University of applied sciences is not working alone on this. In her presentation, Janneska Spoelman, coordinator of the CRC programme, pointed out that defining the research projects was quite a challenge. Together with Annekéke van Kekem, International coordinator of the School of Built Environment, she visited the partner universities; Arsitotle University in Thessaloniki, University of the West of England in Bristol and ECE - Ecole d’ Ingenieurs[KAv(1] in Paris. Looking at both the Resilience strategies of the cities, the focus of the different universities and the professional background of the participating students, comparative applied research projects were defined.
Let’s get things started
Fortunately, all three partner universities where represented during the Kick off programme. Eleni Papadopoulou stated that with a history of thousands of years Thessaloniki has proven to be a resilient city on its own account. In contrast she also presented the challenges the people of Thessaloniki face every day like large youth migration, an increasing population of immigrants and a significant drop in GNP. In an informal setting, students were able to ask questions to the lecturers. They have the local knowledge. It caught Adam Sheppard, associate head of department and lecturer at UWE, by surprise when students started creatively redefining their own project area by looking at alternative solutions. Professor Phillipe Haïk from the ECE in Paris stated that students came well prepared to the discussion. They even recorded his comments to maintain all the given information. In December the students will be visiting the research area for two weeks, so most of the preparations have to be done at a distance. This meeting presented a unique opportunity for students in the preparation of their case.
Quick view into the future
At the beginning of February, results will be finalised and presented in a symposium. We are looking forward to the creative resilient solutions students will come up with. We hope to welcome our international guests and the City of Rotterdam for the symposium in February again.
Photocredits: Gerard Peet