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The Coastal Flood Risk Reduction Program: five years of student exchanges between the Netherlands and Texas

The Coastal Flood Risk Reduction Program: five years of student exchanges between the Netherlands and Texas
April 2018
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The Coastal Flood Risk Reduction Program is an American-Dutch partnership for research and education that was started in 2012 and then formalized in 2014 thanks to a major grant from the National Science Foundation. The objectives of the partnership are:

• Setting up an integrated research and education program along the coast of Texas and in the Netherlands.

• Facilitate exchanges of students and teachers in both countries.

• Improving the insight into flood risks and risk reduction with the help of Dutch partners.

• Publishing the research results at multiple locations and at different stakeholders.

• Facilitating a network of American-Dutch business relations regarding the reduction of flood risks

• Informing the US and the Netherlands about the flood policy.

Over the past five years there have been various exchange programs between students from Technical University Delft in the Netherlands, and Texas A&M and Rice University in Texas. More than 50 students across these universities have collaborated on research in hydraulic engineering, water safety and water management. For example, in May for the third year in a row, a group of 16 students from Texas will go to the Netherlands to be immersed for two weeks in the Dutch way of dealing with a flood threat.

In addition to visits to the impressive large water works (Sand Motor, Delta Works, Afsluitdijk, Room for the River), TU Delft organizes international multidisciplinary design workshops in this context. Here students meet Dutch water experts, policy makers, municipal planners and other local stakeholders. At inspiring locations such as the new dunes at the Hondsbossche & Pettemer Zeewering or the windmills at Kinderdijk, they are challenged to come up with creative solutions for realistic local tasks together with Dutch students. Hydraulic engineering, spatial planning, ecology and social aspects must all be included in the final designs.

Mutual research projects are also carried between students from both regions. The Dutch students in Texas have made graduation projects on storm surge barriers, building with nature, risk communication, urban planning, landscape design and multifunctional flood defenses to reduce the risk of flooding.

An overview of these studies can be found in the book 'Delft Delta Design - Houston Galveston Bay, Texas, USA. (free download)

The Texan students in the Netherlands have done research on the flood risk in the port of Rotterdam, the Room for the River approach in Nijmegen and the flood risk management along the North Sea coast. This compares with the situation in the Houston-Galveston Bay Area. Their reports can be found in 'NSF-PIRE Coastal Flood Risk Reduction Program - Authentic Learning and Transformative Education. (free download)

The group of Texan students who will leave for the Netherlands in May will present their findings at the VU in Amsterdam on Friday May 23rd  from 9-13 am. You can attend this presentation after registration at b.l.m.kothuis@tudelft.nl.

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