The Dutch have a rich and internationally renowned tradition when it comes to the intense relationship between urban development and water engineering. Their expertise and knowledge of the laws of water and ingenuous technology have helped them successfully transfer a wet and marshland type of area into an area for agricultural and urban use.
However, water is a surprising and dynamic element of nature, whilst the use and perception of water has also been subject to change throughout the years. This is why the relationship between city and water is dynamic; it constantly needs to be determined, designed, and devised.
Since the last decade of the twentieth century we are confronted with new and surprising effects of water: a rising sea level, increasingly intense rainfall, and greater differences in the volumes of water produced by rivers. Urban development forces us to consider a new relationship between city and water. The question is how to profit from the rich tradition of the Dutch Water City.
The Atlas of Dutch water cities illustrates this relationship between urban development and water engineering, and portrays a vast number of projects integrating the infrastructure of waterways and flood defences in architectural concepts. The examples are explained from a civil engineering, landscape, and urban point of view in order to serve as a guide for future developments.
This atlas is introduced at the same time as the exhibition Hollandse Waterstad opens, and is an integral part of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, with the theme ‘Flood’, organised in 2005 by Adriaan Geuze.