Are “sponge cities” our future?

 Climate change 

By 2050, coastal areas will be home to 1.4 billion people and 570 cities, some of them vast megapolises, will be at threat from rising water levels, according to the international network C40. Extreme climatic events will only serve to exacerbate the risk of flooding, to which our port cities are increasingly exposed. In the course of the monitoring we carry out on your behalf, we are increasingly seeing the development of strategies inspired directly or indirectly by the “sponge city” concept. The aim is to restore the ground’s natural capacity to absorb water, a capacity that has been largely lost in our cities as a result of urban development, and the use of concrete and asphalt. The main solutions adopted include using porous materials, creating floodable green spaces, restoring wetland areas, and also treating and storing water for re-use during periods of drought. Chinese port cities are among the first cities to have opted for this approach, along with some major industrial groups such as Suez (a member of AIVP), which is helping Chongqing (China) along this path to becoming a resilient port city.

Demain la ville ; Ejinsight ; Government of Hong Kong ; Wuhan


A floating, carbon-neutral office building set to be built in a dock in Rotterdam (Netherlands)

 Climate change 

The three-storey building will house the headquarters of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), which works on measures to adapt to climate change. A whole range of solutions have been included to make the building self-sufficient and carbon-neutral: all-wood construction, green roof with solar panels, dock water used for air-conditioning, etc. The solutions are not only in line with the GCA’s own purpose, but can help all port cities to meet goal number 1 of the AIVP 2030 Agenda. The building is due to open at the end of 2020 in the Rijnhaven dock.

Archpaper ; Archdaily

A sustainable and smart city? Real-scale test in Copenhagen (Denmark)

 Climate change 

EnergyLab Nordhavn was created in 2015 to test energy solutions for a smart city. Use of renewable energies, low-energy buildings, electric mobility, flexible and optimised energy management are just some of the possibilities tested on a real-world scale in the port sector of Nordhavn, which is currently under redevelopment. EnergyLab Nordhavn presents the results of these four years of work in its latest annual report, and sets out recommendations for sustainable energy solutions. A showroom has been created in the former Nordhavn silo to explain their tests and findings. The approach is fully in line with goal number 1 of the AIVP 2030 Agenda, aimed at anticipating the consequences of climate change for port cities!

e smart city (+ video) ; EnergyLab Nordhavn ; Annual Report ; Recommendations


A new sustainable cruise terminal for Tallinn (Estonia)

 Climate change 

Various technical solutions have been studied to achieve the best possible environmental performance for the terminal, taking account of the Nordic climate. They include the use of geothermal and solar energy. Based in the heart of Tallinn’s old port district, the building will also be multi-purpose, capable of hosting conferences, concerts, and other events outside the cruise season. It will also have a children’s play area and a promenade.

➜ Port of Tallinn ; Video

EU project Ecclipse to assess climate change impact in ports

 Climate change 

Besides assessing the impact of climate change in South European ports, the project also ambitions to develop tools and predictive models to understand the impact at a local scale. Ecclipse also wants to increase awareness to the problems climate change will cause in port cities, contributing to define transnational prevention and adaptation strategies. According to the project responsible, existing models are developed at global, the project wants to complement them providing a local perspective that can be more useful for decision making processes. The project led by the Valenciaport Foundation, also includes the port of Valencia (Spain), Aveiro (Portugal) and Bordeaux (France), besides the support from Puertos del Estado, Hidromod and Cerema for technological support.

Europa Press, Fundacion Valenciaport

Going beyond carbon neutrality? The Stockholm Royal Seaport project (Sweden)

 Climate change 

Achieving carbon neutrality – eliminating as much carbon as you emit – is an ambitious goal in itself. But Stockholm is keen to go even further, and wants the former port district of Royal Seaport to be “climate positive” by 2030. New sustainability standards have been set for buildings, waste management and mobility, giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists, etc. Despite scepticism from many developers, the political commitment remained strong, and discussions helped to fine-tune the solutions put forward. Ten years on, the early returns are promising. CO2 emissions per capita are down strongly, for example. To go even further, a carbon credits system is set to be introduced, which should also impact developments in neighbouring districts.