Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation in Rotterdam, explains what the UN organisation does to promote and assist in the race to arrest global warming
How are you going about it?
The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that the climate is in a state of emergency, while we are now ‘just’ at 1.1 C degrees warming. We are in a race against time, we must make drastic changes. Rotterdam is already working on this, with green roofs and water squares. As the host of the GCA headquarters, the city wants to take the adaptation agenda further. We built the largest floating building in the world in six months; GCA’s office embodies our goal to scale and accelerate sustainable solutions.
What role do you see for architecture and urbanism?
We have to build with nature instead of fighting against it and breaking it down. For example, in Bangladesh we anticipate cyclones – not only with the construction of shelters, but also with the recovery of the mangrove woods, which are important to take the heaviest blows from the storm. An inspiring example of building with nature is the Dutch government project Ruimte voor Rivieren (Space for Rivers), in which land has been ‘sacrificed’ to widen the rivers. The project links measures to combat flooding with the development of housing and urban nature.
Kirsten Hannema is an architecture critic based in the Netherlands