Connecting Delta Cities


For protection from the rising sea, look to Europe’s example


Last summer, Peter van Veelen led me on a hydraulic tour of Rotterdam, an excursion along the canals, dikes, sluice gates, and cisterns that keep residents dry in an island of a city that’s mostly below sea level. Under a leaden sky, van Veelen, an urban planner, pedaled his battered three-speed. I trailed behind on a rental bike. He pointed at the red stones paving a plaza by the new central train station. A chamber below stores storm water gushing from the building’s 7-acre roof, delaying drainage into the city’s overtaxed storm-water system. And just then, heavy drops rained down, glazing the pavement and fogging van Veelen’s glasses.

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