Rising sea levels, land subsidence, extreme weather, drought: climate change confronts with new risks and challenges. The quality and value of our built environment are under pressure, especially in the highly urbanized yet vulnerable western part of our country.
The climate crisis also intersects with other demands, including the push to build new housing, the need to climate proof existing buildings, the requirements of the energy transition, and aspirations for circularity. These emerging transformations compete for limited space and resources, and there is a risk that are current strategies – which are fragmented and disconnected – could lead to dangerous and expensive “lock-ins” that constrain the long-term capacity of the Netherlands to adapt to climate change.
We urgently need new spatial strategies from government, private firms, and citizens alike to address climate risks and these broader challenges in equitable and effective ways. But today the relationships between climate, real estate, and infrastructure are not well understood or addressed.
Professor Ellen van Bueren and a team of over forty scientists, real estate investors and developers, policymakers, engineers, and other societal partners aim to change this. They’re teaming up for RED&BLUE: Real Estate Development & Building in Low Urban Environments, a new 5-year research platform funded by the Dutch Research Council that brings together key stakeholders to co-develop an integrated real estate climate risk governance strategy for the Dutch delta and beyond.
Bouwinvest, a major real estate investor and RED&BLUE partner, recently spoke with Ellen van Bueren about the research agenda:
“From universities to government departments, to research associations to independent stakeholders, we believe that if each party tries to address the problem on their own, they will always come up short. That is inevitable which is why RED & BLUE has been designed to pull together different fields of expertise from meteorology to risk modelling to real estate spatial planning to water management. We need a shared strategy.”