Minister receives report on climate adaptation of residential areas in Utrecht region

Demissionair minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (links) met onderzoekers Herman Kasper Gilissen, Heleen Mees en Dries Hegger.
Outgoing minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (on the left) with researchers Herman Kasper Gilissen, Heleen Mees en Dries Hegger.

How can we adapt more to or arm ourselves against extreme weather? During a working visit, outgoing Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management accepted a report on this subject from Utrecht University. The report helps planners and lawyers to improve residential areas against heat stress, flooding and drought.

The study involved 25 law students, a PhD student, university lecturers and professors from the faculties Law, Economics, Governance & Organisation and Geosciences. With this study and report the Utrecht Region aims to prepare the next generation of planners, lawyers and leaders for major social challenges such as climate adaptation.

Practice and science learn from each other

The assignment to Utrecht University focused explicitly on the implementation of climate adaptation. This is innovative from both a scientific and a practical point of view, as most attention in the literature and practice is still focused on the policy phase. For this study we also worked together with engineering consultancy Sweco.

Researcher Heleen Mees, associate professor of Environmental Governance, about this approach: "It is extremely important that science meets the questions from practice, and that practice uses scientific knowledge to achieve better implementation. Researchers can investigate what is happening in the Netherlands and abroad, to learn from it and to translate it into concrete action perspectives, such as the 10 recommendations we have distilled from this study."

We increasingly do research wíth practitioners, rather than fór practitioners.

Afbeelding klimaatbestendige woonwijken

The researchers involved are Dr Herman Kasper Gilissen LLM and Prof. Marleen van Rijswick (faculty Law, Economics and Governance) and Dr ir. Dries Hegger, Dr Heleen Mees and Mandy van den Ende MSc (faculty of Geosciences).

More information can be found in the Dutch newsitem. The report is also available in Dutch.