Dutch Dialogues in New Orleans

New Orleans.The New Orleans newspaper Times-Picayune writes today about the Dutch Dialogues, conversations about water management in New Orleans.

The Dutch Dialogues workshops are interactions between Dutch experts and their Louisiana counterparts that started in March 2008; this is the third workshop in the series. David Waggonner, a local New Orleans architect, initiated the dialogues with the support of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC and the American Planning Association.

When Dutch planners and designers came to New Orleans for the first time their initial reaction was “Where is the water and why is it hidden?”. The philosophy of the dialogues;

South Louisiana, like the Netherlands, must adapt to the threats inherent to living in a subsiding delta. This is not an either/or proposition -- it is an ordering principle. Safety First” is the key organizing water management principle in the Netherlands. History repeatedly shows the folly of living in a delta: disasters are common there. To ignore, however, the water’s magic – the unique, abundant opportunities that can and should be exploited for economic, societal and cultural gain —is equally foolhardy

“Living with the water” has recently become an ordering, corollary principle of Dutch policy. Dutch Dialogues participants believe that adapting a Living with the Water principle is necessary in post-Katrina New Orleans; they likewise reject the false choice posited by those who see only a choice between safety or amenity from water in the Louisiana delta. Indeed, Dutch Dialogues posits that both safety and amenity from water are crucial to a future in which New Orleans is robust, vibrant and secure.

This Sunday there will be a public presentation by the project in New Orleans. More information is available at http://dutchdialogues.com. (Source: Royal Netherlands Embassy).

New Orleans.

(Image courtesy Waggonner & Ball Architects).

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