Access to water and waterways are an integral part of cities history and future. However, as waters are rising the relation between nature water and land, between nature and man-made interventions needs to be renegotiated. How can we protect ourselves without losing sight of the sea? How can we combine physical and social engineering and create safe and liveable cities? How can we create barriers with multiple functions and benefits.

In this theme we will look into possible technical solutions on two different scales. On the edge of the city and out to sea.


Traditionally harbour areas and industry have been placed on the edge of the city dominating the urban connection to the sea. With historical functions in the harbor areas declining a lot of space is opening up – and the interest and desire to live closer to the sea have never been bigger.  This calls for fundamental transformation of harbor-areas that builds on the historical heritage and yet add new functions in the right mix of sense and sensibility.


A more radical approach is to protect the entire city by large scale barriers. In particular for cities at fjords, this can be a promising way of ensuring not only the center of the city, but also the surrounding habitations. Technically, dikes are not a new solution. However, how should they be designed in order to adopt to densely populated places and sensitive nature? How can a barrier close to the city be an asset rather than a liability? What type of waterscapes can be imagined in the controlled waters created behind or within the barriers?

We encourage you to share your favorite examples of and thoughts on solutions that combine urban development and climate adaptation features.