When I visited Hamburg for the first time back in 2016, I was fascinated by its charm and unique love/hate relationship with water. The city`s l...When I visited Hamburg for the first time back in 2016, I was fascinated by its charm and unique love/hate relationship with water. The city`s location on the river Elba and its access to the North Sea brought to the city wealth and prosperity. It also brought floods and suffering to its citizens.
Today Hamburg is an example of how people can learn to live with regular floods. The city of Hamburg has created a smart system of technical and digital solutions for tracking flood risk and mitigating it. Flood protecting has been integrated into public spaces by making them floodable, yet many of them are tourists attractions in sunny days.
In Hamburg, Surviving Climate Change Means Living With Water
The German city relies on an innovative mix of new and ancient techniques to keep new waterfront development dry amid rising sea levels and more frequent storms.
Michael Schaper, head of Hamburg’s storm surge security team, gestures to a road that passes over a nearby bridge and across the harborside HafenCity district. “Do you see how it gradually rises?” he says. “The fact that the street level is just a few meters higher over there means it will be flood-protected for the next century.”
Schaper is referring to a 157-hectare, semi-artificial island on the banks of the River Elbe in the German port city, which experts describe as one of the world’s most innovative urban flood protection systems — even though it uses a technique that’s millennia-old. ...