Room for the River Symposium

In 2012, The River Project was invited by the Kingdom of the Netherlands to join City and County leaders on a study visit to Rotterdam and Nijmegen.  Rotterdam, like Los Angeles, has one of the world’s largest ports in one of the most densely populated areas in the world. They have developed innovative solutions for climate change, water storage, city infrastructure design, port development, and flood avoidance.

The Dutch are world leaders in climate-resilient water management and planning, and over the course of a week, the American cohort met with the Netherlands’ foremost scientists, biologists, planners, and engineers.

Los Angeles then hosted the two-day “Room for the River: Los Angeles” conference, designed to expand upon plans to revitalize the Los Angeles River by learning from the experience of the Netherlands and its “Room for the River” initiative.

The conference brought together experts from the two countries in focused work groups to consider what physical, political and policy adaptations may be necessary to support a resilient Los Angeles in the 21st century. The groups then synthesized their efforts to graphically explore and build on their findings. The River Project led the workgroups on flood avoidance, and the Upper LA River region. The goal was to support continued exploration of integrated climate adaptation strategies in relation to the river and its floodplain.

Participants sought to foster collaboration and create a new vision and strategy for the Los Angeles River. One that, as the Dutch say, takes a ‘Climate to the Top’ rather than a ‘Business as Usual’ approach. The results of the proceedings are summarized and presented in the “Room for the River: Los Angeles” report.