Resilient cities

Sustainable urban development worldwide will determine our future

In 2050, 70 % of the world population will live in cities. This unprecedented urbanisation will affect the quality of life, health, safety and accessibility in our cities. Many megacities are located in fertile and accessible delta areas. Due to their location, these areas are vulnerable to land subsidence and the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise or heavy rainfall. Urbanisation can also lead to increasing environmental problems such as air pollution and inadequate waste management.

Cities are at the heart of our global transition towards sustainability. Witteveen+Bos believes that the sustainable development of cities is possible and necessary. Economic drivers such as real estate development can and should be used effectively to address environmental problems. Compact and high density cities offer more opportunities for public transport, reducing travel distances and travel time, leading to a reduction of CO2 emissions. The increasing value of vulnerable delta areas can be protected through integral climate adaptation. To address these global challenges, Witteveen+Bos uses the concept of Resilient Cities.

Urban resilience

Resilient Cities are prepared for the challenges of the coming decades. Urban resilience reflects the degree to which a city is able to adapt to changing internal and external conditions, is capable of self-organization and can build capacity for learning and adaptation.
In our vision, a resilient city can be developed based on following principles:
  1. The climate adaptive city: The is prepared for current and future climate extremes. A climate adaptive city prevents river and coastal flooding, can withstand heavy rainfall, minimizes the effect of the urban heat island effect and is prepared for extreme droughts.
  2. The healthy city: the city has good air quality, low noise levels and no safety risks. The use of green and water in the urban design of public space invites people to walk, play and cycle.
  3. The attractive city: The city invites people to live, work, visit and stay in the city. Our designs of public space and buildings increase the urban quality of the city and raise the real estate value of buildings.
  4. The ecological city: The city minimizes its impact on the environment and gives space to nature.
  5. The disaster proof city: The city is prepared for disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes and storms.
  6. The social city: The city is socially just, facilitates diversity and improves its social cohesion through social innovation.
  7. The energy neutral city: The city aims to achieve maximum energy efficiency and generates all its energy needs from renewable energy

Project approach

Witteveen+Bos designs and contributes to Resilient Cities through a multidisciplinary and solution-oriented approach. We call this strategic urban engineering: combining civil engineering, water, ecology, mobility, air quality, landscape and urban design in integrated urban projects. At the same time we ensure a proactive and interactive involvement of  residents and stakeholders.

Realistic and solution-focussed

Our projects have to improve the city in terms of water management, soil quality, climate impact and sustainability and must be feasible for our clients. Witteveen+Bos ensures that our engineering and consulting services are technically correct, compliant with the relevant legislation, fit within the available budget and the location and has support among stakeholders. We offer different services and products, such as an assessment model for sustainable site preparation, civil engineering plans, climate vulnerability assessments and urban climate adaptation strategies.

Interactive and proactive

Our approach is driven by stakeholder management and participation. The involvement of stakeholders and the creation of public support are key factors that determine the success of a project. From the beginning stakeholders are involved in the project. Examples are workshops, interviews with key stakeholders or consultations.


Witteveen+Bos  contributes to urban development projects nationally and internationally  that shape the urbanization of the coming decades. Reference projects include Climate adaptation strategy Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Abidjan Sustainable Urban Development project (Cote d’Ivoire), Jakarta’s masterplan ‘National capital integrated coastal development’ (NCICD), Knowledge Programme Land Subsidence in the Netherlands and Urban Development Westergouwe (Netherlands).