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From grey to green: combat flooding in Walloon municipalities

In 2021, the wake of the floods that swept through Liège, Verviers, Trooz, La-Roche-en-Ardenne, and Rendeux among others, a visionary initiative has taken root. A framework-contract mission has been set in motion together with Wallonia’s Public Services (SPW) and Sweco, driven by a holistic approach to urbanistic and hydrologic challenges. This mission aims to offer guidance and support, serving as a source of assistance for municipalities dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters.

Revitalizing strategy

Envisioned as an integrated and multidisciplinary effort, the mission is poised to enhance the resilience of these affected areas. The strategy unfolds through demineralization and innovative water management solutions, aiming to counter future floods. Simultaneously, the mission endeavors to elevate environmental performance by revitalizing blue-green systems and establishing ecological corridors. Our team was assisted by IDEA Consult in operationalizing our projects by identifying potential sources of funding and relevant stakeholders.

Rethinking Verviers’ resiliency

The city of Verviers was one of the cities that suffered the most from the floods. In response, numerous projects were initiated to rethink the city’s resiliency in the Vesdre valley. Verviers embarked on its own project for demineralising the city centre and turned to our experts for guidance.

The Innovative Streets project calls for an innovative, resilient design of ten streets heavily damaged by the floods. The project uses a systemic design and transversal approach, starting from a robust contextual analysis to envision what these innovative streets would look like.

Building the roads of tomorrow

The street designs became a pretext to question the city’s strategies for developing soft mobilities, managing natural waterflows, connecting patches of biodiversity, and renewing Verviers’ industrial identity. Sweco’s experts in landscape, mobility, hydrology, and infrastructure worked together with local actors to establish a green and blue network in the city through the roads. The goal was to create a unique, innovative, and pleasant living environment while also improving the resilience of the territory through better water management.

In essence, this mission is not just about recovering from the disaster; it is about rebuilding in a way that makes the community stronger and more resilient to future challenges. The journey towards a solution is showing a sustainable path that can lead to a flood-resistant future for these communities.

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