Dutch urban island wins major award

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The urban island being created in the river Waal in the Dutch town of Nijmegen has won the Waterfront Center Award 2011. The news was announced at the start of the international Water Week Conference in New York.

The jury of the prestigious prize praised the project for the way it integrated flood security with urban development. It also lauded its developers for sharing information with river cities in other countries. Previous winners of the award include New York and Sidney.

The construction of Nijmegen’s Veur-Lent urban island is part of a national project, Room for Rivers, led by the Department of Water Management of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. Under the plan, space is being created at dozens of locations along major rivers to allow them to flow over in a controlled manner and prevent flooding of urban areas and valuable farmland.

In Nijmegen the Waal is hemmed in by a tight bend and urban sprawl. To relieve the pressure there and reduce the risk of inundation in the middle of the city, a waterway is being dug parallel to the river’s northern bank. The prize-winning island is emerging between the river and the waterway as a result. The island will be developed as a park interspersed with houses and shops.

The new island, part of the city’s ongoing expansion, is scheduled to be completed in 2016 at an estimated cost of 360 million euros. It is the most prestigious project of the Room for Rivers scheme.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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