Students in Professor Ming Zhang’s Planning for Megaregions class took a trip to the Netherlands and Germany from February 8-15th to learn about “super-city regions” in the European context. The group started in Rotterdam and traveled to Nijmegen, Duisburg, Cologne, and Amsterdam to learn from local practitioners about regional planning strategies related to mobility and disaster mitigation.
In the beginning of the trip, students traveled outside Rotterdam, Netherlands to learn about their water management practices. The host explained how their approach to flood mitigation connected more rural parts of the Randstad region to the larger cities in the Netherlands.
Next, students visited Duisburg, Germany where they learned about the Emscher Landscape Park in the Ruhr region of Germany. The host explained how the park was created on vacant industrial land and turned into several parks that are connected through a bike and pedestrian trail. Students were also able to visit the national bike highway which is connected to these parks.
Finally, students went to Cologne, Germany to visit with Rupprecht consulting to learn about Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning. Rupprecht consulting helps cities all around the country create a strong SUMP that is integrated with other plans in the city and region. The host told students about some of the challenges specific cities faced and how they attempted to address these challenges in the plan.
By the end of the week students were exposed to several planning projects around mobility and disaster mitigation which allowed them to learn about how megaregions in Europe address these challenges.