Webinar Series 2023

2023 Webinars

Creating Resilient Public Spaces to Cope with Extreme Heat: The Cases of Cologne and Wiesbaden, Germany

August 29, 2023 | 12 - 1 pm (EST)

Among the more problematic effects from climate change in Northern Virginia are the warming of urban centers and the effects of urban heat islands – especially on marginalized and vulnerable populations. Average annual temperatures have increased 2 degrees Fahrenheit (F) during the last 50 years. Moreover, historically, the average summer high temperature for the region has been 87 degrees F, but is projected to rise to between 93 and 97 degrees by 2080. The number of extreme heat days (days in which the heat index exceeds 95 degrees F) are projected to increase from an average of 30 per year to 75 by 2080. Climate resiliency plans now confront the imperative to design and plan public spaces that simultaneously promote cooling and are “green”, multi-functional, easily accessible, and affordable.  

Across the Atlantic, Germany has a nearly 200 year tradition of planning and operating public pools for the health of the workforce and nowadays for sport and leisure for everybody in a densely populated country. We are glad to present the strategic and operational case studies of the two cities Cologne and Wiesbaden, representing well known examples of "Freibäder" in Germany. Both municipalities have created standards for integrated designs for open spaces that promote multiple recreational uses beyond just swimming and splash parks. Featured Freibäder like Cologne’s “Stadionbad” or Wiesbaden’s “Opelbad” are often close to public transportation, include natural shading through on-site or proximate forest canopies, and incorporate a variety of pools for multiple uses (diving, exercise, splash parks) with multiple recreational implements, playgrounds and even dining.    

The webinar following webinar featured a presentation on the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the Stadionbad and Opelbad in Germany. The webinar aimed to stimulate new ideas for designs, concepts and plans about sustainable public spaces that mitigate urban heat islands for potential inclusion into local-level resiliency plans across Northern Virginia.




Social Housing That is Ecological, Equitable and Economic: The Case of Hamburg’s Pergolenviertel

June 28, 2023 | 12 - 1 PM (EST)

Local governments in Northern Virginia aspire to build and maintain housing that is equitable, ecological, accessible, affordable and dignified. However, the pressures of climate change (especially from urban heat islands), volatility in the real estate market, and access to social services or car-dependent transit challenge the attainment of profitability, environmental protection, human health, or social inclusion.

Across the Atlantic, the City of Hamburg, Germany, has pioneered the planning and operations of large-scale social housing that broadly integrates environmental, transportation, equity, economic development and sustainability attributes. The “Pergolenviertel” is an example of successfully integrated green infrastructure to mitigate stormwater and urban heat island effects, on-site social services, energy efficiency, access to public transport, multi-cultural/multi-generational living, and economic development. The housing project emanated from a unique strategic partnership involving the City of Hamburg, local stakeholders, and builders that led to construction of 1,700 residential units (for which 60% were affordable/social). The project was also designed and implemented to fit within Hamburg's climate policies and with profitable incentives for the builder and has represented a win-win for both the city and the residents.

Please join NVRC and the City of Hamburg for a webinar on June 28, 2023 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm EST to share an overview of the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of the housing complex as well as a discussion on potential applications in Northern Virginia. NVRC Chairman, Hon. John T. Chapman from the City of Alexandria, will provide opening remarks with considerations for communities in Alexandria and other parts of the region.

Presentation Slides

Speaker Bios:

Hans-Peter Boltres: Hans-Peter studied architecture and urban design at the University Stuttgart and Kansas University and has worked for the district of Hamburg-Nord since 2002 in different positions. He is currently head of the Department for economic, building and environmental issues of the district, 2007-2020 head of urban planning and landscaping in the same district, and responsible for the development of the Pergolenviertel.

Maike Schwarz-Müller: Maike is an employee of Hans Peter and an engineer for architecture and urban planning with an apprenticeship for business administration. She worked for 10 years in municipal consulting at a renowned institute before she decided work for the district of Hamburg-Nord in 2010 to apply her knowledge in daily use. Since then, she has coordinated the planning for the Pergolenviertel and other projects. Currently, she serves as a team leader for the informal planning department in Hamburg-Nord and also something like the knowledge base of the Pergolenviertel.


Flood Awareness Week Lunch and Learn Webinars 


Virginia Flood Awareness Week, March 12-18, 2023, encourages Virginians to learn about their flood risk and protect the life they’ve built with flood insurance. Just an inch of water entering a home can result in as much as $25,000 in damages. Yet only 3% of Virginians have flood insurance. Flood Awareness Week seeks to educate the public about protecting their property by purchasing a flood insurance policy, which on average in Virginia costs between $400 and $1000 annually. 

Learn more about flooding in Northern Virginia featuring local experts from Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria during two upcoming lunch and learn webinars: 


Comprehensive Flood Mitigation Planning: Exchange of Lessons Between Alexandria, Virginia and Hamburg (Germany)

March 21, 2023 | 12 - 1:15 PM

Like many local governments located along coasts, the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County and Prince William County must plan, design, budget and maintain long-term flood protection programs. But the urgent challenges from floods emanating from sea-level rise and more frequent and intense storm events create tension for local governments who must choose between high costs and effectively performing flood mitigation systems. 

Across the Atlantic, the City of Hamburg has pioneered the planning and application of advanced comprehensive flood mitigation planning systems at the micro- and macro levels. Hamburg’s decades of planning reflect a unique fusion of active and passive engineering, storm-surge protection, stormwater conveyance, monitoring, multiple self-deployable flood barriers. The union of these planning, design and engineering tools has parked Hamburg at the center of climate resilient planning.  

The City of Alexandria, NVRC, and George Mason University’s Institute for a Sustainable Earth and Virginia Climate Center held a webinar on March 21, 2023 to share local long- and short-term planning processes for flood protection and climate resiliency. The discussion featured Mr. Uwe A. Carstensen, a consultant for the City of Hamburg's “HafenCity” project, as well as Dr. Daniel Medina and Mr. Matthew Landes from the City of Alexandria, VA with presentations on their work with sustainable flood mitigation and opportunities for collaboration and lessons learning across the Atlantic.

Presentation Slides

Uwe A. Carstenesen: Urban Stormwater Management, Flood Protection Concept of HafenCity Hamburg

Daniel Medina and Matthew Landes: A Holistic Approach to Flood Resilience, Alexandria, Virginia

Speaker Bios:

Mr. Uwe A. Carstensen: A freelance consultant in the field of urban development, urban redevelopment and building culture.  Carstensen was born in 1968 and holds a University-Degree (Diploma) in Architecture from Technische Universität Braunschweig, where he took up his studies as a trained carpenter and cabinetmaker. After graduating in 2000, he started working for the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. In 2003 Carstensen joined the state-owned city development company HafenCity Hamburg GmbH as assistant to the executives before going freelance in 2006. As a freelancer with a focus on target group communications Carstensen accompanied the realization of the International Building Exhibition Hamburg 2013 from planning to implementation. Mr. Carstensen has worked for various city development projects regarding e.g. the University of Hamburg and regularly commissioned as an expert guide for HafenCity Hamburg.

Matthew Landes, PLA, CCM, ISA: Division Chief in the Department of Project Implementation. He is a Licensed Landscape Architect, Certified Construction Manager, and Certified Arborist.  Landes serves as the Program Manager for the City's Waterfront Implementation Program, Project Manager for the Waterfront Flood Mitigation Project, and is the Portfolio Manager for several sponsor project portfolios for the Parks and Recreation Department and the Office of Historic Alexandria. Matt started with the City in 2015 as a Principal Planner and Landscape Architect after practicing as a Professional Landscape Architect and Certified Arborist in the private sector with a special focus on Green Infrastructure, Low Impact Development strategies, and secure site design. 

Daniel Medina, PhD, PE: Stormwater Program Manager for the City of Alexandria, Virginia. He has 30 years of experience in water resource planning and program implementation. He obtained his Civil Engineering degree from Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia and obtained a PhD from Cornell University. His experience encompasses a wide array of water resources areas, especially in urban water issues including flood risk management, water supply, watershed restoration, and climate resilience. He has led projects in North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on the effects of uncontrolled highway runoff on receiving waters. He is a consultant for the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.