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Arlen Stawasz Ames Lecture Gallery

Exploration of Architecture and Sea Level Rise

February 25, 2014

With the support of the 2013 John Worthington Ames Scholarship, Arlen Stawasz traveled to the Netherlands and Bangladesh to research sea level rise mitigation strategies. These two highly populated nations that exist on deltaic landscapes have been consistently battling the water-flow forces of nature for hundreds of years. Both countries face many similar water issues but address them with an entirely different set of resources and solutions.

Approximately 67% of the Netherlands requires protection from dykes and dams, and 26% of the country is below sea level. The Dutch have been very proactive in their approach of ‘living with the water', and there are many lessons to be learned from their technical solutions. On the other hand, Bangladesh is predicted to experience a much more drastic impact on their agriculture than any other developing country in the world due to sea level rise (World Bank Development Research Group). Nevertheless, the country has been internationally recognized for its simplest forms and methods that address flood related issues.

This presentation will showcase some of the initiatives currently underway or that have been completed in both countries in the realm of preparing for climate change. From these experiences and through his investigations, Arlen will share his research on the political and economic strategies of Dutch and Bengali policies towards sea level rise. Arlen will also divulge conversations of his interviews with stakeholders, city planners, architects, and flood resilience group organizations planning for sea level rise. Arlen will tell stories of his engagements with Dutch and Bengali communities and residents who have lived to see the successes and failures of living with the water.

Arlen works for CBT Architects on a variety of projects, ranging from high rise development to academic and urban planning projects. He is also the co-chair of CBT's Sustainable Design Committee, which is focused on serving as an engine, resource, and motivational tool to foster change within the firm's culture and design practice.

Arlen is a member of the Urban Land Institute and serves as an instructor of the BAC faculty and an active member of the Alumni Board. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, photography, hiking, basketball, dancing, and Lebanese food.