Dutch Prime Minister Visits Wentworth for Climate Resilience Session
July 23, 2019
Wentworth President Mark Thompson (left) and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (right) walk toward a climate workshop on Wentworth's campus July 19 (Photos by Heratch Ekmekjian)
Wentworth Institute of Technology hosted Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, July 19 during a special innovation workshop on climate resilience. Planned as part of a Dutch trade mission to the Boston area, the session focused on water resources and urban infrastructure.
The Dutch, recognized leaders on potential impacts of climate change, are currently working with counterparts in areas of New York and New Jersey; the San Francisco Bay area; Houston; New Orleans; and Charleston, South Carolina. At Wentworth, business leaders and government representatives from the Netherlands will join urban planners, architects, construction managers, industrial designers, civil and biological engineers to explore solutions for Boston.
“The consequences of climate change will be significant for Boston,” said Wentworth President Mark A. Thompson. “Our responsibility is to make sure we are educating architects, civil engineers and construction experts who can think big and work together creatively to find solutions.”
“Both Boston and the Netherlands have innovative mindsets, high concentrations of talent and productive startup ecosystems, making us natural partners,” said Rutte.
Thompson welcomed Rutte to campus before they joined the climate resilience session.
The Dutch delegation visited Boston and Cambridge on a mission led by Rutte and encompassed three tracks— climate resilience, artificial intelligence and robotics, life sciences and health.
Twelve Wentworth faculty members also attended the program on climate resilience, which, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, can be defined as the ability to anticipate, prepare for and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to climate.
Rutte’s visit to Wentworth came a day after his trip to the White House to discuss with President Trump ways to further strengthen economic and security cooperation between the United States and the Netherlands.
Background: Derelict Properties
The climate resilience session came amid parallel discussions between Dutch officials and Wentworth and city leaders over ideas to re-use languishing properties in Boston.
In March, Accelerate, Wentworth’s Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center launched CityLab, an immersive and high-impact experience with community leaders, students, faculty, and industry representatives from across disciplines and backgrounds. Their first task involved looking through the Dutch lens, with their long history of reclaiming spaces, to help develop a series of strategies and short-term solutions for underutilized and abandoned properties in Boston’s Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods.
Wentworth Institute of Technology, with industry leaders and Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell, organized the March CityLab event to get Boston started on a vision and plan for its vacant properties.
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