The Texas A&M Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning program hopped on a bus and traveled to the Netherlands visiting the cities of Rotterdam, Den Haag, and Leiden.
Read here what our student, Lexi B. had to say about the excursion:
My name is Lexi B. and I am a senior Landscape Architecture major at Texas A&M University. Our program recently visited the Netherlands and it was my favorite excursion with AIB. It was my second time in the Netherlands and it felt great to be back. We went on a boat ride through the Kinderdijk and it was such a neat experience to get to see the windmills up close and learn how the Dutch people mastered the elements with the minimum technologies they had available in the 1700s. We then made our way to one of the most amazing structures in existence, the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier. This was something I was lucky enough to tour on my previous trip, seeing it a second time was still as great as the first. The Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier is an engineering and design marvel that protects the Zuid-Holland region which has over 3 million inhabitants. That night we stayed in Rotterdam, my favorite city in Europe.
The next morning some friends and I explored Rotterdam. We went to the Cube Houses, visited the market, and had lunch at the famous Market Hall. That afternoon the landscape architects went on a water management tour (I know, sounds fun right?) of Rotterdam. This tour focused on small scale ways the city was implementing water management into the urban fabric. The first stop was at the Benthemplein Watersquare. This, now multifunctional, space was once a drab concrete plaza that was underutilized by the surrounding building tenants. It now has three detention basins that collect the stormwater from the surrounding rooftops. The basins can be used for performances, playing soccer or basketball, and skateboarding when they are empty. We then saw a small rain garden that uses the collected water to irrigate the pants within. The tanks can be controlled by an app that allows a user to see how full the tanks are and if they need to be emptied. Our next stop was at a roof garden in the center of downtown. The garden grows vegetables used by the café. It also has an experimental green roof portion to test which material is best for the type of water collection an owner may be looking for. The last stop was at the largest of all the projects, Dakpark. Dakpark is a 1200m (about ¾ of a mile) long park that acts as a rooftop for big box stores and protects the residents of the Delfshaven from flooding.
On our third day, we traveled to Den Haag where we explored the landscaping of the Museum Voorlinden. The majority of the property is designed in the style of an English landscape garden with large open fields. The design around the museum was done by renowned landscape architecture Piet Oudolf. Piet Oudolf is most interested in the life cycle of plants, so his planting plans are full of perennials. The level of detail he puts into his planting plans are simply stunning. We spoke with the main groundskeeper who said they had over 20,000 plants they were maintaining in his design alone. Inside the museum was just as beautiful. I got to see my 3rd (!!!)Yayoi Kusama infinity room and stand inside the bowl of a swimming pool with a glass roof topped with rippling water. We wrapped up our day by traveling to the small university town of Leiden.
Our last morning in the Netherlands was spent on a tour of the beautiful Hortus Botanicus. This botanical garden is the oldest in the Netherlands. It began in the 1500s and was originally used to grow medicinal herbs. From the 1600s onward the garden was expanded to include tropical plants, a Japanese Garden, and has two glasshouses. The entrance to Hortus Botanicus is through one of these glasshouses. It is a four-story structure that is completely open. It houses a Wollemi Pine- a tree that was once thought to be extinct, desert plants with multiple spices of cacti and other angry-looking plants, and a huge collection of carnivorous plants. If you’re ever in the Netherlands I highly recommend giving this place a visit. I hope you enjoyed hearing about our trip! Keep exploring and don’t forget to be kind to the Earth. Thanks and GIG ‘EM!
Jeff A., Texas A&M Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning student, had the opportunity to talk to two reporters from Deutsche Welle about climate change and climate change activism in Germany and the US.
Deutsche Welle is one of Germany’s largest news producers and international broadcasters located here in Bonn. Their podcast ‘WorldLink’ focuses on “personal insight from those whose lives are impacted by global events”. Since climate change and the ‘Greta Thunberg’ effect have been hotly debated in Germany, they were looking for an American perspective on this as the movement goes global. Jeff gave them special insight into how he thinks the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement, widely popular in Europe, is taking off in the US and talked further about how he feels about climate change and the measures he’s taking to stop it.
To listen to what else Jeff had to say, check out the podcast here!
Thanks to Jeff for giving us his perspective and thanks to Deutsche Welle reporters, Gabriel and Neil, for giving our students the opportunity to talk to them!
Bonn’s most famous son – Ludwig van Beethoven, Ludwig in short – welcomes all the AIB Fall 2019 students to Bonn!
He just started at AIB, but already fits right in!
He'll soon meet all the Fall students and will welcome them to Bonn in person!
The Texas A&M Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning program, the Penn State Landscape Architecture program, the Loyola Marymount University Film program, the Loyola Marymount University Engineering Program, and the Loyola Marymount University Business, Arts, Communication program have already been here for a while and are all excited to meet the newest AIB staff member, Ludwig!
Check out the pics below for a first impression of Ludwig’s first day and the first program weeks!
Ludwig and AIB are looking forward to a great Fall semester with all students and faculty at AIB!
Stay tuned for more AIB news with Ludwig!
As summer is coming to a close, we would like to thank all our AIB Summer 2 session students and faculty!
We hope to see you again soon here in Bonn!
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The Texas A&M University Global Emergency Response students successfully completed their study abroad program at AIB by presenting their projects works. Madyson S. and Matthew K. describe their projects, focus of study and final presentations as follows:
"The final presentations included the combined work of three groups of Texas A&M students, each addressing the transboundary movements of people, public health, and response and preparedness. Each of these groups approached the topic from a unique perspective, focusing on climate change, population movement and communication. Top scholars and professionals in European and international institutions, agencies and organizations provided detailed information on their unique aspects and role in transboundary emergency response and preparedness. The final product presents a well-considered analysis of the information gathered from these professionals in addition to the current situation in both Germany and other European nations. The combination of viewpoints from guest lecturers to individual students and group interpretation provides an unparalleled presentation discussing public health preparedness and response in transboundary emergencies under three main categories: affected populations; economic and political issues involved in the movement of people; and interprofessional and health systems.
Climate change is becoming a more present threat to the world and continues to have detrimental effects on populations globally. The first group was specifically interested in the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters as well as at-risk populations affected by these disasters, what types of infectious diseases become of transboundary concern and how they are managed, how proper nutrition can be delivered and consumed by a range of different populations, the socially vulnerable populations and supportive measures for them, and what is required for transboundary cooperation both intranationally and internationally. While nations have managed these issues before, climate change is now intensifying the circumstances that follow. As natural disasters become more frequent and more intense, infectious diseases are challenging modern public health practices, population movement is overwhelming resources, and food security, as well as armed conflict, is negatively impacting large populations of people. Countries and communities around the world must begin implementing adaptive management strategies to adjust to the new threats that climate change presents.
The movement of peoples internationally has numerous impacts and repercussions, whether motivated by economics, climate change, or conflict. The second group discusses populations in movement; populations which are most vulnerable and how food insecurity, economic instability, and armed conflicts can cause these people to flee. Additionally there is consideration about the impact of the departure of these individuals from their country of origin; what are the economic costs to the country of destination, in terms of aid to individuals, costs to the health care systems, and the economic impacts of infectious disease resulting from this movement. Consideration is made on the systems which might be put in place to affect the threat of infectious disease, both at destination as well as in transit. And the group looks at current methods of international humanitarian aid offered to internally displaced persons and how the forced movement of people within their origin country may be mitigated through incorporating civil-military relations. Overall, Germany has been remarkably welcoming to populations seeking refuge, and there are lessons to be learned from the systems put in place to address the influx of people.
During an emergent situation, communication between interprofessional and health systems is essential for efficient transboundary preparedness and response. Through various circumstances, different organizations and agencies provide diverse contributions towards population movement, armed conflict, natural disasters, infectious diseases, and food security. Within these subject matters, the third group demonstrates the significance of preparation and communication in times of crisis. The group takes their expertise from the United States and compares it to their newfound knowledge of the German health system to understand the different mechanisms of emergency management. Universal communication is a perceived necessity; however, through research, this group has found that it lacks its maximum potential. Interprofessional and health systems become vital for emergency management, especially when working together and considering transboundary crises.
This past month, the Texas A&M students have been tasked with addressing public health preparedness and response in transboundary emergencies within the effects and influences of affected populations, economic and political issues, and in interprofessional and health systems. Through navigation of the vast information presented, each student was able to relate it back to their group, uncovering unique angles to transboundary emergency management. It is with these presentations that the students hope to showcase their takeaways and changed perspectives that have been shaped during their time in Germany"-
Congrats to everyone on their hard work and great presentations!