Saturday, 6 October 2012

The final push in Delft

Post-Florida and pre-holidays, our time in Delft flew and, before we knew it, we were saying goodbye to Delft. The two months in June and July saw us follow two courses at UNESCO-IHE – Flood Risk Management and Hydroinformatics for Decision Support Systems. These two months also saw us experience some good Dutch weather (and, admittedly  also some terrible Dutch weather), which we lapped-up willingly, so please refer to the following post that it wasn't all work and no play!

As the namesake of our entire masters, the Flood Risk Management course was one that had always held special resonance in the schedule. Having also undertaken a course of the same name in Dresden, it was of interest to see the difference in approaches from the two institutes. The course in Dresden took a very holistic approach, covering a wide-base of the entire Flood Risk Management spectrum – from insurance and legal frameworks to spatial planning and social vulnerability studies, the Dresden course was deemed to be the pinnacle of our studies in Germany, providing a fantastic insight into the field. All thanks must go to Dr Katya Siemens, Dr Jochen Schanze and the numerous guest-speakers. At UNESCO-IHE, the FRM module took an approach much more focussed on the modelling and data-manipulation used in flood risk management. With consideration of Early Warning Systems, and the creation of models to produce such warnings, spatial depth-damage curves and more, the course took a more specialised approach to flood risk management. Which was good if you liked computer and models.

The Decision Support Systems module provided a first experience of a new field for the class: using computer programs and set methodologies to help make better and more informed decisions. Having already gained experience in the principles behind such concepts as Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) and Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA), it was of interest to see how computer programs could be used to formalise these procedures and facilitate more effective decision making. In addition to some very complicated website design/programming, excel macro-writing and, essentially, economics it was time to say goodbye to our academic life in Delft. It had been a hard ride, not a single member of the course was under delusions otherwise, but a ride in which a lot had been learnt.
The entire Delft group: Academic staff, Hydroinformatics students,
FRM students at the organised leaving party

To read about the social-side of our times in Holland, please check out the following post.

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