Rotterdam in 2011 is transforming its horizon. Old harbours are converted to city space, such as the RDM campus where this conference is hosted and new land is created. Underground space is becoming more and more part of the daily life for transport and storage. This requires top end geotechnical engineering, as harbours and infrastructure cannot be built economically, safe and efficient without properly addressing the challenges and opportunities the subsoil provides. Many well-educated and experienced engineers are needed for this kind of new horizons around the world.
Ask a geotechnical engineer what he or she is doing and you might get the answer: I am working on the 4D numerical modelling of the behaviour of saturated marine clay under cyclic loading conditions. Just a small number of people, probably the readers of this preface and just a handful of other geotechnical engineers, will understand the challenges and value of this specific topic. Had the engineer answered: I am predicting how we can build dikes that can withstand waves in a safe and economic way; a lot more people would have understood the importance of the work. This book shows an enormous variety of papers and topics, from the 4D numerical type to the more obvious societal issues, but all with the new and refreshing look of young engineers exploring the field of geotechnics.
I am proud to be a geotechnical engineer. I am even more proud of all the geotechnical engineers working worldwide contributing to sustainable living, to create safe, economic and pleasant spaces to live, work and relax. Some of these international experts provide key notes in this conference and have kindly agreed to interact with a new generation. It will give them the opportunity to exchange experiences and strengthen the field and network of geotechnical engineering.
The transformation continues. In 2004 and 2006 I attended the international YGEC conferences in Romania and Japan. Many of the participants from those conferences now play interesting and important roles in the international field of geotechnical engineering. It is my pleasure to organize the 21st EYGEC conference in the Netherlands together with an experienced scientific team and an enthusiastic organizing team. May the new horizons of Rotterdam and the views of the proud geotechnical engineers in this conference be an fertile inspiration.
EYGEC2011 Organising Committee