Design for Flooding: Architecture, Landscape, and Urban Design for Resilience to Climate Change

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This is a perennial debate every time an urban area is hit by flooding: whether building in a flood plain is smart to begin with. More than 1. This spring's Quebec floods led to calls for disaster relief and few changes in planning , just as the major Calgary flood of has resulted in the rebuilding of many damaged buildings located in the floodplains and no major shift in the city's land use policy.

Working with residents in Calgary after the disaster, Hay found "there were people who would say, genuinely, 'It's not going to happen again. Designing a new swath of city to be flood-proof is one thing; fortifying or even abandoning existing waterfront neighbourhoods is, politically, another thing entirely. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way.

Design for Flooding: Architecture, Landscape, and Urban Design for Resilience to Climate Change

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Log out. Article text size A. To view your reading history, you must be logged in. Log in Register. Urban design in the time of climate change: making a friend of floods. Alex Bozikovic Architecture Critic. Published July 7, Updated November 12, Comments Please log in to bookmark this story. Log In Create Free Account. It crosses five different neighborhoods within Boston, offering an opportunity to connect communities and generate social resiliency. According to FEMA, the northern third of the corridor is vulnerable to future flooding scenarios. The project builds on existing community gardens along the Southwest Corridor, which provide social open space, improve air quality, and increase public access to fresh food.

These gardens have the potential to be part of an innovative system of stormwater management. Stage 1. The corridor travels above the buried Stony Brook, providing the chance to incorporate an environmental resiliency strategy Stage 2. The food corridor can also make broader connections to the Muddy River, offering potential to utilize the invasive phragmites located there as biofuels Stage 3.

In several parts of the City these prototypes produce food, then transport the food along the corridor by various means, such as trains or walking and biking. Locals have access to the food through farmers markets, schools, and local restaurants. The generated waste becomes the compost used to grow more food, achieving a closed-loop food system. This is achieved by exposing the water to sunlight, and filtering the water with vegetation through an Articulated Concrete Block system. Biofuels are touted as a solution to rising fuel prices, growing energy demands, and the need to curb emissions of greenhouse gases.

Unless planned properly, biofuel crops are likely to escalate competition for water, especially in areas where it is already scarce. Stage 3 explores addressing the flooding problem by utilizing this water for harvesting biofuel crops. The water web is a non-linear redundant system that connects streets, parks, garages, and basins designed to slow, treat, and infiltrate stormwater into the existing linear infrastructure.

A portion of South Boston was identified as a testing ground for the water web concept, because of its location at the Reserved Channel on the South Boston Waterfront where a quintessential historical neighborhood - Southie - meets the rapidly developing Innovation District. Seaport Common is a acre green development located along the Reserved Channel on the South Boston Waterfront that will protect important surrounding industrial properties and residential neighborhoods. The current site is fully impervious and the linear stormwater management that currently exists sends the contaminated water directly into the Reserved Channel.

With its high, sloping levee, Seaport Common protects against storm surge and sea level rise, and contains rock breakwaters and saltwater marshlands to slow and soak the surge. There is a vast improvement of pedestrian circulation on the site with minimal disruption of the current existing building square footages or land uses. The site solutions serve as both protection and activation of the area.

The water parks, garages, and streets use a tank system that filters then stores the storm water for reuse. When the water streets are filled, underground pipes transfer the overflow to the larger capacity water garage or water park.


When the park or garage is filled, the pipes then transfer the overflow. These areas are densely built environments that suffer from a lack of open space to serve their residents and an overabundance of stormwater resultant from their highly paved environments. The many alleys in these districts offer an opportunity to layer functions, treating and infiltrating stormwater through blue roofs, green walls, and porous paving, and doubling as social spaces for the neighborhoods.

The project examined three prototypical types of alleys in the district based on their physical dimensions and vehicular and pedestrian access patterns. The proposal for each alley type is related to its specific environmental conditions, such as solar exposure, and its spatial capacity to accommodate various social programs.

The alleys have the potential to be networked together as a system of green infrastructure: blue roofs collect rainwater for irrigation of plantings, green walls help make an inviting pedestrian environment and reduce the urban heat island effect, and porous pavements reduce flood damage to buildings by allowing water to percolate into subsoils.

The downtown alley network will bolster both environmental and social resiliency for the neighborhoods it serves. While Boston is a city generally well served by open space, this statement is not true in every area of the region.

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Issues of intense industrialization in Everett, environmental justice in East Boston, and underserved river edges in Allston are addressed in this section, as projects investigate how open space needs can be leveraged to protect against the threat of flooding while creating resilient and enjoyable environments. Resultant prototypes include a topographical cell structure capable of adjusting to inundation levels, a shared-use pathway that challenges notions of accessibility and occupation, flexible platforms constructed of recycled materials, and a prioritization model for industrial relocation.

These prototypical studies are paired with a sitespecific strategy that creates a framework for a resilient open space system for the City. This system consists of an ecologically rich band of green and blue infrastructure stretching laterally across the City from the Malden to Island End rivers. The system makes key physical connections and navigates across financial, political, and infrastructural realities at the interface of the industrial and residential sides of Everett. Land uses and topography are arranged and constructed according to inundation projections.

In this way, the system transforms the threat of future flooding into a public asset as well as a safeguard to valuable industry. The Mystic River was historically a tidal corridor, rich with habitat and brackish marshes that filtered water and armored adjacent communities against flooding and storm surge. Over time, as the Mystic's edges have urbanized and the River has been dammed and channelized, marshlands have atrophied or been filled for valuable waterfront property, leaving adjacent communities vulnerable. This project proposes marsh re construction on some of the industrial, vacant, and underdeveloped land at the edge of the Mystic, providing more resilient natural landscapes to help armor against SLR and storm surge.

Industrial lands with high risk of contamination by flooding were identified and strategically relocated to make space for these marsh systems. Community programming and access to the Mystic riverfront were also important considerations of the proposal. Relationships between systems in East Boston such as topography, neighborhood demographics, available green space, and amenity locations in relation to public housing areas make Eagle Hill one of Boston's most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Influenced by these findings, this project follows the principle that quality design should be made available to everyone. Three specific locations networked together by a harborwalk were chosen for design interventions, bringing green space, a stronger sense of community, and climate change resiliency to the neighborhood of Eagle Hill.

Design interventions - a public housing complex, a park, and a community center - incorporate renewable energy technology, green roofs, stormwater mitigation, and social and educational programs to help in greening the gray. Each of these locations is anchored by an improvement and prototype development for the existing harborwalk, which would increase social activation and protect against district flooding.


Design for Flooding - Donald Watson, Michele Adams - Bok () | Bokus

The highly urbanized edges of the Charles River contribute vast quantities of rapidly moving stormwater to the watershed, causing flash flooding, erosion, water quality issues, sedimentation, algae, and other environmental concerns. With the added overlay of the threat of SLR. These projects analyze the robust transportation infrastructure in the Boston region and identify its points of weakness socially, environmentally, and financially. Over the next century, the proposal protects against rare floods in addition to projected daily high tides.

Meister Consultants Group Voluntary resilience standards: an assessment of the emerging market for resilience in the built environment, report for the energy, Kresge and Barr foundations, p 8. Enterprise Green Communities Ready to respond: strategies for multifamily building resilience.

Community Design for Climate Change - Alan Plattus - TEDxNatick

The RELi Collaborative. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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