THE SHAPE OF WATER

From Jason King’s Landscape+Urbanism site

 

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“Rendering of Houston wetland channel showing ecological wetland, conservation areas, and recreation trails” p. 90-91

An amazing resource posted on ASLA’s The Dirt (here) focuses on Design Guidelines for Urban Wetlands, specifically what shapes are optimal for performance. Using simulations and physical testing to investigate hydraulic performance the team from the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) at MIT. Led by Heidi Nepf, Alan Berger and Celina Balderas Guzman along with a team including Tyler Swingle, Waishan Qiu, Manoel Xavier, Samantha Cohen, and Jonah Susskind, the project aims to have a practice application in design guidance informed by research. From their site:js_plan_typical-01

“Although constructed wetlands and detention basins have been built for stormwater management for a long time, their design has been largely driven by hydrologic performance. Bringing together fluid dynamics, landscape architecture, and urban planning, this research project explored how these natural treatment systems can be designed as multi-functional urban infrastructure to manage flooding, improve water quality, enhance biodiversity, and create amenities in cities.”
Starting in the beginning by outlining ‘The Stormwater Imperative’, the above goal is explained in more depth, and issues with how we’ve tackled these problems are also discussed, such as civil-focused problem solving or lack of scalability, but also explore the potential for how, through intentional design, these systems “can create novel urban ecosystems that offer recreation, aesthetic, and ecological benefits.” (1)

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The evolution that has resulted in destruction of wetlands through urbanization, coupled with deficient infrastructure leads to issues like flooding, water pollution due to the loss of the natural holding and filtering capacity of these systems and the increased flows. However, as pointed out by the authors, this can be an opportunity, as constructed wetlands “can partially restore some lost ecosystem services, especially in locations where wetlands do not currently exist.” (5)

The modeled flow patterns are also interesting, showing the differentiation from fast, regular, slow flows, along with any Eddy’s that were shown in dye testing using the flumes.

Read More

Check it out and see what you think.  The report is available as a online version via ISSUU or via PDF download from the LCAU site, where there are also some additional resources.  All images in this post are from these reports and should be credited to the LCAU team.

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AoU Landscape Urbanism notes & questions _ TIm Stonor

A commentary on the threat that fragmented urbanism poses to  the future city – is this the full story ? from Tim Stonor’s The Power of the Network

Fragmented urbanism: the rise of Landscape Urbanism & the threat it poses to the continuously connected city

TS intro
This is a crucial moment for urbanism. In the UK, the Portas review, highlighting the UK’s threatened high streets. Around the world, cities are growing faster than ever. But cities – as we knew them – are under threat.

First, from the car. Car-dependent urbanism is the principal form of urbanism on the planet. our cities have become so fragmented by road systems in the last century that it is now almost impossible not to be far dependent – not without a major demolition and reconnection programme.

Second, from designers, accepting of the car and intellectualising around this complicity.

The aim of this talk
I have been forming my own views and am looking to raise a discussion within the Academy of Urbanism and beyond. Do people agree with me? If so, how do we respond? If not, why not?

Mumbai on My Mind: Some Thoughts on Sustainability via landscape+urbanism

Further reviews of essays from Ecological Urbanism by Jason King of landscape+urbanismHomi Bhabha

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: Mumbai Slum – image via Lost & Found

 

“It is always too early, or too late, to talk of the ‘cities of the future.’ (78)
Bhabha uses this essay to frame the idea of sustainability and innovation, mentioning that “Any claim to newness, any proposal that we are ‘at the turning point’ of history, urbanity, or ecology, is at once a historical commitment and a tendentious and transitional proposition.” (78)

Zeekracht by OMA via landscape+urbanism

Further reviews of essays from Ecological Urbanism by Jason King of landscape+urbanism:

A related follow-up to the essay by Koolhaas, this short essay explores Zeekracht, a master plan for the North Sea, driven by it’s “high wind and consistent wind speeds and shallow waters…” making it “…arguably the world’s most suitable area for large-scale wind farming.” The project master plan (below) outlines the strategy.  “Rather than a fixed spatial plan, proposes a system of catalytic elements, that, although intendted for the present, are optimized for long-term sustainability.” (72)

From an ecological perspective the proposal looks to incorporate elements call ‘Reefs’ which are described as “simulated marine ecologies reinforcing the natural ecosystems (and eco-productivity) of the sea.” (72) Continue reading

Rem Koolhaas’: ‘Advancement versus Apocalypse’ via SustainableCitiesCollective

Here is a post by Jason King that delves into the dilemma over whether small scale interventions to improve ecological or social performance are worthwhile (individual building ‘greening’ such as LEED, Greenstar, Bream  buildings, green roofs and  local actions of individuals to conserve, recycle etc) or can only large scale interventions help? Its a comment on an essay in one of my favorite books of last year which has been called more of a ‘compendium of the possible’ than  a serious ‘reader’ on the subject of sustainability.

“As I mentioned in the recent reckoning of the L+U blog, I wanted to focus on a number of recent texts that I’ve had the chance to delve into (by disconnecting myself from the nefarious teat of the RSS feeder)  Of significance is finally getting around to expanding on the initial readings of the book Ecological Urbanism (check out Intro by Mohsen Mostafavi, ‘Why Ecological Urbanism?  Why Now?, in two parts here andhere) which although gigantic, dense and brick-like, is also yielding some engaging content.

Thus in lieu of another option for a book with over 100+ essays and snippets from various authors, I’m going to chronologically post on each one on a mostly, time permitting, daily basis – in some cases just a fragment or two worthy of discussion – sometimes in more length.  Hope you enjoy.  Here’s the first installment – follow by regular installments with the moniker RBC.

Continue reading