A new exhibition argues that a ‘landscape first’ approach to urban development, via innovative water management, could make our cities more resilient to flooding. But what does this look like in practice?

Designing With Water

The Barking Riverside development aims to transform the risk of flooding into a feature of the landscape, with areas of land given back to water, restoring its former function as a floodplain of the River Thames and connecting into the existing East London Green Grid ecological network. The parkland incorporates flood compensation areas for when a heavy storm event coincides with the high tide.

The Barking Riverside development aims to transform the risk of flooding into a feature of the landscape, with areas of land given back to water, restoring its former function as a floodplain of the River Thames and connecting into the existing East London Green Grid ecological network. The parkland incorporates flood compensation areas for when a heavy storm event coincides with the high tide Illustration: Gustafson Porter.

Illustration: Gustafson Porter.

Rainwater Harvesting

King’s Road is a campus artery in Newcastle University which suffers from flood and drainage problems. New proposals include rainwater harvesting and storage, rainwater planters that release water through evapotranspiration, green roofs and facades that reduce water run off and permeable paving allowing water to filter through and be stored.

King’s Road is a campus artery in Newcastle University which suffers from flood and drainage problems. New proposals include rainwater harvesting and storage, rainwater planters that release water through evapotranspiration, green roofs and facades that reduce water run off and permeable paving allowing water to filter through and be stored Illustration: OOBE Ltd.

Illustration: OOBE Ltd.

Green Roofs

The Herne Hill High Line project in south London involves the greening of 22 roofs in an area prone to flooding. Green roofs combat the effects of flash flooding and those in Herne Hill form a green corridor down a road that marks the course of the river Effra, which runs in the sewers and contributes to local drainage problems.

The Herne Hill High Line project in south London involves the greening of 22 roofs in an area prone to flooding. Green roofs combat the effects of flash flooding and those in Herne Hill form a green corridor down a road that marks the course of the river Effra, which runs in the sewers and contributes to local drainage problems Photograph: Urban Wild Project.

Photograph: Urban Wild Project.

Rain Gardens

Church Street and Paddington Green is an area in London with over-capacity drainage and flooding. A new public realm plan involves a 500% increase in trees as well as rain garden attenuation which will manage water greater than the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Church Street and Paddington Green is an area in London with over-capacity drainage and flooding. A new public realm plan involves a 500% increase in trees as well as rain garden attenuation which will manage water greater than the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool Illustration: Grant Associates.

Illustration: Grant Associates.

Flood Warnings

Park Works is an explorative project for the 1,500 acre Water Works Park in Des Moines, Iowa, proposing a ‘responsive, interactive and open-source park’. The park is embedded with sensors which warn of impending floods.

Park Works is an explorative project for the 1,500 acre Water Works park in Des Moines, Iowa, proposing a ‘responsive, interactive and open-source park’. The park is embedded with sensors which warn of impending floods Illustration: Project Studio / Ed Wall / Aaron Carpenter.

Illustration: Project Studio / Ed Wall / Aaron Carpenter.

Sustainable Drainage

The new Derbyshire Street Pocket Park in Bethnal Green, London, incorporates sustainable urban drainage to better manage surface water run off, green-roof covered bike racks and bin stores, and bespoke planters that capture rainwater.

The new Derbyshire Street Pocket Park in Bethnal Green, London, incorporates sustainable urban drainage to better manage surface water run off, green-roof covered bike racks and bin stores, and bespoke planters that capture rainwater Photograph: Greysmith Associates.

Photograph: Greysmith Associates.

 

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This feature originally appeared in The Guardian.

 

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