SPONGE CITIES: “It’s important to make friends with water. We can make a water protection system a living system,” stated Kongjian Yu, the landscape architect who is famous for being the man who reintroduced ancient Chinese water systems to modern design
Kongjian Yu is best known for his “sponge cities”. President Xi Jinping and his government have adopted sponge cities as an urban planning and eco-city template. “The mottos of the sponge city are: Retain, adapt, slow down and reuse,” stated Kongjian Yu. “Based on thousands of years of Chinese wisdom, the first strategy is to contain water at the origin, when the rain falls from the sky on the ground. We have to keep the water.” Yu’s designs aim to build resilience in cities faced with rising sea levels, droughts and floods.
“Released in 2002, the Guidebook provides a framework for effective rainwater management throughout the province. This tool for local governments presents a methodology for moving from planning to action that focuses on implementing early action where it is most needed,” states Laura Maclean. “The Guidebook approach is designed to eliminate the root cause of negative ecological and property impacts of rainwater runoff by addressing the complete spectrum of rainfall events. The Guidebook approach contrasts with conventional ‘flows-and-pipes’ stormwater management.”
FLASHBACK TO 2003: “To provide a feedback loop for the Stormwater Planning Guidebook, the Regional District of Nanaimo developed and applied the At-Risk Methodology through a knowledge-based approach,” stated John Finnie, former General Manager of Environmental Services
“The most effective and affordable way to identify at-risk watersheds for priority action is to tap the knowledge of people within any regional district or municipality who have the necessary planning, ecology and engineering knowledge,” stated John Finnie. “If the right people with the right knowledge are involved at the start, a knowledge-based approach will be both time-efficient and cost-effective. Priority action should be focused in at-risk drainage catchments where there is both high pressure for land use change and a driver for action.”
FLASHBACK TO 2003: “Chilliwack’s Design Criteria Manual for Surface Water Management was a feedback loop for the province’s Stormwater Guidebook,” said Dipak Basu, Land Development Engineer
The City of Chillwack’s Manual was developed through an inter-departmental and inter-agency process that also included community participation. “Through this process, the group developed a common understanding regarding core concepts. This resulted in consensus on the vision and the direction of the Manual, particularly with respect to the framework that the Manual provides for future rainwater-related action in the City of Chilliwack,” stated Dipak Basu.
FLASHBACK TO 2003: “The new Stormwater Planning Guidebook for BC gives municipal land planners and engineers a tool to help make land development compatible with stream protection,” wrote Geoff Gilliard in an article published by Input Magazine
“Many local governments are under pressure to protect streamside property that is threatened by stormwater development,” wrote Geoff Gilliard. “The new Stormwater Planning Guidebook for BC gives municipal land planners and engineers a tool to help make land development compatible with stream protection. The Guidebook offers a new approach to stormwater management that eliminates the root cause of ecological and property impacts by designing for the complete spectrum of rainfall events.”
Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre – a new jewel in the crown of Metro Vancouver’s regional parks system
“The addition of the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre will offer education and grassroots engagement on the critical importance of watershed stewardship and environmental sustainability,” said Heather Deal, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Committee, at the official opening. “We are thrilled to officially open this Centre in Maple Ridge for the enjoyment of all Metro Vancouver residents and visitors.”
FLASHBACK TO 2010 FROM RAIN TO RESOURCE WORKSHOP: “The Water Balance Model allows the user to quickly establish the existing base line that will become the standard used to measure the performance of future development scenarios,” stated Jim Dumont
“The WBM embeds land use zoning from municipal member partners, soil calculator and a new calculation engine QUALHYMO utilizing the Environment Canada climate data that includes rainfall, snow, temperature and evaporation. The easy access and calculation speed combined with the embedded data and information allows the user to easily and effectively plan and design green infrastructure techniques which will achieve the vision and objectives established for the Site, the Development, or Watershed,” stated Jim Dumont.
FLASHBACK TO 2010: “Beyond the Guidebook 2010 showcases how a ‘convening for action’ culture has taken root in British Columbia. Bringing together local government practitioners in neutral forums has enabled implementers to collaborate as regional teams,” observed Glen Brown
“In 2005, we said that the Guidebook would be the ‘telling of the stories’ of how change is being implemented on-the-ground in BC. Before the chapters could be written, however, the regional case studies had to run their course,” stated Glen Brown. “Five years later, this is the story of how we got to here and where we are going next. Similar to the way the 2002 Guidebook is structured, Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is written in a way that provides the whole story for those that want it, or just key tidbits for others.”
FLASHBACK TO 2010: “A crucially important message in Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is that we now have the tools and experience to design with nature,” said Richard Boase
“So many of us in local government are still searching for the magical ‘silver bullet’ that with the stroke of a pen will resolve all our watershed issues and challenges while at the same time stimulate economic activity and accommodate growth. While the search continues, it is important to note that the practical solution is around us everywhere, and is staring right at us: Soil, vegetation and trees can do more for our watersheds than decades of planning, consulting and complicated engineering design will ever achieve,” stated Richard Boase.
PHILADELPHIA’S BOLD PLAN: Green City, Clean Waters – an inter-generational commitment to “optimize and engineer the landscape” to mimic and restore its natural hydrologic regime!
Philadelphia hopes by the mid-2030s to create the largest green stormwater infrastructure in the United States. Nancy Stoner says the program was never solely about slashing combined sewer overflow, but also about providing larger environmental and social benefits. “Philadelphia wanted to do much more,” Stoner says. “They did a benefits analysis before they began that showed it would enhance air quality and climate resiliency. It takes the problem of stormwater and turns it into an amenity.”