HOW CITIES CAN MAKE ROOM FOR WATER: “Understanding the water cycle is an opportunity to generate a positive relationship between natural processes, plants and people,” stated Elisa Palazzo
Design for flooding: how cities can make room for water
“Science is clearly showing that the world is shifting towards a more unstable climate. Weather events like the flash floods in Sydney last week will be more frequent and extreme, while the intervals between them will become shorter. With rising sea levels and frequent floods, water landscapes will become part of our urban routine,” wrote Elisa Palazzo, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Built Environment at the University of New South Wales, in an article published by The Conversation.
The New Normal
“Most Australian cities are already located along coastlines or within river catchments. The majority of the Australian population will soon live in a flood zone. This means we will have to start planning and designing our cities for a new normal. We will become used to redesigned parks and gardens, for instance, that help us co-exist with water.”
Change of Perspective
“Understanding the water cycle is an opportunity to generate a positive relationship between natural processes, plants and people. We can learn to look at flooding as a regenerative element to improve life in urban areas.
“For a long time, however, urban design has overlooked the opportunity rainwater provides within the urban system. A conceptual leap forward is needed to shift the common perception of rain as waste to be disposed of. It can instead be seen as a non-renewable resource to be protected and reused.”
The idea to work with water through flood-mitigation measures based on natural processes has been explored in different ways. According to Elisa Palazzo, four main strategies are:
- Sponge spaces and safe failure
- Design for variability
- Don’t let it go
- Let it seep through
“Broad implementation of the strategies needed to reduce flooding across public and private domains is complex. It calls for a collective effort,” concludes Elisa Palazzo.
To Learn More:
To read the complete article posted in The Conversation, download Design for flooding: how cities can make room for water