After weather events like Katrina, and Ike, and Sandy, mega-storms have become less surprising, although no less devastating. Many communities are now quite serious about planning for them and keen on exploring new approaches to living with water.
To help communities think through how best to live with water we must begin thinking about designing with water in mind. For many years keeping water out seemed to be the best, most logical solution, so we fortified our cities and towns with great walls and dams. However, we now need more dynamic methods of enduring through flooding when blocking water out proves futile. It's time to consider construction and urban planning that anticipates flooding by letting water penetrate portions of buildings and waterfronts in a controlled manner, a perhaps counterintuitive but more effective solution.
Sasaki partnered with The Boston Harbor Association to pen Designing with Water: Creative Examples from Around the Globe, a report released today to address these very issues. The report is the second in the Preparing for the Rising Tides series, which the TBHA kicked off last February. This latest report in that series provides 12 case studies showing how Designing with Water strategies are being used by cities around the world to decrease potential flood damage while preserving the character of their communities. These case studies were selected on the basis of five guiding principles:
1. Design For Resilience
Resilience implies adapting to or bouncing back from a disturbance quickly. Resilient planning and design incorporates redundancy and anticipates change over time.
2. Create Double-Duty Solutions
Double-duty solutions provide multiple benefits to maximize economic, ecologic, and cultural gain.
3. Strengthen Community Resilience
Community resilience maintains and enhances the cultural identity that defines a city through resiliency networks and social support systems. Strategies that strengthen social resilience can both cost less and provide meaningful benefits to participants.
4. Incentivize and Institutionalize Preparedness
Citywide and regional adaptation plans are necessary to guide resiliency efforts. Insurance standards, zoning laws, construction codes, and policy are tools that local and state governments should consider to encourage adaptation within their communities.
5. Phase Plans Over Time
Designing with Water requires design and planning for flexibility and adaptability over time. Planning efforts that address sea level rise should be phased and have the ability to change based on external conditions.
To download the full report or executive summary click here.
Image above: courtesy of Emily Orpin