T3.1: Green Infrastructures, flooding and people

The general idea of this session is to focus on the tension between green micro infrastructure and the gray macro one. This focus shed light on different case studies in order to understand how these different sides perform, and which one can be used to form our own resilient cities.

The common language between these presentations was not just to focus on the green infrastructure per se. It was more about the way of identifying the different levels that shape the policies of implementing this green infrastructure and how to find linkages between them. We can learn from the case studies that a pure top down, gray and macro scale infrastructure, in many cases, creates limitations on resilience and increases variabilities. Learning from history was an important point in this session as well, cities of the past grew resilient not just by having good infrastructures but by adapting themselves through hundreds of years, and we should get the best of this experience by learning from them in order to make our own cities more resilient as Yuan mentioned.

Urban Green Infrastructure: a study of type, opportunity and constraints for greater urban resilience
Simon Kilbane, Daniele La Rosa

The presentation focuses on the role of green infrastructure in the resilience of our cities. Rome and Sydney were used as case studies as they both have diverse geographical origins and planning history, and the presenter used imperial data in order to identify the effectiveness of the green infrastructure and ecosystem services existing in these cities. He proposed that the analysis of the spaces in these cities helps to understand the role of ecosystem services for a better urban resilience, especially during climate change.  The planning policies and strategies were also put into consideration, by comparing the capabilities of these green spaces between both cities and also by focusing on the three main resilience dimensions. The social resilience, climate resilience and eco resilience, the presenter mentioned that Sydney had richer top down green services. However, multiple grassroots movements are spreading in Rome to create eco resilient infrastructure. A big challenge that the presenter mentions was the lack of linkages between the different layers that shape the policies of implementing the green infrastructure. “We need to find dialog to connect between these linkages” he emphasizes, and that is to achieve better functioning ecosystem services.

It Takes A Micro-Village: A new understanding of the relationship between Socio-spatial Infrastructure and Equitable Resilience
Jess Pauly

Pauly talks about the reflection of people’s’ social values and priorities on the land that they live in and to understand the needs of people as ecosystems not as hierarchy. She mentions how capitalism in the United States created a top down spatial green infrastructure as part of changing the politic and economy. This created limitations on resilience and paralyzed bottom-up land use movements, which increased variability. She mansions that even though multiple movements of micro villages and transitional farms are implemented by some locals, they are not accessible by the public. As a result, the main theme in the presentation is to comprehend how the spatial environment affects our access to needs. Furthermore, in the presentation, Pauly mentions that we should understand the different layers in this spatial system by understanding the socio spatial linguistics like the Micro-Villages, Macro-Villages, and Multi-Villages. The question is how to have an infrastructure that provides this equitable access of ecosystem of human rights having a big challenge to face which is the inequitable infrastructure in the United States. the presentation ends with the emphasis on the definition of Micro village as a micro system not as part of a house.

Making Sponge City by Deciphering Indigenous Ecological Wisdom: case study of Chengdu, China
Lin Yuan

This presentation focuses on how to absorb the flood water and reuse it in china. Yuan is trying to understand this way by making a historical study on the flood system in the city of Chengdu. This study showed a special way of dealing with floods which is by separating the waterway into multiple smaller ones in order to have better control over flood water. This way of dealing with water shaped the house units in the city for centuries to come. It caused more dispersed units that were built along these smaller water lines. Another way that Yuan mentioned was the location of the houses in the city. Houses were built on elevated places that these small water lines cannot reach, and this gives more protection from water. He presents a question of how they can use these ways in the flood systems in today’s Chinese cities as china is facing more and more flood problems these days. He mentions that the government started to embrace the concept of Sponge City to deal with floodwater problems. This concept became more and more famous in china, and to improve this idea surveys have been made to analyze the main flood water problems in 30 Chinese cities.

A Tale of Two Rivers and Resilience in Tel-Aviv’s Metropolitan Region
Oren Shlomo, Nathan Marom

An analytical study on the two rivers of Tel-Aviv metropolitan area (the Yarkon and Ayalon) is held to understand how urban resilience planning is playing role in this city. Oren explains the flow and the route of the two rivers. He says “Resilience is to anticipate the flood’s timing” so further studies should be done to understand this along with adequate infrastructure. The mentions that unlike the Yarkon River which flows from the north-east through a relatively high-income area, the Ayalon flows from the south-east through a much lower-income area and the heart of the city where transportation is most dense. As a result, the resilience of the Ayalon river is considered as a gray infrastructure-based approach that includes complex strategies to deal with transportation and flood at the same time.  Oren investigates the inequality between the two rivers’ strategies as the Yarkon is diverted into a different flow but the Ayalon did not get the most adequate solution where needed. He analyzes the unequal resilience plans for both rivers by looking at historical data about the plans held for these rivers and to compare between the green approach done for Yarkon with the gray one for Ayalon.

The Design Politics of Flood Infrastructure in the Age of Resilient Urbanism
Zachary Lamb

This research aims to comprehend the variety of tools used for addressing climate change problems by answering the question of who benefits and who designs? The cities New Orleans and Dhaka are chosen as case studies because they have a flood-prone history. These two cities were compared by reviewing archives and making interviews to understand the differences between the two cities in dealing with floods. Lamp says that the two cities have almost the same flooding system which is to simply get rid of the water using gray infrastructure, and he describes this as unwise and unjust arguing that the best way to deal with this is to design with nature and putting in mind three design contributions, process, product, and communication. He mentions that dealing with floods as urgencies is the mainstream that many cities follow whereas dealing with it as (well mitigation) is a more practical way. He also mentions that the concept of everybody wins should change as it diverts people from the main priorities into unsuccessful projects.