Resilient Urban Design

Urban Lab Flood Design

Image: Urban Lab's design for the Yangming Archipelago


I noted in a previous post on Houston and Hurricane Harvey that poor planning and urban design had exacerbated the floods, with a need to get the basics right in order to start the process of building resilient cities.

Well this article in today’s Guardian goes far beyond the basics, and highlights some of the great work being carried out in the field of resilient urban design! There’s a huge dynamism around how to design, retrofit and build cities which work with natural processes and use a combination of blue and green infrastructure, and innovative technologies such as permeable paving, in order to increase the resilience of the urban environment.

As well as big benefits from reduced flood risk, the best of these schemes also create vastly more amenable urban spaces for people to enjoy. Ecosystem service valuations of urban river restoration schemes to reduce flood risk, for example, find that the value from improved recreation and cultural services can outweigh the benefits from flood protection alone.

We always include a couple of sessions on urban planning and design in the Adaptation Academy, and this is why. Urban areas integrate a large number the problems we need to deal with in the field of climate resilience, and responses to these challenges can often act as a test bed for what works in building resilient systems more generally. Rather than being some kind of barrier to development, good planning processes can unlock positive visions and creative responses to the challenges cities face from climate change.  

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