The Root Cause Of Flooding In The Urban Center And How It Can Be Mitigated

The Root Cause Of Flooding In The Urban Center And How It Can Be Mitigated

By Henry Libo-on

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THIS IS FOR DISCUSSION PURPOSES ONLY.

DISCLAIMER:

Materials used or quoted here are not the property of the writer and the Earthniversity. We highly acknowledge that.  Thanks. 

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Introduction

In the beginning, there was a land where grasses, trees, and plants grow abundantly.  There were rivers, streams, brooks, creeks, and other bodies of water that were on this piece of land. Then people came to establish their settlement on this land.  They built homes, schools, markets, churches, buildings for the use of government, commercial establishments and offices, among others. They also built road networks and dug canals that served as drainage for water used in the village as well as water brought by the rain.  The drainage was built in strategic areas of the land and the drainage system dumps its water into the rivers and finally the sea.

As the life of people improved, they bought cars and other motor vehicles that created a need for the village to concrete the road so that the cars can travel smoothly. In the beginning, the rainwater flows into the drainage as smoothly as it could be and the areas of the road which were not cemented absorbed the rainwater as quickly as it poured.

Many years passed, and high rise buildings were constructed.  Not only a few but many. Some of these buildings were even constructed above the creeks and streams without thought of its long-term effects on the village.  These buildings were occupied by people who also used water which will ultimately be going to the drainage to be emptied to the rivers and the sea.

Businesses flourished and several thousands of people were in the central business district, the malls, the offices, the restaurants, entertainment areas and on the road, among others.  The presence of people was accompanied by the presence of garbage. Every person visiting the village proper is consciously or unconsciously disposing of a certain amount of garbage such as paper, plastic cups, and water bottles, and others. 

Every day a certain amount of garbage was also scattered on the village’s road and that sometimes found their way into the Drainage. For several years this situation had been observable around the Village that most people also questioned the lack of discipline among its population. 

So, the village leaders hired cleaners to maintain the cleanliness of the roads and other places in the village. But the problem persisted. 

Then on an unexpected day, the rain fell.  It was heavy rain that lasted for a day. The rainwater has nowhere to go because the land had been covered with cement, a cemented road, a cemented parking area, cemented sidewalks, etcetera and so on and so forth.

The rainwater cannot also flow through the drainage system because these were clogged with plastic and other solid waste materials.  Most drainages were also covered with mud, sand or soil thus blocking the flow of rainwater. 

The drainage system was as old as the village.  Because of old age, the drainage system was not properly repaired and maintained and thus became unserviceable. The village leaders tried to repair the drainage system but they only do the repair in one area and forget the next line of drainage.  When they continue with the repair and maintenance of the drainage system, the village leaders made repairs in another part of the village forgetting the last line of the repaired drainage system.  

The rainwater will always find a way to flow back to the sea.  But it cannot properly flow to the creeks and rivers because the drainage system was also filled with garbage that blocked the natural flow of the rainwater. If the rainwater continues to flow through the repaired drainage, the rainwater will stop in the next clogged drainage. 

Because of the modernity of society, some human settlements constructed perimeter fence around their settlement thus blocking the natural flow of rainwater to the river.  Most areas of these settlements were also cemented, their roads, their sidewalks, even their yards thus eliminating the absorption of the rainwater to the ground.

With these events unfolding in the village, the people were surprised if not shocked that a few hours of rain resulted in floods. The rainwater has accumulated on the roads where people and vehicles pass.  In some areas of the village, the rainwater reached the waist level and in other areas of the village, the water reaches the knees of people. 

Cars and people were trapped in the floods. In some areas of the village, homes were damaged, appliances were broken, and the worst case of all, some lost their loved ones in the floods.

A few hours of rain resulted in the “birth” of new rivers all over the village that made the people angry at their village leaders for their lack of planning and implementation of the appropriate Flood Control and Drainage Program where billions of taxpayers money had been allocated for that purpose. 

And then it dawned upon them that their Village had several major rivers that can serve as Water Catchments when heavy rain pours. But where are they? Of course, they realized that these big rivers had been the dumpsites of the Villagers’ garbage and other wastes. Thus, clogging the rivers. The garbage that stayed in the river for a long time had become soft that caused siltation and too much mud in these riverways. 

So, who’s to blame? The Villagers? The Village Leaders? 

Some Villagers complain that the Drainage Improvement Project has become a “milking cow” for the corrupt Village Leaders. Other villagers believe that the Village Leaders are not competent to solve the problems of the Village.  On the other hand, some Villagers argue that the Village Leaders do not want to solve the problem so that they can implement more programs and projects thus requiring huge funding and in the end, the Village Leaders can amass big wealth through Corruption. 

In the end. what is the root cause of flooding in the urban center? Is it the Incompetence of the Village Leaders to find the best strategy to solve the problem?

Why does flooding occurs most of the time in the “concrete jungle” but less often in the residential areas where there are less cemented roads?

Why does flooding occur when there are big rivers, creeks, and streams that can serve as rainwater catchments? What happened to these rivers and creeks? Perhaps, the Villagers should check with their Local Leaders how the Zoning Ordinance, Environmental Compliance, as well as other Legislations or Laws have been implemented in their Village. Thus, something has to be done to mitigate the Flooding in the Village. 

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So, let us check the literature about flood control and see how the Villagers can learn from this.  We selected the article published by WAVIN, a “Dutch manufacturer of plastic pipes for drainage and water supply purposes”. The company is based in Zwolle, Netherlands.  Their published article is entitled “10 Measures To Prevent Urban Flooding”.

Before we proceed to the List, this writer/researcher, and Earthniversity would like to emphasize that we do not own the discussion hereunder presented. We acknowledged WAVIN as the sole source of this information or article.  Thank you.

Here are the 10 Measures To Prevent Urban Flooding by WAVIN. 

  • Create a ‘sponge city’. This concept has become very popular in China, a country that has seen the rate of urban flooding more than double in recent years. According to Kongjian Yu, the Dean of Peking University’s College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, “a sponge city is one that can hold, clean, and drain water in a natural way – using an ecological approach.”  So, rather than funneling rainwater away, a sponge city retains it for its own use, within its own boundaries. The uses include: irrigating gardens and urban farms, recharging depleted aquifers, replacing or replenishing the water used to flush toilets, and processing it so that it can be clean enough to use as drinking water. Arcadis, who incidentally is one of Wavin’s strategic MEP customers, has been appointed principal consultant for China’s Sponge City Project in Wuhan, the first of 16 cities to be used as beta sites in an initiative spearheaded by the Central government. The world will be watching and waiting to see how this new approach to stormwater management will pan out.

Hereunder is the link about the topic. Source: Business Insider at businessinsider.com

China is building 30 ‘sponge cities’ that aim to soak up floodwater and prevent disaster

 https://www.businessinsider.com/china-is-building-sponge-cities-that-absorb-water-2017-11

yan park 2

The photo shows the Yanweizhou Park in Jinhua, eastern China. Source: Business Insider at businessinsider.com  (Leanna Garfield, November 10, 2017). 

  • Green roofs/rooftop gardens. Green Roofs that are covered with vegetation by their very nature absorb rainwater and help to mitigate flooding, They have become very popular across Europe. The benefits, as they relate to water, are straightforward: for the building owner, it’s a stormwater management tool; for the community, it reduces stormwater runoff; and for the environment, it prevents combined sewer overflow, neutralizes the acid rain effect and removes nitrogen pollution from the rainwater.

10 measures to prevent flooding: green roofs

Green Roof at Culembor, The Netherlands.  Photo credit WAVIN at wevin.com 

  • Create flood plains and overflow areas for rivers. There was a time when floodplains covered large stretches along European rivers. Today, because of urban sprawl, less than half remain. There is a movement to restore these floodplains because of their significant role in flood protection, water management, and nature conservation. Essentially, what floodplains do is retain and absorb water, thereby shielding nearby towns from the effects of heavy rainfall by towns from the effects of heavy 

The photo shows the Floodplain at Isle of Wight, the United Kingdom following a 1 to 10-year flood. Source: WAVIN at wavin.com

  • Separating rainwater from the sewer system. To improve water management and protect the sewer from damage cities are beginning to revamp their underground pipe and drainage systems – by separating rainwater from the sewer system. The separation enables the wastewater treatment plant to function properly, without it being overburdened by large quantities of stormwater.

10 measures to prevent flooding: separate sewer from rain water with Wavin pipes

The photo is sourced from WAVIN at wavin.com

  • Install water infiltration and attenuation systems.  Nothing says rainwater management like a sustainable water attenuation and infiltration solution. With the Wavin attenuation and infiltration systems like Q-BicQ-BB, AquaCell and our latest product, Q-Bic Plus you can create underground tanks quickly and easily. Wavin units are designed for use in locations where there are heavy traffic loads and where local groundwater levels are high. The new unit is based on a modular concept that only uses side panels where they are really needed in an infiltration/attenuation tank. is lightweight and can be clicked together, without the use of connector pins or tools, which greatly increases installation speed. Made from virgin polypropylene, it is supremely robust and can withstand extreme loads.

10 measures to prevent flooding: Infiltration and attenuation tanks by Wavin - Q-Bic Plus

The photo shows the men working on attenuation and infiltration tanks. Photo credit: WAVIN at wavin.com

  • Keep the sewer system clean, so it can do its job.

    It seems like an obvious measure, but sewer systems can clog up with waste, debris, sediment, tree roots and leaves.  The more traditional sewer pipes have a tendency to rust and corrode, compounding the problem. Wavin’s plastic sewer pipe systems and Tegra manholes never corrode and are easy to clean and inspect. 

    10 measures to prevent flooding: keep the sewers clean! In the picture: Wavin Tegra 1000 G2 Manhole - installing lower Ladder Bracket

The photo shows the Wavin Tegra 1000 G2 Manhole – installing lower Ladder Bracket.  Source: WAVIN at wavin.com  
  • Sustainable drainage: permeable pavement, sidewalks, and gardens.

    In some urban areas, green space is considered a luxury. On the ground and on rooftops, there is so much concrete. Concrete is not permeable. It does not absorb rainwater. It blocks it and redirects it to the drainage systems which, in turn, often become clogged and then the water overflows into the streets and sidewalks. Unchecked, this will cause flooding. The concept of sustainable drainage makes perfect sense. As part of environmental initiatives that are underway in Europe and across the globe, the recommendation is that impermeable surfaces be replaced with permeable materials such as grass and gardens.  This will allow the rainwater to drain into the soil. The process, known as infiltration, also serves to sustain plant life.

10 measures to prevent flooding: Sustainable drainage: permeable pavement, sidewalks and gardens 

This photo shows how to do Sustainable drainage: permeable pavement, sidewalks, and gardens. In the picture; half-open pavement with grass. Source: WAVIN at wavin.com

Once again, Earthniversity emphasizes that we do not own the ideas, discussion, and photos, among others.  We fully acknowledged WAVIN as the source of this information which is cited in this presentation.  We consider WAVIN as experts in this field so we quoted their work here to help growing cities and towns or villages with their problem on Flooding and Drainage System improvement. 

  • Hope for the best, but plan or the worst.

Despite best rainwater management practices, homes and buildings may still be subject to flooding. As an extra precaution, retrofitting your home so as to minimize damage and/or injuries is a smart (and proactive) project.  Some measures include raising electrical outlets and sockets higher on the wall, waterproofing the building or home, ensuring that the windows and doors have weatherproof seals, and replacing MDF or plasterboard with more durable materials.

  • Improve flood warning mechanisms.

    Properly conveying advance warnings of impending storms and floods will not only give people the opportunity to be proactive in preventing damage to their property, but it will also save lives. In Europe, initiatives like this flood early warning system and dike monitoring are in progress to overhaul the manner in which natural disasters, such as flooding, can be accurately assessed and when (and how often) warnings should be communicated. State-of-the-art global forecast systems and early warning mechanisms are being finetuned, so as to “create an operational tool for decision-makers, including national and regional water authorities, water resource managers, hydropower companies, civil protection and first-line responders, and international humanitarian aid organizations.” (The European Commission – Joint Research Centre(JRC).

Improve flood warning mechanisms

Photo credit: WAVIN at wavin.com.  Earthniversity does not own this photo but thanks WAVIN for making this available on-line.  Earthinversity does not own any ideas being discussed here but acknowledged its source as WAVIN at wavin.com.  We consider WAVIN as experts in the field of flooding mitigation so we presented these ideas here to help our readers who are facing Flooding in their cities, towns or villages.  Thanks.

  • Take action!

We can’t just leave it up to the government, municipalities, environmentalists or urban planners to put an infrastructure in place to prevent urban flooding. We – each of us – must make it our personal responsibility to adapt to climate change. Whether it’s collecting rainwater or building a garden on top of our roofs, it’s imperative that we take the steps necessary to be part of the rainwater management solution. 

According to the European Environment Agency, “Annual flood losses can be expected to increase fivefold by 2050 and up to 17fold by 2080.” The EEA released a report on the need for climate change adaptation in Europe. The fact is that preventative measures need to be put into place sooner, rather than later. As for Wavin, we will continue to play a leading role in the development and production of forward-thinking, sustainable stormwater solutions – to diminish the challenges of urban flooding and do our part to adapt to the reality that is climate change.    

 

  • COMMENTS:
  • If the Village has several riverways, these can be utilized as water catchments. Engineering works should be done by experts.
  • Vacant land can also be utilized as water catchments.  Again, Engineers or experts in this work should be tapped.
  • Sidewalks, Gardens, and other spaces around any building or structures in the Village must construct permeable pavements.  This will enable the rainwater to be absorbed by the soil and thus lessening the volume of floodwater. 
  • Building owners must be required to adopt a Green Infrastructure Program which is making Gardens on the Rooftops of their Buildings and other Structures.
  • Residents of the Village must be encouraged to practice “Rain Harvesting” by catching the rainwater and placed them on big containers that can be used for watering the plants, flushing the toilets, laundry and even bathing.
  • Other projects that can help prevent rainwater from accumulating in just one place. 
  • Finally, the Villagers observed for so many years that the Engineering Team and the Village Leaders seem to have teamwork to commit fraud and corruption.  The residents of the village saw how the engineering team dig the road that was repaired about a year ago. Their explanation was they are going to construct the drainage. How on earth will this happen that they will construct the drainage when it appears that the area is in the middle of the road? Where was the last line of drainage that was built a few years ago? Is that a continuation of the newly built drainage? The people knew that it doesn’t look like it is.
  • The Villagers complain that the Engineering Team and the Village Leaders seem to have a Teamwork to commit fraud and corruption.  To the residents, this is clear as the sun.
  • The Villagers knew that their Leaders had been serving them for a long time, how come that they did not bother to clean up the many rivers in the Village to improve the flow of rainwater to the sea?
  • The residents knew that the Village Leaders cannot make an alibi that they do not know how to do it or need an expert to make a study on how to improve the drainage system of the Village. Why? Because the residents and some village leaders were involved in the production of several volumes of documents on the Feasibility Study on Drainage Improvement and Flood Control. What happened to these studies? Why is there a need to spend millions to make another study? Is corruption a part of this scheme? The Villages were aghast.
  • The construction boom that the Village Leaders were proud to talk about needs a second look from the point of view of the Village land use and zoning. Why was the construction of some tall buildings allowed to sit on “living” creeks or streams? What happened to the laws on the Environment? Who prepared their environment study and who approved their ECC’s or Environment Compliance Certificate? 
  • How about those subdivisions? Why were they allowed to construct a perimeter fence that covered the natural flow of rainwater to the creek or river? Whose fault is this, the residents? Who holds the implementation of the Law? Isn’t it the Village Leaders? So, why blame the residents of this flop in governance?
  • There is still time for the Villagers to improve the quality of life in this Village.  Perhaps, the Villagers should be aware that placing incompetent people to the job does not make their Village a Livable Village after all.
  • Finally, we are not experts on Flood Mitigation but good observers of how things should be done properly. When the Roman Empire constructed their roads, bridges, and aqueducts, the Romans do not have a college or a master’s degree in Engineering. But they built those roads, bridges, and aqueducts that withstood the test of time. The Egyptians were not graduate in Engineering but they built good infrastructures and even the Pyramids.
  • We are living in a modern world, so to speak but the Villagers knew that you do not dig the newly repaired road to construct drainage. You plan what you want to do and do it systematically. The Villagers knew that the builders are not Romans but the people knew that the builders are college degree holders. Don’t create a fraud of yourselves. 
  • This writer and Earthniversity thank our References and sources of information on how to mitigate urban flooding.
  • We hope you can improve on this by adding your own knowledge.  
  • We hope this Village can correct the mistakes in governance that their Village Leaders perpetrated.
  • Have a nice day. 
  • 10 MEASURES TO PREVENT URBAN FLOODING as suggested by WAVIN will inspire all the Stakeholders in every Village, Town, and City to think of the ways in which Flooding can be mitigated.

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  • The link here is Wavin 10 Steps to prevent urban flooding.

https://www.wavin.com/en-en/News-Cases/News/10-measures-to-prevent-urban-flooding

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FOR DISCUSSION PURPOSE ONLY.

Disclaimer:

This researcher and Earthniversity do not claim ownership of this article and the ideas presented here.

The 10 Measures To Prevent Urban Flooding is taken from the article of the same title published on the website of WAVIN through wavin.com.  

We thank WAVIN through wavin.com. for sharing this article “10 Measures To Prevent Urban Flooding”.

We would also like to acknowledge Leanna Garfield of Business Insider for her article entitled “China is building 30 ‘sponge cities’ that aim to soak up floodwater and prevent disaster”.  Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/china-is-building-sponge-cities-that-absorb-water-2017-11

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About WAVIN.

According to Wikipedia and I quote:

“Wavin B.V. is a Dutch manufacturer of plastic pipes, mainly for drainage and water supply purposes. The company was officially founded on 5 August 1955, its name deriving from water and vinyl chloride. The company provides plastic pipe systems and products for tap water, surface heating, and cooling, soil and waste, rainwater, distribution of drinking water and gas and telecom applications.

The company is headquartered in Zwolle, Netherlands and operates in 25 European countries. Via its central export organization Wavin Overseas, the company has a network of agents and licensed partners in Asia, Australia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. The Group also has a facility in Foshan, China.

Due to the common use of Wavin products, the name has become genericized in some parts of Ireland to refer to any manufacturer of orange-colored drainpipes[citation needed]. The company operates in three locations in Ireland, with the main manufacturing and distribution plant in BalbrigganNorth County Dublin, and additional offices in Lisburn and Cork.[1]

Wavin’s own Technology and Innovation Centre (Wavin T&I), employs more than 50 people to develop new products and systems with local Wavin companies. Products for the European market include the “smartFIX” push-fit fitting, the Tempower surface heating and cooling product, Tegra manholes and inspection chambers and the SiTech low noise in-house soil and waste system.”

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THANK YOU, WAVIN. 

References:

1. 10 Measures To Prevent Urban Flooding by Wavin at wavin.com.  Source: https://www.wavin.com/en-en/News-Cases/News/10-measures-to-prevent-urban-flooding

2. “China is building 30 ‘sponge cities’ that aim to soak up floodwater and prevent disaster” by Leanna Garfield, November 10, 2017 Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/china-is-building-sponge-cities-that-absorb-water-2017-11

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March 9, 2020.

Researched by Henry Libo-on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Human Settlements In The Atmosphere of Venus?

Why not. It may appear like a sci-fi movie but when the possibility of establishing  a human settlements in the atmosphere of Venus is confirmed by studies, it would change our perceptions of life in outer space. Find out more about this project here:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/this-inflatable-plane-could-explore-the-clouds-of-venus/ar-BBkdPsf?ocid=DELLDHP

Current Issues on Urban Metabolism & Harvard University Graduate School of Design Lectures, Part 3 of 3.


Source: Youtube. This video is not owned by Earthniversity but by Harvard University Graduate School of Design in connection with their lectures on Projective Views on Urban Metabolism which they uploaded and published on youtube on February 14, 2014. Thank you HUGSD for sharing this video/lectures with all interested people on planet Earth.

Comment:

Urban Metabolism has always fascinated me. I came to know about this in 2000 when I was attending a short course on Designing Sustainable Development under the Master in Urban Management Program in the University of Canberra in Australia. Since then, I got hooked by it because of its relevance to urban planning and design. Its idea of treating urban area or as I would like to use it – human settlement – like a human body that metabolizes, is really relevant in the development, planning and designing of cities and urban areas. But what is Urban Metabolism?

WHAT IS URBAN?
The word urban refers to or pertains to a city, or belonging to a city. (Wikipedia)

WHAT IS METABOLISM?

“Metabolism (from Greek: μεταβολή metabolē, “change”) is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. The word metabolism can also refer to all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, including digestion and the transport of substances into and between different cells, in which case the set of reactions within the cells is called intermediary metabolism or intermediate metabolism.” (Wikipedia)

WHAT IS URBAN METABOLISM? The Wikipedia has a nice explanation on this:

“Urban metabolism is a model to facilitate the description and analysis of the flows of the materials and energy within cities, such as undertaken in a Material flow analysis of a city. It provides researchers with a metaphorical framework to study the interactions of natural and human systems in specific regions.[1] From the beginning, researchers have tweaked and altered the parameters of the urban metabolism model. C. Kennedy and fellow researchers have produced a clear definition in the 2007 paper ‘’The Changing Metabolism of Cities’’ claiming that urban metabolism is “the sum total of the technical and socio-economic process that occur in cities, resulting in growth, production of energy and elimination of waste.” [2] With the growing concern of climate change and atmospheric degradation, the use of the urban metabolism model has become a key element in determining and maintaining levels of sustainability and health in cities around the world. Urban metabolism provides a unified or holistic viewpoint to encompass all of the activities of a city in a single model.”

THE HARVARD UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF DESIGN VIDEO ON URBAN METABOLISM

In my research about Urban Metabolism, I encountered this video on youtube about “Projective Views on Urban Metabolism” presented by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. It caught my attention very greatly that I wish to share this to our readers. I do not claim to be an expert on this topic because I am also a “student”, a searcher just like the rest of us.

This is the explanation of HUGSD on this video which focuses on the main topic entitled: The Agency of Design.

“DDes Conference: Projective Views on Urban Metabolism (Part 3)In the last two decades, the concept of urban metabolism, aiming to grasp the continuous processes of energy, material and population exchange within and between cities and their extensive hinterlands, has been subject of both extensive empirical research and, increasingly, critical discussion within the social and natural sciences. However, these interdisciplinary challenges have not yet been met with a synthetic response from the design disciplines. The goals of this one-day conference are, through the lens of urban metabolism, to: generally reassess the planetary rescaling of contemporary urbanization processes; unpack the transformation of spatial forms and structures and subsequently, the emergence of new operative territories for design; explore the agency of design in confronting these challenges.”

This is the last part (Part 3 of 3) of the lectures conducted by HUGSD on Projective Views on Urban Metabolism. This portion is about The Agency of Design. The speakers are the following:

1. Dr. Mitchell Joachim. He is Co-Founder of TerreForm One. He is also an Associate Professor at New York University. He will talk about their research on TerreForm One.

2. Chris Reed is an Associate Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at HUGSD. His research interest includes The Impact of Ecological Science on Design Thinking and City Making Strategies in Form by Landscape Systems and Dynamics.

3. Ila Berman is connected with the University of Waterloo College of Architecture. She is a Doctor of Design Graduate from HUGSD. Her research topic is: Investigate the Relationship Between Culture and Evolution of Contemporary Materials and Spatial Practices.

Moderator: Hashim Sarkis

Toastmasters are: Daniel, Nickos and Pablo.

Citations:

Earthniversity would like to thank the Harvard University Graduate School of Design for uploading this video on youtube. We hope our followers and team members have gained so much knowledge from this sharing on the topic about Projective Views on Urban Metabolism. Again thank you HUGSD and youtube. These videos, Part I, II, and III are available here at Earthniversity blogsite and these are also available on youtube. Thank you everyone….

Current Issues on Urban Metabolism & Harvard University Graduate School of Design Lectures, Part 2 of 3.

Urban Metabolism has always fascinated me. I came to know about this in 2000 when I was attending a short course on Designing Sustainable Development under the Master in Urban Management Program at the University of Canberra in Australia. Since then, I got hooked by it because of its relevance to urban planning and design. Its idea of treating urban area or as I would like to use it – human settlement – like a human body that metabolizes, is really relevant in the development, planning, and designing of cities and urban areas. But what is Urban Metabolism?

WHAT IS URBAN?
The word urban refers to or pertains to a city, or belonging to a city. (Wikipedia)

WHAT IS METABOLISM?

“Metabolism (from Greek: μεταβολή metabolē, “change”) is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. The word metabolism can also refer to all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, including digestion and the transport of substances into and between different cells, in which case the set of reactions within the cells is called intermediary metabolism or intermediate metabolism.” (Wikipedia)

WHAT IS URBAN METABOLISM? Wikipedia has a nice explanation on this:

“Urban metabolism is a model to facilitate the description and analysis of the flows of the materials and energy within cities, such as undertaken in a Material flow analysis of a city. It provides researchers with a metaphorical framework to study the interactions of natural and human systems in specific regions.[1] From the beginning, researchers have tweaked and altered the parameters of the urban metabolism model. C. Kennedy and fellow researchers have produced a clear definition in the 2007 paper ‘’The Changing Metabolism of Cities’’ claiming that urban metabolism is “the sum total of the technical and socio-economic process that occur in cities, resulting in growth, production of energy and elimination of waste.” [2] With the growing concern of climate change and atmospheric degradation, the use of the urban metabolism model has become a key element in determining and maintaining levels of sustainability and health in cities around the world. Urban metabolism provides a unified or holistic viewpoint to encompass all of the activities of a city in a single model.”

THE HARVARD UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF DESIGN VIDEO ON URBAN METABOLISM

In my research about Urban Metabolism, I encountered this video on youtube about “Projective Views on Urban Metabolism” presented by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. It caught my attention very greatly that I wish to share this to our readers. I do not claim to be an expert on this topic because I am also a “student”, a searcher just like the rest of us.

Earthniversity does not own this video but is thankful to Harvard University Graduate School of Design for uploading and sharing this on youtube, so that interested people around the planet could learn from this topic – Urban Metabolism. This video was published on youtube on February 14, 2014.

This is the description of the video according to HUGSD.
Published on Feb 14, 2014

“DDes Conference: Projective Views on Urban Metabolism (Part 2)In the last two decades, the concept of urban metabolism, aiming to grasp the continuous processes of energy, material and population exchange within and between cities and their extensive hinterlands, has been the subject of both extensive empirical research and, increasingly, critical discussion within the social and natural sciences. However, these interdisciplinary challenges have not yet been met with a synthetic response from the design disciplines. The goals of this one-day conference are, through the lens of urban metabolism, to generally, reassess the planetary rescaling of contemporary urbanization processes; unpack the transformation of spatial forms and structures and subsequently, the emergence of new operative territories for design; explore the agency of design in confronting these challenges.”

This is Part 2 of the lecture series and the following are the speakers for this session – Territorial Transformation:

1. Lola Sheppard – Topic: Territorial Metabolisms: Far Flung Metabolisms. Lola is Partner Lateral Office and Associate Professor, University of Waterloo
2. Salvador Rueda – Topic: Urban Metabolism. Salvador is Urban Ecologist. He is Founder and Director of Urban and Ecology Agency of Barcelona. He specializes in Planning and Analysis of Complex Systems.
3. Jane Hutton and Kiel Moe – “Material and Energy Ecologies”. Jane and Kiel are Asst. Professors of Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. Jane is with Landscape Architecture Department while Kiel is with the Architecture Department. Both co-Direct, Energy Environment and Design Research Lab.
4. Moderator – Pierre Belanger

Toastmasters: Daniel, Nickus, and Pablo

Citations:
1. Harvard University Graduate School of Design for uploading this video on youtube for all the people of the world to watch.

Comment:

This post comes in 3 parts. This is Part 2, so the next part will be part 3 of 3. Please watch for it here at Earthniversity under the label “Classroom”. These are also available on youtube.

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Revisited on June 16, 2019.

Current Issues on Urban Metabolism & Harvard University Graduate School of Design Lectures, Part 1 of 3.

Urban Metabolism has always fascinated me. I came to know about this in 2000 when I was attending a short course on Designing Sustainable Development under the Master in Urban Management Program at the University of Canberra in Australia. Since then, I got hooked by it because of how it was used in urban planning and design. Its idea of treating urban area or as I would like to use it – human settlement – like a human body that metabolizes, is really relevant in the development, planning, and designing of cities and urban areas. But what is Urban Metabolism?

WHAT IS URBAN?
The word urban refers to or pertains to a city, or belonging to a city. (Wikipedia)

WHAT IS METABOLISM?

“Metabolism (from Greek: μεταβολή metabolē, “change”) is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. The word metabolism can also refer to all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, including digestion and the transport of substances into and between different cells, in which case the set of reactions within the cells is called intermediary metabolism or intermediate metabolism.” (Wikipedia)

WHAT IS URBAN METABOLISM? Wikipedia has a nice explanation of this:

“Urban metabolism is a model to facilitate the description and analysis of the flows of the materials and energy within cities, such as undertaken in a Material flow analysis of a city. It provides researchers with a metaphorical framework to study the interactions of natural and human systems in specific regions.[1] From the beginning, researchers have tweaked and altered the parameters of the urban metabolism model. C. Kennedy and fellow researchers have produced a clear definition in the 2007 paper ‘’The Changing Metabolism of Cities’’ claiming that urban metabolism is “the sum total of the technical and socio-economic process that occur in cities, resulting in growth, production of energy and elimination of waste.” [2] With the growing concern of climate change and atmospheric degradation, the use of the urban metabolism model has become a key element in determining and maintaining levels of sustainability and health in cities around the world. Urban metabolism provides a unified or holistic viewpoint to encompass all of the activities of a city in a single model.”

THE HARVARD UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF DESIGN VIDEO ON URBAN METABOLISM

In my research about Urban Metabolism, I encountered this video on youtube about “Projective Views on Urban Metabolism” presented by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. It caught my attention very greatly that I wish to share this with our readers. I do not claim to be an expert on this topic because I am also a “student”, a searcher just like the rest of us.

Earthniversity does not own this video but is thankful to Harvard University Graduate School of Design for uploading and sharing this on youtube, so that interested people around the planet could learn from this topic – Urban Metabolism. This video was published on youtube on February 14, 2014.

This is the description of the video according to HUGSD.

“DDes Conference: Projective Views on Urban Metabolism (Part 1)
In the last two decades, the concept of urban metabolism, aiming to grasp the continuous processes of energy, material and population exchange within and between cities and their extensive hinterlands, has been subjected of both extensive empirical research and, increasingly, critical discussion within the social and natural sciences. However, these interdisciplinary challenges have not yet been met with a synthetic response from the design disciplines. The goals of this one-day conference are, through the lens of urban metabolism, to generally, reassess the planetary rescaling of contemporary urbanization processes; unpack the transformation of spatial forms and structures and subsequently, the emergence of new operative territories for design; explore the agency of design in confronting these challenges.”

There are several speakers who will tackle various topics. The videos come in three parts. This is Part I – Metabolic Upscaling. Hereunder is the list of Speakers and their Topics:

1. Jason W. Moore – “Metabolic Shift or Metabolic Rift”.
Moore is connected with the Department of Sociology, Fernand Braudel Center, Birmingham University.

2. Erle Ellis – “Ecologies of the Anthropocene, Global Upscaling of Social-Ecological Infrastructures”. Ellis is connected with Geography & Environmental Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

3. Timothy W. Luke will deliver a Commentary on Urban Metabolism. Luke is Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Political, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Virginia.

4. Matthew Gandy will talk about Circulations of Metabolisms. Gandy is Professor of Geography at the University College of London and many other connections.

5. Moderator: Neil Brenner
Toastmasters: Daniel and Nickus.

Citations:
1. Harvard University Graduate School of Design for uploading this video on youtube for all people of the world to watch.

Comment:

This post comes in 3 parts. This is Part 1 so the next post will be parts 2 and 3. Please watch for the next post here at Earthniversity and also labeled under “Classroom”. These are also available on youtube.

* * * * * * *

Updated on June 11, 2019.

Temperature Controlled Mall of the World, Dubai

Earthniversity would like to share this video uploaded by Dubai Holding and is entitled “Mall of the World”. Once constructed, this newest development in Dubai will showcase one of the world’s best practices in Urban Planning, Urban Design, Architecture, Engineering, state-of-the-art facilities and to a greater extent Urban Metabolism.

In a news item written and published by Sapa-AFP on July 07, 2014, the article chronicles the newest initiative of Dubai to promote that region as one of the world’s center of Business and Trade, Hospitality and Tourism, Cultural Celebration and many others.

Here is the news account of Dubai’s Mall of the World by Sapa-AFP:

“Dubai is planning to build a temperature-controlled city featuring the world’s largest mall and an indoor park, as well as hotels, health resorts and theatres, the developer said.

Already home to one of the globe’s biggest indoor shopping complexes, Dubai Mall, the glitzy emirate known for its love of grandiose projects said it is now planning to build the “Mall of the World”.

The all-pedestrian complex would occupy a total area of 48 million square feet (4.45 million square metres), said Dubai Holding, the developer owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

The project “will comprise the largest indoor theme park in the world” under a glass dome that would be opened during winter, it said in a statement.

The seven-kilometre (4.35 mile)-long promenades connecting the facilities would also be covered and air-conditioned during summer, it added.

“Our ambitions are higher than having seasonal tourism. Tourism is key driver of our economy and we aim to make the UAE an attractive destination all year long,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“This is why we will start working on providing pleasant temperature-controlled environments during the summer months.”

The statement issued late on Saturday did not say when construction would begin, nor did it reveal the cost of the project.

Dubai hopes the “Mall of the World” can attract more than 180 million visitors each year.

The emirate is known for its numerous malls and many hotels, including the Dubai Mall, touted as the world’s largest shopping, leisure and entertainment destination. It is also home to the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.

Dubai has established itself as a global hub for air transport and transit trade, as well as a regional financial centre.

And it beat off opposition from Brazil, Russia and Turkey in November to win the right to host the World Expo trade fair in 2020.

The emirate’s economy was hit in 2009 by the global financial crisis, but it has since made a strong comeback, thanks to growth in the trade, transport and tourism sectors.”

Comment:

Since I mentioned that this project – The Mall of the World – will also showcase the concepts of Urban Metabolism, I therefore posted a video of Professor Herbert Girardet delivering a lecture on Urban Metabolism. This is for your easy reference. Professor Girardet is the Co-Founder of World Future Council on Urban Metabolism and therefore an authority on the field of U.M. This video was uploaded by UCL-ISR or University College London – Institute of Sustainable Resources for the world to watch and learn from. Thank you youtube and UCL-ISR.

Let me just define some terms to help you with this lecture.

Definition of Terms:

1. Urban Planning – “the branch of architecture dealing with the design and organization of urban space and activities.” (dictionary.com)

2. Urban Design – “is the process of designing and shaping cities, towns and villages. Whereas architecture focuses on individual buildings, Urban Design addresses the larger scale of groups of buildings of streets and public spaces, whole neighborhoods and districts and entire cities, to make urban areas functional, attractive, and sustainable.” (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia)

3. Architecture – “The art and science of designing buildings and (some) nonbuilding structures. It has to do with planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience to reflect functional, technical, social, environmental and aesthetic considerations.” (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia)

4. Engineering – “The creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation or safety to life and property”. (The American Engineers’ Council For Professional Development or ECPD).

5. Urban – “relating to, or concerned with a city or densely populated area”. (dictionary.com)

6. Metabolism – “is the sum of all biological, chemical and physical processes that occur within the organism or an eco-system that enable it to exist, infinitely”. (From the lecture of Architect Ana Maria Orru, Architect and Lecturer on Urban Metabolism, uploaded by KTH at youtube. Also available at “Human Settlements and Urban Metabolism, Lecture Series #7” at Earthniversity – http://www.earthniversity.com)

7. Urban Metabolism – is used to describe the resource consumption and waste regeneration of cities (or urban areas) as indicator of sustainability. (on Ana Maria Orru’s lecture on Urban Metabolism).

ABEL WOLMAN’S “THE METABOLISM OF CITIES”

“It wasn’t until 1965 when Abel Wolman fully developed and used the term urban metabolism in his work, “The Metabolism of Cities” which he developed in response to deteriorating air and water qualities in American cities.[2] In this study Wolman developed a model which allowed him to determine the inflow and outflow rates of a hypothetical American City with a population of 1 million people. [5] The model allows the monitoring and documentation of natural resources used (mainly water) and the consequential creation and out-put of waste.[6] Wolman’s study highlighted the fact that there are physical limitations to the natural resources we use on a day-to-day basis and with frequent use, the compilation of waste can and will create problems. It also helped focus researchers and professionals of their time to focus their attention on the system wide impacts of consumption of goods and sequential production of waste within the urban environment” (Urban Metabolism, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia).

Note: You can also check on the analogy of Human Body’s Metabolism to the Urban Body or Urban Center’s Metabolism at “Human Settlements and Urban Metabolism, Lecture Series #7” at Earthniversity – http://www.earthniversity.com)

References:

1. youtube – Mall of the World uploaded by Dubai Holding.
2. http:www/sowetanlive.co.za/business/2014/07/07/Dubai-to-build-climate-controlled-city-biggest-mall