Credit where credit is due

Credit where credit is due

Hi there!

In Australia, when talking about water sensitive urban design, we often talk about needing to achieve integrated outcomes with multiple benefits. Perhaps it is integrating stormwater with parkland. Perhaps it is integrating stormwater with streetscape landscaping. 

The irony of this is that we actually do a very poor job of integrating the environmental benefits of stormwater with the flooding and drainage arm of stormwater. This became abundantly clear when I recently visited The Netherlands. The on ground actions being taken are very similar to what we see in Australia (think bioretention, permeable paving and infiltration), but they're being built to reduce the risk and severity of flooding. 

So why is it that we don't give any credit to stormwater treatment systems for their flood management benefits?

Cheers

Jack

Detention, density, design - Rotterdam's water squares part 1

Detention, density, design - Rotterdam's water squares part 1

Hi there!

At its best, water sensitive urban design delivers quality urban environments that deliver multiple benefits. A cracking example of this are the water squares in Rotterdam. Water squares integrate flood detention with usable public open space in highly constrained civil areas. 

Recently, we caught up with Floris Boogaard to visit two water squares. 

In this episode, we visit a small water square in the suburbs of Rotterdam. What's more, we got lucky. We got rain. We saw the system working!

Keep an eye out for the next episode, where we take a look at a much larger site in a high density urban area..

Cheers

Jack

Making Amsterdam rainproof

Making Amsterdam rainproof

Hi there!

Amsterdam Rainproof is a program in The Netherlands working to make Amsterdam resistant to flooding from intense rainfall. While the primary driver is different (flooding vs waterway health), many of the on ground outcomes in Amsterdam are very similar to those that we see in Australia.

Recently, we caught up with Lot Locher from Amsterdam Rainproof to talk about how they are using water sensitive measures to mitigate flooding, and (very importantly!!!) how they encourage practice on not only new development (the easy-ish bit) but also in the existing streetscape and on existing private properties (super relevant to Australia).

Cheers

Jack

 

Finally! The Rotterdam green roof

Finally! The Rotterdam green roof

Hello!

Way back in episode 73 we attempted to show you a green roof in Rotterdam.

We were not successful!

But this time round, slightly more than 100 episodes later, we have succeeded. 

Join us to look at a beautiful example of multiple benefits. Open space. Pervious surfaces to infiltrate water. AND. The most subtly integrated flood barrier!

Cheers

Jack

Biofilters, living walls and wastewater

Biofilters, living walls and wastewater

Good day!

If you're anything like us you have probably spent your fair share of time around bioretention systems.

But did you know that there is currently a lot of research underway that is investigating how to use biofilters to treat wastewater and grow living walls to mitigate the urban heat island effect?

How about research into the treatment performance of ornamental plant species?

It's all happening. In this episode we catch up Belinda Hatt to discuss this research and more. 

Have you ever wanted a reason to encourage onsite stormwater and wastewater management. This research might nudge us in that direction.

Cheers

Jack

Urban heat and the water sensitive city

Urban heat and the water sensitive city

Hi there!

The relationship between urban heat and urban water is one of the most interesting aspects of the research emerging from the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities.

For years the industry has spoken of the potential of the water sensitive city to lessen the urban heat island effect.

BUT

It was hard to quantify.

However, things are changing. In the same way that a fundamental understanding of urban hydrology and pollution led to the MUSIC model, stormwater objectives and widespread stormwater management; research emerging (and soon to emerge) from the CRC will in the future drive onground action to lessen the impact of urban heat.

In this episode we speak with Nigel Tapper, Peter Bach and Kerry Nice about the CRC's existing research and future potential!

Cheers

Jack

Uncovering the economics of a water sensitive city

Uncovering the economics of a water sensitive city

Hi there,

Today we're joined by David Pannell to talk economics and the water sensitive city.

Water sensitive cities have the potential to deliver a whole range of benefits to society, however it's not all plain sailing. A large number of the benefits of water sensitive cities are 'non-market benefits'. This means that they're a bit tricky to quantify. 

BUT!

If you don't quantify them, it's hard to justify spending money on those projects, and hard to tell which projects are more valuable than others.

This is where economics comes in.

David and I discuss the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities' latest research into the economics of the water sensitive city. David outlines three key elements to consider when considering any economic investigation.

Writing a brief to assess the benefits of your project?

These three elements will help!

BTW - David has a cracking blog about environmental economics. We recommend checking out the series beginning with PD235

Cheers

Jack

Towards a water sensitive city

Towards a water sensitive city

Hi there,

Today we're joined by Tony Wong, CEO of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

The CRCWSC is more than half way through, and a large amount of interesting research has emerged. 

To help cut through, in this episode we ask Tony a simple question.

"Which two pieces of emerging CRCWSC research most interest you, and have the most promise as they are implemented in practice?"

Thank you to Tony and the CRCWSC for the opportunity to chat. Keep an eye out for the next few episodes as we speak with CRC researchers about the economics of water sensitive cities, the urban heat island effect and living walls, biofilters and wastewater.

Cheers

Jack

Fixing algal clogging in bioretention

Fixing algal clogging in bioretention

Hi there,

In the last episode we identified an uncommon reason for algae to grow on the surface of a bioretention system. As soon as we finished filming it, we discovered something more profound... a potential way to stop the algae growing...

Cheers

Jack

Algae and interflow

Algae and interflow

Howdy,

When bioretention systems receive a constant baseflow, they often grow algae around the inlet. This is well understood. It's a problem because the algae can block the filter media (at least the part that its growing on) and cause water to pond on the surface. Today however, we have a site growing algae for a different reason... I think. It's the first time I have seen it happen for this reason.

Cheers

Jack

Looking good

Looking good

Hello,

Today we have a cracking example of a bioretention system that could have fitted into its surrounding landscape so very nicely...

Cheers

Jack

The problem with geofabric in bioretention

The problem with geofabric in bioretention

Hi everyone,

One of the things that I want to use Ideanthro for is to document why WSUD design guidance says what it does. Today is a prime example. The Water by Design guidelines make it pretty clear that using geofabric on the surface of bioretention systems to suppress weeds isn't a great idea. Today we show you why.

Cheers

Jack

That's like WSUD - The king of scramble

That's like WSUD - The king of scramble

Hi there,

Marcelo Garcia is considered one of the best grapplers (think wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu) in the world. Josh Waitzkin was a child chess prodigy turned martial arts world champion and master learner.

In an interview for the Tim Ferriss show, Josh describes how Marcelo (his friend) is known in the martial arts world as 'the king of scramble'. The nickname came about, because while Marcelo is a very strong martial artist in conventional grappling techniques and positions, his real talent is his ability to transition between from one position to another better than anyone else in the world.

This got us thinking about WSUD. WSUD is on a journey as it evolves. The way WSUD currently looks today will not be the same as the water sensitive city of the future. While it's very tempting to get comfortable with the current WSUD paradigm, maybe there is something to be learnt from Marcelo when it comes to being comfortable in the transition...

Like this episode? You can find more ideas inspired by Josh Waitzkin here.

Cheers

Jack

It's virtually water

It's virtually water

Hi there,

Virtual reality and the water sensitive city. Yep... the future is here.

On today's episode we are joined by Peter Bach from Monash University. Peter is currently working on a project to gamify the water sensitive city.

What does that mean?

Take a look and Peter will tell you.

Cheers

Jack

That's like WSUD - Learning to play chess

That's like WSUD - Learning to play chess

Hi,

In his book The Art of Learning, Josh Waitzkin explains that young chess players are normally taught in one of two ways. Complex opening repertoires vs internalising the principles by learning the end game.

It strikes me that our journey to a water sensitive future is like a chess game. It will progress through different phases. We should definitely develop skills in the current phase (or paradigm), but not at the expense of understanding the principles that will ultimately underpin a water sensitive future. 

Like this episode? You can find more ideas inspired by Josh Waitzkin here.

Cheers

Jack

That's like WSUD - The art of learning

That's like WSUD - The art of learning

Hi everyone,

Josh Waitzkin is a former child chess prodigy turned martial arts world champion and author, but his real skill is learning and performance. In his book, the Art of Learning (which, by the way, is a great book) Josh describes the challenges he faced while writing his first book about chess. As an accomplished chess player, Josh found it challenging to take the many concepts that he had internalised, and unearth them in order to teach them in the book.

Josh's challenges reminded me a little bit of WSUD. Particularly the challenge that I currently see us having developing scoring systems to rate the condition of vegetated stormwater treatment assets. I know many people who can very accurately assess a system and talk about its condition, but when it comes to codifying this in a teachable and repeatable framework... well I've never seen it work...

Perhaps we can learn something from Josh's experience.

Cheers

Jack

 

 

Finding inspiration - Auburn River

Finding inspiration - Auburn River

Hi there!

In today's episode a trip to Auburn River National Park inspires a discussion of equity in urban waterway management and water sensitive urban design.

Cheers

Jack