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Creating a Flood Resilient City Scape: Ideas and Inspiration (2023)

Climate change and increasing sea levels are impacting the way cities develop.

New developments should provide more holistic approaches to the management of flooding and creating flood resilient city scape.

We have listed projects around the world showing the flood resilience strategies applied in different cityscapes. 

This list aims to provide inspirational flood resilient projects that show how living near water is achievable.

Flood resilient city scape Project: Yanweizhou Park by Turenscape

Principle: Increase storage volume

In this alleviation strategy, to reduce peak floods, the capacity of the water system is increased.

In the Yanweizhou Park by Turenscape, a cut-and-fill terracing strategy was used to accommodate the park with additional floodwater by removing the floodwalls. This helped to reduce flood risk to the surrounding areas.

Yanweizhou Park.jpg
Source: dezeen

Project: WeWork and S9 Architecture – Dock 72

Principle: Water within the building

AT 42 feet above the floodplane, the structure that is 675,000-square-foot and 16 floors focuses on Manhattan and Brooklyn.

In the case of a flood, water flows under the building and the space encompasses a food hall, flexible workspaces, fitness center and lounges.

Dock 72.jpeg
Source: architectmagazine

Project: Saint Kjeld’s Kvarter by Tredje Natur

Principle: Attenuate -Slow down water

The attenuation strategy slows down or reduces the velocity of water so that the infiltration capacity of the pathway of water is increased.

The first “Climate District” being developed in Copenhagen illustrates this concept.

‘Cloudburst roads’ function as a green corridor for pedestrians, vehicles, and cyclists while at the same time offering channels for slowing down and discharging water to the harbor.

Saint Kjelds Kvarter by Tredje Natur.jpg
Source: dezeen

Project: SLA and Ramboll – Copenhagen neighborhood

Principle: Water and Space interconnectivity

The project called ‘The Soul of Nørrebro’ is developed by engineering firm Ramboll and landscape studio SLA alongside Gadeidræt, Social Action, Aydin Soei, Arki_lab, and Saunders Architecture.

The main focus area is Hans Tavsens Park and Korsgade street, which links Peblinge Lake with the park.

Blue-green spaces have been designed to link the lake with the park.

The Hans Tavsens Park, once completed will have the potential 18,000 cubic meters of water acting as a rainwater catchment basin.

A sports court will be provided by the sunken basin during dry weather inside the park which will transform into a rainwater retention area during cloudbursts.

Excess water will be transported to the lake after getting filtered through the greenery.

Community gardens will be provided along the cycle path and residents can cross the water channels via the stepping stones.

The Soul of Norrebro.jpg
Source: dezeen

Project: Resilient Boston Harbor by SCAPE

Principle:Water and Space interconnectivity

Embracing water is another technique to deal with flood risk. One such example can be seen in the USA – Resilient Boston Harbor by SCAPE.

Water is used to drive the design in this technique. Protective parks and elevated landscapes are used in the design interventions.

SCAPE Boston Harbor flood protection project.jpg
Source: dezeen

Project: BIG U by BIG

Principle: Protection

By using hard and soft flood risk management measures and by protection structures flood risk can be prevented.

This strategy is used in BIG’s BIG U project in New York, where a 16 km long system is being developed to protect Manhattan from flood risk.

Restrict BIG U by BIG.jpg
Source: dezeen

Project:Flood barrier and riverside promenade for Hamburg Zaha Hadid Architects(ZHA)

Principle: Protection

This design reinforces and modernizes the flood protection system of the city along with social space and new urban connections for the city.

To protect the city from high tides and storm surges, the design lies 8.6m above sea level in the east and 8.9m above sea level in the west.

No urban space is wasted as we find a cycle path, masts, and superstructures of the ship and spaces for public utilities and shops.

Riverside promenade and flood barrier for Hamburg Zaha Hadid Architects 1.jpg
Source: wallpaper

Project: Farroc

Principle: Protection

Hurricane Sandy in New York City has established the need for a double dune system.

An expanded dune provides for recreation space and quality landscape. The current coast could be broken under pressure.

Removing groins and pumping sand, they can be naturally replenished.

The metro could be linked to a three-dimensional boardwalk, beach, and dune system.

It can also pave the way for new cycling and walking routes.

Farroc 1.jpg
Source: dutchwaterdesign

Project: CPH Harbor Blue Plan by Tredje Natur

Principle: Living with water

Developing new structures near water bodies. This technique has been used in the CPH Harbor Blue Plan by Tredje Natur and Krønlob Island development by COBE, Sted, Ramboll, Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects, and Per Aarsleff.

CPH Harbor Blue Plan by Tredje Natur.jpg

Project: Floating cities – Copenhagen

Principle: Living with water

The Holmene – nine islands are located 10 km south of Copenhagen.

The strategy by URBAN POWER can be developed stepwise, according to Arne Cermak Nielsen, partner of URBAN POWER. 

Each island will have its own green nature belt with an attractive transition between water and land inviting recreational activities and sports.

There is surplus soil that can be used to create a protective landscape around the coastline which protects the land from flooding and also offers 18 km green bike routes.

Floating cities Copenhagen.jpeg
Source: architecturelab

In the UK you would need a flood risk assessment compliant with the NPPG as a starting point to design your project

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Argemiro Rivera, <b>BEng(Hons) MSC CEng MICE MCIWEM C.WEM CEnv</b>
Argemiro Rivera, BEng(Hons) MSC CEng MICE MCIWEM C.WEM CEnv

Passion for Water, Flood Risk & Sustainability
I love to dig into complex flood risk and water engineering projects and deliver them. I focus on delivering reliable flood risk information to protect livelihoods and the environment.

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