Rethinking the Urban Landscape: Water water

Managing water is a rising challenge. From being an asset it can become a devastating problem when storm waters all try to get through the drain at once. Understanding sustainable drainage as well as designing with water will bring about a revolution in how we plan our cities.

The UK's water supply chain needs to become more sustainable. We need to look beyond the idea that a pipe in the ground is the best option for the removal of rain water - this is a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem. Through the creation of ponds, wetlands, swales and basins, which mimic natural drainage, we can better manage water.

A good example of this is the rainwater storage capacity for Derbyshire Street Pocket Park (seen here) that has been calculated at 12m3. If we applied the Derbyshire St capacity to all of built-up London this would achieve approximately 10,056,000m3 of storage. That’s about ten times the capacity of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, which is the infrastructure development that is about to be built to deal with floodwater.

If schemes such as Derbyshire Street Pocket Park had been the norm for the past decades, we might have a very different city.


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