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The Place of Water in Urban Design: An International Perspective

How cities around the world have approached thinking about how water management fits in to urban planning.
July 5, 2016, 1pm PDT | rzelen | @rzelen
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Honza Hruby

What does "design with water" mean? To Vincent Lee, Associate Principal and Technical Director for Water at ARUP, it is "a framework for rethinking the place of water in the urban design process, and putting it back at the heart of the design process for the built environment."

In The Planning Report, Lee explains that the design strategy of "blue-green" infrastructure, which addresses not just water or energy use, but also the inherent connections between two. Lee explains how places like Seoul, South Korea; Cardiff, Wales; and New York City have leveraged blue-green infrastructure.

Lee's overall message is simple:

"Implement not just green infrastructure and green design, but blue-green infrastructure and blue-green design."

Lee also shared lessons and related global works to undertakings in progress. In one example, Lee related the work of Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon stream restoration to the Los Angeles River, explaining that there is tremendous potential for the river to become a revitalized area that has a restored ecosystem. The Cheonggyecheon stream restoration has increased biodiversity, reduced air pollution by 35 percent, and reduced the heat island effect by up to 5.9 degrees Celsius within surrounding city blocks.

In talking about lessons he has learned over his career, Lee shares the hope he finds from residents and collaborators who are trying to do something different.  He describes the "power of the citizen" in shaping New York City's High Line area, and the success of Rotterdam in adapting to climate impacts by having agencies think about working together.

Read more of Vincent Lee's "green-blue" tour around the world in The Planning Report

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Published on Friday, July 1, 2016 in The Planning Report
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