Net-Zero River Cities

Sustainability blog about Net-Zero River Cities

Net-Zero River Cities water shed design LA River

“We can consider rivers as city-making landscapes,” said Thaisa Way, ASLA, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Washington. “In river cities, rivers are the agents, offering opportunities for food, transportation, and water, but also liabilities, like drought and flooding.” Each river city has a dynamic relationship with its river, so communities that depend on them must always strive to improve their adaptability and resilience. “Rivers can be beneficial or terrifying.” River cities, with their often creative responses to a changing environment, offer lessons.  Read The Full Article

Net-Zero River Cities water run off in urban LA

All cities can be net-zero water, sustainable river cities.  Not cemented in, and overbuilt, but natural park settings that allow for water resources, stormwater management, recreation, ecological corridors, and transportation.  A network of interconnected linear parks is the economic and ecological basis for cities planning for a sustainable future now.  The source of funds for this comes from greatly reduced development costs and crowdsource funding from mobility networks.

These sources of wealth are explored more fully in Green at No Cost. Vermeulen’s Value Process and comprehensive Cost Benefit reporting, build on this foundation to create sustainable architecture similar to the Phipps Conservatory Living Building.

The primary source of wealth is cost avoidance, by keeping development away from the edges of waterways.  This allows room for both park space and transportation, returning the riverway to its old role as a connector for habitat and people. With space to meander, rivers become both more natural and an effective source of groundwater recharge.  The thirsty southland of California would become much more self-reliant by capturing the rain that falls in its own basin.

For the most part, avoiding the soft edges of rivers will save upfront and save over time.  Naturalizing Toronto’s Don Lands, the Los Angeles River, Austin’s Waller Creek, etcetera, are expensive remediation projects that serve both as guides to the mistakes of past overbuilding and the future opportunity of The Eco-City.

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