Sustainable communities and infrastructure, designing for resilience, not resistance

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Sustainable communities and infrastructure, designing for resilience, not resistance. David J Singleton presented at the joint GBCA (Green Buildings Council Australia) and ISCA (Infrastructure …

Sustainable communities and infrastructure, designing for resilience, not resistance. David J Singleton presented at the joint GBCA (Green Buildings Council Australia) and ISCA (Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia) event 'Sustainable cities and infrastructure' on 28 November, 2013. At the gathering of Australia’s top infrastructure leaders David J Singleton, Chairman of ISCA called for the building and infrastructure sectors to invest in resilience, not resistance, in order to create successful and sustainable urban communities. Twitter: @davidjsingleton resilience, sustainable, communities, cities

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  • The question of ‘resistance vs. resilience’ is being debated around the world We can nolonger be sure that an investment in resistance will fulfil its purposeThere is a chance an investment in resistance may make matters worseIncreasingly we are recognising that we can no longer design to resist the full impacts of climate change or naturaldisaster. Rather, we must design a system that is resilient
  • We must aim to reduce the risks associated with disastersBy understanding our urban systemsBy knowing the likely risks to those systemsBy identifying the system [and systemic] weaknessesBy retrofitting the system[s] for resilienceBy planning emergency response procedures, including warnings and evacuation, shelter and safety plansBy educating the communityBy regularly rehearsing emergency responses, including evacuation drills and access to shelter

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  • 1. 1 Sustainable communities & infrastructure David Singleton Chairman, Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia Non executive director, independent advisor and built environment specialist November 2013
  • 2. Sustainable communities & infrastructure Seven rules for sustainable communities: 1. Provide broad transit coverage: buses, LRT, metro 2. Provide an interconnected street system 3. Aim for 5 minute walk densities 4. Locate employment and housing in close proximity 5. Provide a diversity of housing types 6. Create linked system of open space 7. Invest in ‘greener’, cheaper, smarter infrastructure [Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities, Patrick Condon, Island Press, 2010] …and we must design for resilience 2
  • 3. Sustainable communities & infrastructure 1 Provide broad transit coverage: buses, LRT, metro Easy access to transit Various transit types yield low carbon emissions per passenger mile
  • 4. Sustainable communities & infrastructure 2 Provide an interconnected street system Ensures shortest possible trips, by all modes Compatible with walking, cycling, transit and cars Streets can be designed as green streets
  • 5. Green streets
  • 6. Sustainable communities & infrastructure 3 Aim for 5 minute walk densities Five minute walking distance is a key feature of the streetcar city. Walking is most likely when there are destinations within 5 minutes Access to transit, schools and local shops within 5 minutes walk distance is key In the streetcar city the five minute walk merges into continuously accessible corridors.
  • 7. Five minute walking distance
  • 8. Sustainable communities & infrastructure 4 Locate employment and housing in close proximity The Streetcar city concept allows for many jobs close to corridors. Aim for shorter commuting distances to employment, particularly second jobs; most job locations are no longer ‘dirty’ Locate employment along transit corridors Aim to maintain retail/commercial strips
  • 9. Locate jobs close to homes
  • 10. Sustainable communities & infrastructure 5 Provide a diversity of housing types For slower transit to make sense affordable housing must be more evenly distributed in regions. Heterogeneity, not homogeneity Diversity of housing types can assist urban densification Myth of the 4 person household?
  • 11. Diversity of housing types
  • 12. Sustainable communities & infrastructure 6 Create linked system of open space For access to nature To bound and protect neighborhoods Healthy waterways and catchment areas are fundamentally necessary Will also provide sustainable drainage solutions and pleasing ‘cityscape’
  • 13. Patricia St. Michel, City of Vancouver Planning Department, 2012 Linked open space
  • 14. Sustainable communities & infrastructure 7 Invest in ‘greener’, cheaper, smarter infrastructure We spend too much on infrastructure. Every dollar’s worth of pavement produces a dollars' worth of environmental damage. Up to 45% of public open space in urban areas given over to streets……… Work with natural systems not This against increases them. urban run-off and likelihood of flooding and creates ‘harsh’ urban environments Municipal standards for roads and utilities lead to costly infrastructure and can destroy watershed function Green streets can be a solution
  • 15. Smart infrastructure Greener Cheaper Smarter Infrastructure -development Pre-development hydrology; 55% infiltration and zero run-off Post conventional development; only 35% infiltration and 35% run-off
  • 16. Lighter Greener Cheaper Smart infrastructure Smarter Infrastructure Greener Cheaper Smarter Infrastructure ‘Smarter’ adaptive development Only 10% impervious surface, 55% infiltration and only 10% run-off
  • 17. 21 Resistance or resilience?  Historically we have designed for resistance – as engineers, we have applied factors of safety to past events to produce resistant designs  We cannot be sure that an investment in resistance will fulfil its purpose; in fact, there is a chance that an investment in resistance may make matters worse  People are asking whether we should design for resistance or resilience ?  We are recognising that we can no longer design to resist the full impacts of climate change or natural disaster. Rather, we must design a system that is resilient
  • 18. Design for Resilience The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change defines resilience as “...the ability of a social or ecological system to absorb disturbances while retaining the same basic structure and ways of functioning, the capacity for self-organisation, and the capacity to adapt to stress and change” IPCC, 2007
  • 19. Design for Resilience  By identifying and understanding our urban systems [and any systemic] weaknesses  By knowing the likely risks to those systems  By retrofitting the system[s] for resilience  By planning emergency response procedures, including warnings and evacuation, shelter and safety plans  By educating the community  By regularly rehearsing emergency responses, including evacuation drills and access to shelter
  • 20. Design for Resilience Cities should adopt a systemic approach to resilience that allows them to fail 'gently', rather than catastrophically. A solution based around ‘gentle’ failure is considered a success when the city is able to function after disaster by using alternative resources and systems and through the initiatives of the local community. David Singleton, ‘Consulting Matters’, Autumn 2012
  • 21. Design for Resilience http://www.climatechange.gov.au/climate-change/adapting-climate-change/climate-adaptation-outlook?HTML
  • 22. Toolkit for Resilient Cities: Arup – Siemens http://www.siemens.com/press/en/feature/2013/corporate/2013-04-ny.php
  • 23. 27 Sustainable communities & infrastructure David Singleton Chairman, Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia Global Planning Leader, Arup david.singleton@arup.com dsingleton@isca.org.au T: @davidjsingleton