2007 AIA Infrastructure


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Presented at the AIA Design on the Delaware conference, Philadelphia 2007. Focus is stormwater infrastructure executed by landscape architects in collaboration with engineers and architects. Venice Island Park, designed for Philadelphia Water Department is a case study.

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  • Infrastructure has played a critical role in shaping urban form since people began to aggregate into settlements. Early public works projects successfully balanced natural principles with an articulation of civic ambition and urban formmaking. Water, energy, crops, materials and waste were the raw ingredients in human society. As it became necessary to draw these ingredients from greater distances to satisfy the appetites of cities, the concept of public works arose – monumental, practical achievements that celebrated urban civilisation.
  • Macchu Picchu
    Urban spaces organized around water catchment for crop use. Agricultural terraces followed natural bowl shape in landscape while spring from several miles away in jungle fed runnel leading to a series of 16 fountains and basins. The fountains were both agricultural, distributing water to terraces but also serves houses and ceremonial function at temple on top of mountain (agriculture, religion, domestic water, determined urban form)
  • Italy’s Trevi fountain marked the termination point of the city of Rome’s gravity based water system and became a supplier of freshwater as well as a generator of urban form. The fountain at the juncture of three roads (tre vie) marks the terminal point of the Aqua Virgo (Italian: Acqua Vergine), one of the ancient aqueducts that supplied water to Rome. Infrastructure closely linked with ideas of civilization that the fall of Rome is actually marked by the destruction of the system that served the fountain and Roman’s subsequent reliance on fouled wells and the polluted Tigris.
  • In this country there is a legacy of infrastructure projects that leverage straightforward natural processes to deliver freshwater, manage flooding, create real estate value and provide recreational open space to cities. Some of these early infrastructure projects accomplished much more than efficiently transporting a resource, they were expressions of civic aspiration and the catalysts for urban development.
    Salt River canal system. The Salt River canal system, supplying modern day Phoenix AZ with multiple uses – irrigation water, receation, open space – built from a system of irrigation ditches, constructed with stone hoes by Hohokam Indians, peaceful farmers who inhabited the Salt River Valley for about a thousand years, from A.D. 300 to 1450. Their system of traversed nearly 500 miles and may have served as many as 50,000 people at a time.
  • Boston’s Back Bay Fens – 19th century Boston integrated sewage treatment, positive surface drainage and flood control with a plan for a park system that that included restored fens as a constructed wetland system. The plan also accommodated new street organization and boulevards within the setting of a naturalized landscape.
  • Central Park – Designed as the “lungs for the city” became real estate catalyst and recreational centerpiece of city. As an example of "evolutionary" infrastructure, CP has reinvigorated citizens' understandings of their places within the city. … (Poole);
  • Foresight of PWD, to begin Fairmount Park land acquisition to assure water quality. Celebrated in Philadelphia’s Central Square with monumental pump house.
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    The City of Philadelphia is made up of Seven Major Watersheds which ultimately feed the Delaware River. For those who don’t know, a watershed is the surface drainage area that contributes water to a particular river or stream. Now Philadelphia’s infrastructure, about 60% actually, is comprised of combined sewers. This is pretty common in old cities, like Chicago, New York, Boston, when wastewater treatment wasn’t a concern during the construction of sewers.
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    In order to have a successful based program, we are actively intergrating three broad classes of projects. Land based, Water based, and Infrastructure based initiatives.
  • 2007 AIA Infrastructure

    1. 1. Taking utilities beyond the utilitarian: Infrastructure as an amenity Marita Roos ASLA Andropogon Associates LTD Joanne Dahme Watersheds Programs Manager PWD Allison Schapker Andropogon Associates LTD
    2. 2. Infrastructure: Civic Opportunity
    3. 3. Infrastructure is the link between people and life-sustaining resources
    4. 4. Infrastructure has the power to organize communities
    5. 5. Infrastructure is part of the evolutionary landscape
    6. 6. The Philadelphia Story
    7. 7. Collection System Statistics  % Combined Sewer 60%  % Separate Sewer 40%  % Impervious – Citywide 47.4%  % Impervious – STREETS (10,000 acres) 23%  Miles of sewer 2,955  # of Street Inlets 75,000  # of CSOs 175  Annual CSO Volume 19 BG/yr  Rain Events per Year 80/yr  # of Stormwater Outfalls 457  Annual SW Volume 12 BG/yr * BG = Billion Gallons
    8. 8. New Stormwater Regulations – Private Development New Requirements Flood Protection Match Pre to Post Development Release Rates for a Range of Events Existing Ordinance Objectives Channel Protection Detain the1-yr, 24 hour storm for24hrs Provide Groundwater Recharge and Water Quality Treatment 1” from Directly Connected Impervious Area
    9. 9. Visibility High Low Watershed-Based CSO Control Program: The City of Philadelphia
    10. 10. Deep Infrastructure
    11. 11. 1. Design applications- not structures
    12. 12. application = systems at the service of the human condition
    13. 13. a structure an application
    14. 14. 2. Ask for more
    15. 15. parking, stormwater management, lighting, biofiltration, pedestrian pathway, carbon sequestration, vegetative buffer,
    16. 16. Beautiful.
    17. 17. 3. Change the process
    18. 18. architect’s sketch engineer’s sketch the result
    19. 19. 4. Think mechanically simple; ecologically complex planting solar orientation shading devicesbuilt form
    20. 20. natural systems: flexible modular resilient adaptable efficient energy-efficient resource-conservative
    21. 21. Lower Venice Island
    22. 22. Ask for more: Divert three million gallons of stormwater from the entering the Schuylkill River Improve connections from the island to local businesses Manage every reasonable drop of rain that falls onto the Island Maintain two hundred parking spaces to serve business community Improve the facilities used by local stakeholders Develop new active recreation opportunities Improve connections to the river Improve the Island’s ability to recover from flooding Maintain natural quality of island Make Island a civic space for Manayunk Provide new performing arts facilities Develop safer provisions for flooding on the Island Showcase sustainable development techniques Create access for watercraft Make a space for sporting events in Manayunk
    23. 23. Change the Process
    24. 24. Mechanically simple, ecologically complex
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