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Landscape Ecological Urbanism: Pallikkaranai Marsh Land, Chennai

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Pallikkaranai marsh which originally had an area of 50 sq km, has now shrunk to one tenth of its original extent in the last three decades. Also the marsh is highly polluted, with its unique biodiversity diminishing by day. This presentation outlines the process of preparing a restoration model for the marsh based on the principles and processes of Landscape Urbanism.

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Landscape Ecological Urbanism: Pallikkaranai Marsh Land, Chennai

  1. 1. LANDSCAPE ECOLOGICAL URBANISM
  2. 2. Landscape urbanism promotes a “disciplinary realignment where landscape supplants architecture’s role as the basic building block of urban design.” 
  3. 3.  IAN MCHARG: DESIGN WITH NATURE  RICHARD T T FOREMAN AND MICHEL GODRON: URBAN ECOLOGY  JAMES CORNER, PETER CONNOLLY AND CHARLES WALDHEIM: LANDSCAPE URBANISM  MOHSEN MOSTAFAVI: ECOLOGICAL URBANISM  FREDERICK STEINER: LANDSCAPE ECOLOGICAL URBANISM
  4. 4.  Focus on the distribution patterns of landscape elements or ecosystems; the flows or movements of animals, plants, energy, mineral nutrients and water; and the ecological changes in the landscape over time.  Incorporating ecological knowledge and principles in creation of cities by conducting an in depth study about the interactions of organisms (plants, animals, microbes), built structures (roads, buildings) and the physical environment (soil, air, water) where people are concentrated (cities and towns). For example a soil map showing soil character of various areas of the city- its structure, chemical characteristics, permeability, animal life in soil, fertility properties etc. - can influence the land use of the city.  Apart from a building, urbanism requires work within different and complex economic, political, social, and cultural frameworks. True integration of ecological systems requires a necessary adjustment of scale (beyond the site) and strategies (interdisciplinary) to accommodate the larger contextual framework in which they operate.
  5. 5.  This kind of a comprehensive structural plan preparation can be done with the aid of advanced technologies including GIS, Remote sensing, advanced software like Rhinocerous, Grasshopper etc., but without having flashy and insensitive design interventions.  Designing with nature can improve the quality of cities for people, plants, and animals. In doing so, ecosystem services can be enhanced, that is, the benefits we receive from nature- resource services, such as food, water, and energy; regulatory services, such as purification of water, carbon sequestration and climate regulation, waste decomposition and detoxification, crop pollination, and pest and disease control; support services, such as nutrient and seed dispersal; and cultural services, including cultural, intellectual, and spiritual inspiration, recreational experiences, ecotourism, and scientific discovery.
  6. 6. ORIGINAL EXTENT 50 SQ.KM PRESENT EXTENT 4.34 SQ.KM
  7. 7. A MANGROVE PLANT CAN EXIST IN SALTY SURROUNDINGS BY FILTERING OUT THE SALTS FROM ITS SYSTEM BY THREE WAYS- ROOT LEVEL FILTRATION, LEAVES BEING THICK AND FLESHY STORES FRESH WATER WHICH CLEANS THE SALT, LEAF TURNS AWAY FROM SUN TO PREVENT EVAPORATION, LEAF SYSTEM FILTERS SALT OUT BY TRANSPIRATION.
  8. 8. THE SAME PRINCIPLE USED TO FILTER OUT WASTES FROM THE MARSH. The swamp drains to Buckingham Canal through Okkiyamkadavu. But the flow is interrupted due to encroachments. Therefore a guideline involving widening of Okkiyamkadavu is proposed, with drain networks lined with geosynthetic material, and achieving an average a residual flow of 0.001m/s for entire network. At this rate of residual flow, a complete replacement of polluted water mass within the network will take place in about 4 months’ time. The water quality improvement will be gradual and remain steady with fresh rain water entering continuously within the network, from the connected tanks and storm water runoff to the marsh. 
  9. 9. GEOLOGICAL DATA
  10. 10. COMPOST UNIT
  11. 11. Landscape Ecological Urbanism is an emerging theory synthesizing the technological advances advocated by Landscape Urbanism as well as the human- nature interrelationships of Urban Ecology. The proposal for Pallikaranai restoration using this approach shows that it can further be explored in real design scenarios, especially in ecologically sensitive areas, as a base for regional planning.
  12. 12. [1] Steiner, Frederick. "Landscape ecological urbanism: Origins and trajectories."Landscape and Urban Planning  100.4 (2011): 333-337. [2] Melles, Stephanie, Susan Glenn, and Kathy Martin. "Urban bird diversity and landscape complexity: species- environment associations along a multiscale habitat gradient." Conservation Ecology 7.1 (2003): 5. [3] Hilty, Jodi A., William Z. Lidicker Jr, and Adina Merenlender. Corridor ecology: the science and practice of linking landscapes for biodiversity conservation. Island Press, 2006. [4] McHarg, Ian L., and Lewis Mumford. Design with nature. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1969. [5] Conan, Michel. Environmentalism in landscape architecture. Vol. 22. Dumbarton Oaks, 2000. [6] Forman, Richard TT, and Michel Godron. "Patches and structural components for a landscape ecology." BioScience 31.10 (1981): 733- 740. [7] Forman, Richard T. T.. Urban Ecology. 1st  ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014 [8] Corner, James. "Terra fluxus, landscape urbanism reader." (2006). [9] Charles Waldheim, “Landscape as Urbanism” in The Landscape Urbanism Reader, ed. Waldheim. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006:37 [10] Mostafavi, M., Doherty, G. Ecological urbanism. Baden: Lars Müller Publishers, 2010. [11] Steiner, Frederick. Op. cit. [12] Chandramohan. D.B., Bharathi. D. The Role of Public Governance in Conservation of Urban Wetland System: A Study of Pallikaranai Marsh,2009 [13] Azeez, P. A., et al. "Management Plan for the Eco-restoration of Pallikaranai Reserve Forest."  Report submitted to SACON (2008): 1-62. [14] Jayaprakash, M., et al. "Accumulation of total trace metals due to rapid urbanization in microtidal zone of Pallikaranai marsh, South of Chennai, India."Environmental monitoring and assessment 170.1-4 (2010): 609-629. [15] Chandramohan. D.B., Bharathi. D. Op.cit [16] Jayaprakash, M., et al. Op. cit [17] Mariappan, Julie, "Forest dept to recover 100 ha of Pallikaranai marshland, Restoration of Eco- Sensitive Area to Cost Rs. 15.8 Crore". Times of India epaper (Chennai: The Times Group). 23 October 2011.

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