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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Urban hydrology Welsh, Peter Geoffrey 1999

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URBAN HYDROLOGY by PETER GEOFFREY WELSH B.F.A., Concordia University, 1994 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Landscape Architecture Program) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April, 1999 © Peter Geoffrey Welsh, 1999 In p resen t ing this thesis in partial fu l f i lment of the requ i rements for an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e at the Univers i ty of Brit ish C o l u m b i a , I agree that the Library shall make it f reely avai lable for re fe rence a n d study. I further agree that p e r m i s s i o n fo r extens ive c o p y i n g of this thes is f o r scho lar ly p u r p o s e s may b e granted by the h e a d of my d e p a r t m e n t o r by his o r her representat ives . It is u n d e r s t o o d that c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f th is thesis for f inancial ga in shal l n o t b e a l l o w e d w i t h o u t m y w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . D e p a r t m e n t of L%\(P6CPf& AgTff77fcCfd£f5 T h e Un ivers i ty of Brit ish C o l u m b i a V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a D E - 6 (2/88) A b s t r a c t Water has played a key role in various aspects of our lives. We need water to physi-cally survive, yet we also need water to spiritually and psychologically develop. Water plays a key role in the myths, legends and rituals worldwide. In our North American society we have lost touch with these meanings and rituals. Clearly we still need water to survive, yet our treatment of the hydrological cycle not only impacts the environ-ment, but it also denies us the opportunity to witness, understand and revere water in its various forms. The urban hydrological cycle should not be piped underground. To increase our quality of urban life water should be revealed for all to benefit from and witness. Life in an urban environment poses many physical and behavioral chal-lenges. The revealing of water does present some added difficulties and barriers, yet far more benefits and opportunities are created through this revealing of the hydrologi-cal cycle. The revealing of water in a densely populated urban context offers eco-nomic, ecological and social benefits that would otherwise be unattainable. Key Words: water, hydrological cycle, South East False Creek, stormwater, grey-water, sustainability, watershed, urban development, best management practices. T a b l e o f C o n t e n't s ABSTRACT ii LIST OF FIGURES vii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS xi FOREWORD xii SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION 1 Hypothesis 3 Objectives 5 A Site in Transition 5 Planning Process .6 Sustainability and S E F C 11 SECTION 2: A NEED FOR NATURAL P R O C E S S E S 15 The Needs and Conditions of Urban Life 18 Urban Density 21 Preferred Space 22 Change in the Urban Environment 23 Adaptation 25 Choice 25 Learning Through Doing 26 Love 27 Mental Health in Context 28 Conclusion 30 Natural Processes and the Hydrological Cycle 32 Social Needs of Water in the Landscape 34 The Meaning of Water 36 The Aesthetics of Water 37 The Healing Powers of Water 39 Economic Benefits of Water 42 Real Estate Values 44 Infrastructure 45 Willingness To Pay 48 SECTION 3: BRINGING WATER BACK THROUGH THE CITY 48 The Natural Hydrological Cycle 51 The Canopy 51 Soil Surface 51 Evapotranspiration 52 Groundwater Recharge 53 Wetlands 53 Urban Impacts on the Hydrological Cycle 54 Peak Flows and Impervious Surfaces 55 Non-Point Source Pollution .56 Combined Sewers 63 Combined Sewers 68 Stormwater Best Management Practices 69 The Source 70 The Movement of Water 71 Detention Areas 85 The Uses of Water 91 Conclusion 94 SECTION 4: THE SITE 97 A Brief History 97 Site Context 98 The Watersheds of S E F C 98 Topographical Watershed 99 Storm Sewer Watershed 99 Combined Sewer Watershed .100 C S O Watershed 100 Current Sewer System 101 Current Main Collectors 102 Soil Contamination 102 Soil Structure 103 Heritage Features 103 Current & Proposed Bodies of Water 104 Proposed Excavation 105 Proposed Fill 106 Proposed Catchment Areas 107 Proposed Figure-Ground & Building Heights 108 Changes to Proposed Figure-Ground 109 Proposed Circulation 110 Proposed On-site Movement of Water 110 Proposed Zoning 111 Accommodating Upland H 2 0 111 Initial Catchment Area 112 10 Year Catchment Area 113 20 Year Catchment Area 113 Swale Dimensions 114 v SECTION 5: THE DESIGN 115 The General Plan 117 The Front Yard 119 The Back Yard 128 The Public Plaza 134 Boilermaker Avenue 143 SECTION 6: CONCLUSION 145 BIBLIOGRAPHY .147 v i L i s t o f F i g u r e s Page Figure 1: Qanats in Iran; Photograph G. Gerster (Source: Bourdon 1995, p.60) 4 Figure 2: Shipbuilding on South Shore of False Creek circa 1890-91 (Source: Burkinshaw 1984, p.23) 6 Figure 3: "Creekside Landing"; (Source: Stanley Kwok Consultants) 7 Figure 4: "The Works Yard" (Source: The City of Vancouver) 9 Figure 5: The charette; (photo by P. Welsh) 10 Figure 6: The Georgia Basin (Source: Environment Canada) 16 Figure 7: Differing Views of the ego. (Source: Dumont 1968, pp. 38-39) 20 Figure 8: The filling in of 61 acres of tidal mudflats of False Creek (1916) (Source: Burkinshaw 1984,p.33) 43 Figure 9: Peak flows, (Source: Ferguson 1998, p.6) 55 Figure 10: Turf Roof in Halifax, N.S. (Photograph by P. Welsh) 59 Figure 11: Blank roof in Vancouver, B.C. Photograph by P. Welsh 59 Figure 12: The Combined System 64 Figure 13: The Separated System 65 Figure 14: The Local System 66 Figure 15: The Natural System 67 Figure 16: The Standard Roof 74 Figure 17: The Tiled Roof 75 Figure 18: The Garden Roof 75 Figure 19: The Greenhouse Roof 76 Figure 20: The Agri-Roof 76 Figure 21: The Eco-Roof 77 Figure 22: The Solar Roof 77 Figure 23: Living Walls 78 Figure 24: Two examples of oil-water separators. (Source: BC Environment 1992) 79 Figure 25: Paved Swale 80 Figure 26: Vegetated Swale 81 Figure 27: Grassy Swale 82 Figure 28: Infiltration Trench 83 Figure 29: Filter Strip 84 Figure 30: Dry Detention Pond 85 Figure 31: Dry Detention Pond (Extended) 86 Figure 32: Wet Detention Pond 87 Figure 33: Constructed Wetland 89 Figure 34: Subsurface Basin 90 Figure 35: Infiltration Basin 91 Figure 36: Design Matrix 95-96 Figure 37: Site Context 98 Figure 38: Topographical Watershed 99 Figure 39: Storm Sewer Catchment Area 99 Figure 40: Combined Sewer Catchment Area 100 Figure 41: Average Combined Sewer Overflow (Source: City of Vancouver Engineering Department) 99 Figure 42: Combined Sewer Overflow Catchment Area 101 Figure 43: Current Sewer System Area 101 Figure 44: Current Main Collectors 102 Figure 45: Soil Contamination 102 viii Figure 46: Soil Structure 103 Figure 47: Heritage Features 103 Figure 48: 1898 View of SEFC (Source: Burkinshaw 1984, p. 24) 104 Figure 49: Proposed Bodies of Water 104 Figure 50: Proposed Areas of Excavation 105 Figure 51: Proposed Areas of Fill ...106 Figure 52: Proposed Catchment Areas 107 Figure 53: Proposed Figure-Ground & Building Heights 108 Figure 54: Proposed Changes to Figure-Ground 109 Figure 55: Proposed Circulation 110 Figure 56: On-Site Movement of Water 110 Figure 57: Proposed Zoning 111 Figure 58: Initial Catchment Area 112 Figure 59: 10 Year Plan Catchment Area 113 Figure 60: 20 Year Plan Catchment Area 113 Figure 61: Swale Dimensions for Incremental Planning 114 Figure 62: Master Plan Details 116 Figure 63: A 'Front Yard' 117 Figure 64: The Master Plan 118 Figure 65: A Central Plaza. 119 Figure 66: The Front Yard 120 Figure 67: Front Yard Emergent Basin 121 Figure 68: Front Yard Hydrology 122 Figure 69: Front Yard Vertical Detail 123 Figure 70: Front Yard Axonometric 124 ix Figure 71: Front Yard Vertical Hydrology 125 Figure 72: Guide to Front Yard Cross-sections 126 Figure 73: Front Yard Cross-sections 127 Figure 74: Habitat Islands 128 Figure 75: The Back Yard Plan. 129 Figure 76: Back Yard Hydrology 130 Figure 77: Detail of Constructed Wetlands .131 Figure 78: Guide to Back Yard Cross-sections 131 Figure 79: The Back Yard Cross-sections 132 Figure 80: Open Space Detail 133 Figure 81: Cafe Detail 133 Figure 82: Community Hall Detail 133 Figure 83: Amphitheatre Detail 133 Figure 84: Small Spaces Detail 133 Figure 85: Promontory Detail.... 134 Figure 86: View from Public Plaza Promontory 134 Figure 87: The Public Plaza Plan 135 Figure 88: Public Plaza Hydrology 136 Figure 89: Public Plaza Axonometric 137 Figure 90: Detail of Public Plaza Basin 138 Figure 91: Guide to Public Plaza Cross-sections 139 Figure 92: Public Plaza Cross-sections (A-a, B-b, Seating Detail) 140 Figure 93: Public Plaza Cross-sections (C-c, D-d, E-e) 141 Figure 94: Detail of Boilermaker Avenue 142 Figure 95: Boilermaker Avenue (Plan & Section) 143 x A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s Initially I would like to thank all the faculty of the landscape architecture program for giving me the tools and resources that eventually lead me through the numerous stages of this thesis project. It was not only very difficult, but it was also a great pleas-ure in synthesizing and acting upon this accumulated knowledge. I am very grateful to my committee chair, professor Patrick Mooney, for his help and guidance throughout the process, especially for clarifying 'complicated' issues when they needn't have been. Finally I would like to thank Peter Wendt and Don Vaughan, my two other com-mittee members, for their time, encouragement and fun-filled critiques. P.G.W. xi F o r e w o r d This project started years ago. Long before I recognized my need to study landscape architecture I had a distinct interest in urban form and natural processes. For as long as I've known it, I have thoroughly enjoyed urban life. At the same time, I have always had an intrinsic need for nature: a 'nature' with no heavy footprint of human behaviour. I have always been intrigued by the fact that to experience nature in any of its glory one has to travel some distance from urban life. Having spent my childhood in semi-rural England I was never at a loss for frequent and random encounters with nature. Only now, as an adult, do I realize the fortunate and privileged upbringing I had, and the permanent and positive memories that it in-stilled. During my teenage years, the interaction with nature was replaced with an interest and fascination with everything urban. All of a sudden 'Downtown' was the place-to-be. The sheer energy of life downtown fueled my fascination for many years. However the thrill of the city's vibrancy eventually waned. It no longer inspired me to ask as many questions. As Thomas Moore wrote, "Technology often promises enchantment but rarely delivers it." (Moore 1996, p. 13) The city still plays an important role in my life but I have come to realize that there is more to life than what is offered by urban life. This project is about my attempt to merge, intermingle and perhaps even overlap what I consider to be two fundamental aspects of modern human life. Urban life and natural xii processes need not rest on either side of the fence. We often lead lives controlled by economics and social engagements yet at the same time we can also find fulfillment, satisfaction and respite in natural processes and 'nature' and the benefits which they bring. xiii S e c t i o n 1 I n t r o d u c t i o n "Nature should live its own life, we should not destroy it with the col-ors of our houses and interiors. But we should try to bring nature, houses and human beings together in a higher unity." Mies van der Rohe (from: Frampton 1998, p.46) Not long ago most of the world's population lived in our rural landscapes. Today, close to eighty percent of the global population lives in urban areas. Throughout our evolution we have needed, relied upon, feared, loved, and respected our natural land-scape. Even today the availability of nearby nature is an essential human need (Kaplan, Kaplan & Ryan, 1998). Yet in our dense urban cores the lack of natural ar-eas has affected our more recent evolution. We still need an intimate and consistent symbiotic relationship with natural processes, yet most of our urban experiences are devoid of these interactions. The biologist E.O. Wilson states that "humanity is exalted not because we are so far above other living creatures, but because knowing them well elevates the very concept of life" (Wilson 1984, p 22). Our urban areas are not presently constructed to support many kinds of natural diversity. Urban British Colum-bians do not have the opportunity to frequently witness or understand many ecological mechanisms. Although studies have shown that humans prefer natural features of a landscape far more than distinctly urban features (Kaplan, Kaplan & Wendt 1972) most natural processes are not evident in our urban environment. If people have an affinity to natural landscapes shouldn't we create a habitat that optimizes an experi-ence with nature? 1 Vancouver is blessed with an exquisite location that is almost unparalleled. Vancouver has managed to keep a tradition of borrowed landscapes alive. From a variety of downtown avenues and streets frequent and reliable glimpses of the mountains and water present themselves. We are constantly reminded of and refreshed by these views, indeed Vancouver is a great city because of them, yet there exists quite a gap between us and "Beautiful British Columbia". How can we make nature less intimidat-ing? Many of the threats that we felt from nature only a couple of centuries ago have mostly vanished. Are we willing and able to welcome urban nature that isn't solely rep-resented by manicured parks, cemented riparian zones or playfields? As our urban areas density Vancouver is in jeopardy of losing touch with the very land-scapes with which it identifies with most. The distant forested areas and the nearby bodies of water define Vancouver. Yet for many people these areas are simply inac-cessible. As Vancouver grows those living in the central areas are being distanced from a dis-tinct quality of life that one can only attain through the daily interaction with the natural world. As our city grows we risk losing visual and biological connectivity to the areas that create our identity. To sustain a high quality of life we need to plan not only for essential needs such as food, water and housing but we also need to satisfy our in-nate, even primordial, need to witness and interact with natural processes. Our need for experiences with natural processes can have many effects. An experience with na-ture can have a restorative effect (Lewis 1996), It can influence our spiritual develop-ment (Kellert 1993, Lewis 1996) 2 Hypothesis In leading up to this thesis, the opportunities for a specific hypothesis varied consid-erably. My initial interest was in the neglected areas of urban space. Some of these areas were neglected through transitional pauses in development, some areas were neglected through a lack of design, and some areas were even neglected through too much design. In looking at these spaces it seemed that those that were most 'neglected', those spaces that had fallen into a high state of disrepair, were often highly used fragments of our urban areas. Some areas such as the underside of bridges and isolated parking areas were utilized by the fringe elements and deviants of our society. Some other areas such as vacant lots were highly used by dog owners. The roof, however, seemed to be the most overlooked neglected space that offered the most potential for use and change. By looking at an aerial photo of any urban area one can easily notice the sheer surface area that is consumed by our rooftops. In a 1997 study conducted in Portland, Ore-gon, nearly 30% of the total downtown area (723 acres) was found to be rooftop space. This 30% equals 218 acres or the equivalent of approximately 166 football fields (Beckman et al. 1997, p.24). For all of this space consumed by urban roofs, very little of it is used for more than the simple function of keeping our heads dry and our investments intact. A closer look at the main function of the roof brought me to ask another question: Where does all of that water go? The sheer volume of this life giving substance that is austerely and efficiently removed is astounding. 3 Water, the source of all life, the well of our unconscious, yet our urban infrastructure swiftly sends it into pipes and out of sight. Civilization has nearly always created its settlements adjacent to bodies of water. We have gone to great lengths in collecting water. The un-derground qanats of Persia or the great elevated Roman viaducts can attest to this. Yet we frivo-lously waste it even though we still require great feats of engineering to acquire it. Once humanity lived predominantly in rural areas yet in the next twenty-five years we can expect eighty percent of our global population to inhabit urban areas. Our existence in urban areas is a vir-tual blink in the timeline of humanity. For millennia we evolved with nature and now we are expected to exist without it. The amount of evidence that supports our need for natural processes is overwhelming. Basic urban life should not exclude our vital need for witnessing and interacting with nature. With this in mind I hope to show that through the revealing of the urban hydrological cycle our quality of urban life can be enhanced. The key to enhancing our lives in this endeavour lies not merely in the difficult task of daylighting the urban hydrological cycle. This task can be effectively accomplished by most hydraulic engineers. The challenge lies in designing the hydrological cycle in such a manner that those interacting with it will understand, appreciate and cherish its exposure. 4 Figure 1 Q a n a t s in Iran; Photograph G . G e r s t e r S o u r c e : Bourdon 1995, p.60 Objectives Within the scope of this project there are five key objectives that need to be ad-dressed. There are many issues revolving around the chosen site. This project is dealing predominantly with one: The processes of water in our urban environment. By virtue of the complexity of the site other issues will come into play. The five key objectives are: > To indicate some aspects of urban living that determine human quality of life. > To indicate the psychological, phenomenological and scientific values that water holds for us. > To indicate any benefits related to the revealing of the urban hydrological cycle. > To establish any design criteria that can relate our visual preferences for water and our urban needs to urban stormwater best management practices. > To graphically portray how a visible hydrological cycle can be designed within an urban landscape. A Site in Transition South East False Creek is the oldest suburb in Vancouver. It has gone through nu-merous changes since its first non-native settler, Julius Voight, built a cabin near what is now 1st Avenue and Main Street. The overall character of the site has been indus-trial, reaching its heyday in the 1940's with the production demands of the Second World War. On this site steel for structures such as the Lion's Gate Bridge and the West Edmonton Mall were fabricated. Now, more than one hundred and thirty years 5 after Voight built his cabin, this 80-acre site has been proposed to become, once more, a neighbourhood and a community. It can never become what it originally was. The shoreline has been drastically altered, the soil has been contaminated and the de-velopment demands upon it are too great. What was once mudflats, with a dense for-est extending down to its shoreline, is now a blank, yet contaminated, canvas amidst one of the densest cities in North America. * i W? A I i - - * 1 M i l W£W *.^,.. »">SP£>• /a9/ Figure 2 Shipbuilding on South Shore of False Creek circa 1890-91 Source: Burkinshaw 1984, p.23 Planning Process In May 1997 the City of Vancouver received approval from the Council for the begin-ning of a planning program. An advisory group was created and planning for the site began. In 1998 the planning process was opened up to the greater public in the way of meetings, public workshops and open houses. In 1998 the City of Vancouver asked Stanley Kwok to put together a plan for the site 6 Figure 3 "Creekside Landing"; Stanley Kwok Consultants while being guided by the theory of Sustainable Development. Stanley Kwok devel-oped the Concord Pacific site directly across from SEFC (South East False Creek) on the north shore of the creek. In many ways Concord Pacific has become quite a suc-cess. It is becoming a vibrant high-rise community adjacent to a recently revitalized Yaletown and Vancouver's downtown core. What Stanley Kwok envisioned for SEFC was very similar to the shape, structure, density and character of Concord Pacific. This plan was entitled "Creekside Landing". It had all the trimmings of a glossy devel-oper's vision yet after it was presented to the public tempers flared. To many people it adhered to none of the guiding principles of sustainable development. The city had been touting the site as the location for a new community "in which people choose to live and work because it supports their desire to live sustainably, by maintaining and 7 balancing the highest possible levels of social equity and livability, ecological health and economic prosperity" (City of Vancouver, 1998 pg.i). This public outcry led the consultants back to the drawing board and prompted the city to sponsor a charette. The Charette A charette, for those of you who are not familiar with this process, is an intense design exercise that focuses on flushing out new ideas within a short period of time; a brain-storming through design. The time period allotted for this particular charette was three days. A great deal of information needed to be analyzed and synthesized during this process. With sustainable issues at the forefront, professionals (planners, designers, landscape architects, architects, engineers) from as far afield as Australia were asked to participate, although the majority of the professionals were locally based. Having local professionals from the planning and design fields helped the process considera-bly taking into account that most of the local participants were at least partially familiar with SEFC, it's history and the complex issues surrounding it. Also included in the pro-cess were architecture and landscape architecture students from the University of Brit-ish Columbia. The charette participants were divided into three separate teams. Each team was comprised of approximately six professionals and three students. The city required each team to produce a design that adhered to specific guidelines. These guidelines revolved around issues of density, cultural need, ecological integrity, economic feasi-bility and the overriding principles of sustainability. Within these three days each team generated numerous plans, diagrams, illustrations and sketches. The charette re-8 suited in designs that definitely do not fit into the regular patterns of development. Yet all of these designs are considered realistic and buildable. The results of the team's efforts are being used to guide the city's consultants. With these designs the city is hoping that a fresh new set of plans and documents will de-velop that procure common visions of sustainability. At this point in time the city is ex-pecting to release an ODP (official development plan) in the year 2000. Figure 4 "The Works Yard" Source: The City of Vancouver In the meantime, after some consultation with the city, I have selected one of the charette designs as a starting point for my thesis. After viewing the three designs I based my selection on three criteria. These are: • Of the three designs, the selected design is the only one that left the exist-ing shoreline untouched. According to the city the cost of significantly altering the shoreline would produce excessive expenditures 9 • Of the three designs, the selected design produced a variety of building heights and building types. While the other designs produced building heights that were uniformly low this design has a variety of building heights ranging from two to thirty-two storeys. • Lastly, due to its use of high-rise structures this design allotted 23.4% of the site for park space. I felt that this selected de-sign, entitled The Works Yard', comes close to what the city planning de-partment envisions for the site. In light of the layout of The Works Yard there are considerable opportu-nities to adequately dem-Figure 5 T h e charette; photo by P. W e l s h onstrate stormwater management designs that approach levels of sustainability. I use the word 'sustainability' with some hesitancy and caution. In the title of the city's policy statement for SEFC they wisely added the subtitle 'Towards a Sustainable Ur-ban Neighbourhood'. In the scope of the site's context and it's inability to address much broader issues SEFC cannot be an entirely sustainable community. It can how-ever be a positive step 'towards', and a shining example of an effort to achieve, sustainability. 10 Sustainability and SEFC I have chosen SEFC for my thesis design project because of the city's commitment to create a neighbourhood that approaches sustainability. In the city's policy statement for SEFC they have used a definition of sustainability from a 1980's United Nations re-port on the environment and the economy. The UN defines 'sustainable development' as: "Development which meets the needs of the present without compro-mising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." (Brundtland Commision; from City of Vancouver, 1998) SEFC is integrally linked to a much broader development area. For example: • SEFC is environmentally linked because migratory birds use the Georgia Basin as a stopover. In this context SEFC is not only linked to the rest of North America but also to the extents of Siberia and South America. • SEFC is economically linked to Asian countries through APEC (Asia Pa-cific Economic Community) and to the USA and Mexico through NAFTA (The North America Free Trade Agreement). We rely on the exchange of goods and services to support our economy. In this manner our ecological and eco-nomic footprint can extend far beyond our national boundaries. • SEFC is socially linked, because Canada has a resident population from all social and economic backgrounds, a sustainable SEFC has the responsi-bility to represent this spectrum. 11 What is this word sustainability? I have already presented a definition put forth by the United Nation's, yet in the last decade the opportunities and difficulties of sustainability have been developed much further, and many more definitions have surfaced. The Three-legged Stool There are two notions and analogies of put forth that expound upon the UN's defini-tion. The first is the view of sustainability as a three-legged stool (the Sheltair Group, 1998). Each of the legs represents each of the vital facets that comprise sustainability. These three facets are cultural integrity, ecological integrity and eco-nomic integrity. The ideal solution for a sustainable system is when the stool is high, evenly balanced and with all of the legs structurally sound. The stool should be high enough that one doesn't have to bend down too low to seat oneself, yet it should not be too high that its utilitarian function is obsolete. The Mosaic The second analogy is that of the mosaic landscape put forth by Richard Foreman (Forman, 1990). Foreman compares 'mosaic stability' to a city with its lights blinking on and off. The location of lights will vary from night to night yet if one were to count them each night the number of lights would remain the same. Essentially this mosaic analogy needs to include a representation of all types of landscape. Only when this is planned for can sustainability be accomplished. If one area of the mosaic is altered another area will have to compensate. Over time this effect of give-and-take and push-and-pull is constant. There are three important components to Foreman's model of mosaic stability. These are: Adaptability and change A landscape, its occupants and its stewards should be capable of adaptation and change. Even in a natural state a landscape is continually changing and evolving. Time At least a few generations or a century (Foreman 1990, Lynch 1972) seems to be an adequate time period to allow for change and to design around it. Many changes can happen overnight. It might take a certain region centuries to evolve into a mature state yet overnight the hand of man can make it disappear. Yet we need to plan more for the slow changes. To rectify impacts on the landscape it requires at least a few gen-erations. Spatial Scale If we look at a landscape mosaic the spatial scale must ensure that enough of the re-gion's typologies are represented within its boundaries. Of course this will vary from one case to the next, but in virtually all cases this scale will need to be quite large. The size of the mosaic needs to accommodate any changes by shifting its pattern over a time span of at least a few generations or a century. One can easily see that to achieve a completely sustainable landscape all levels of government, public interest groups, and concerned individuals need to coordinate not only amongst themselves but also internationally simply because our political bounda-ries are rarely established according to watersheds and ecosystems. This kind of or-13 ganization is vital. Natural systems and habitat do not recognize boundaries estab-lished by a grid. Water flows according to the laws of gravity and geological forma-tions. Animals migrate according to seasonal changes and a need for feeding grounds. Spatial scale is the key factor in determining that SEFC alone cannot accomplish sustainability. The appropriate scale for coordinating sustainability in this region is probably the Georgia Basin. One of the main principles for regional design is 'starting where it is easiest' (Hough 1990) SEFC may not be the best scale for implementing sustainable designs but it has momentum, public interest, and great potential. The in-clusion of the word 'towards' in the subtitle of the city of Vancouver's SEFC policy statement puts this project into perspective. SEFC has the opportunity to become a landmark example of a neighbourhood that strives for sustainability. When the Georgia Basin follows its lead SEFC will then truly become a sustainable urban neighbourhood. In the meantime areas like SEFC will need to oppose traditional patterns of development in creating new precedents of 'sustainable development'. 14 S e c t i o n 2 A N e e d f o r N a t u r a l P r o c e s s e s "The human need for nature is linked not just to the material exploita-tion of the environment but also to the influence of the natural world on our emotional, cognitive, aesthetic, and even spiritual develop-ment. " S.R. Kellert (Kellert 1993, p.42) For as long as the human race has existed on this planet it has needed a clear under-standing of natural processes; people need to interact with nature (Alexander 1977). Our needs for natural processes are diverse yet our basic understanding of these needs and of the natural processes themselves is dwindling. Our overwhelming habi-tation of urban areas is a recent phenomenon in the context of our evolution. Until the coming of the industrial revolution in the 19th Century, our development and evolution has been reciprocally linked to the landscape. This relationship is hardly a reciprocal one any longer and we are the worse for it. A need for nature is ingrained in all of us (Lyle 1994) yet our deviation from an intimate tie to the natural world has caused fa-tigue and inefficiency amongst us (Stainbrook 1973). Psychologically and spiritually we have always relied on nature as a source of mysteries and truths. Nature has been the source of learning and enjoyment through the ages. In several studies, aesthetic scenes with a nature content are preferred far more than those with urban imagery (Kaplan, Kaplan & Wendt 1972, Lyle 1994, Ulrich 1983, Lewis 1996). Even imagining oneself in amidst a landscape of 'mountains, forests, fields, lake shores, and oceans' can produce a 'relaxed, tranquil state of mind' (Lewis 1996). 15 Now that most of our global population resides in urban centres our functional relation-ship with the landscape is diminished. Clearly we still rely and depend on it as much as ever for food production and natural resources. Yet to stay competi-tive in the global market most of the farming and forestry industries have become mechanized, and we no longer maintain an everyday relationship with nature. Yet according to the contem-porary view of ecopsychology one cru-cial way of improving our lifestyles is through a functional relationship with nature (Anthony, Shapiro). "People are confronted with a series of traumatic losses that don't show up on the radar screen of those who are approaching ecologi-cal issues from an aesthetic point of view and whose concern is for preserving the beauties of wilderness....in particular I am thinking of the sense of loss suffered by many people who live in the city, who are traumatized by the fact that they don't have a functional relation-ship with nature. It is not just a question of being able to walk along the beach and enjoy the ocean or sky." (Anthony, 1995 p. 264) As much as we have shaped and altered our landscape we are still bound by the forces of natural processes. Modern society has lost touch with nature (Lyle 1994, Hough 1995, Stainbrook 1973, Metzner 1995), yet the sheer power and unpredictabil-16 Figure 6 The Georgia Basin Source: Environment Canada ity of natural processes remains as a great impact on our lives and livelihoods. Be-cause of our turn in lifestyles from one of daily interaction with nature to one of insular-ity from it, our understanding of natural forces has diminished due to our decreased in-teraction with them. We long to interact with landscapes in which we do not predomi-nate (Lewis 1996), yet we create environments that shield us from the forces of natural processes. Natural forces still remain a key factor in determining our behaviour. Our society has experienced a spiritual low point because of the apparent lack of nature. Yet to overcome such a dilemma we look towards humans achievements and technol-ogy instead of our roots in the natural environment. In an air-conditioned sealed environment we can't possibly understand our environ-ment at large. The complexity of the built environment and technology causes much stress in our lives (West 1985). Man is genetically attuned to the sun, moon and sea-sonal changes (Stainbrook 1973) yet in the context of urban living we have lost many opportunities to fulfill this definitive need. "How important it is to resume our boundless ohginal mind. Then we are always true to ourselves, in sympathy with all beings." Shunryu Suzuki (from: Moore 1996, p. xx) We are, as a race, a part of nature. Our souls tell us this yet our minds deny us the opportunity of fulfilling this connection to a vital part of our beings. Nature has an open-ended capacity for restoring our well-being. Even a brief interaction with nature can have restorative affects (Lewis 1996). In our cities we attempt to find fulfillment in technology. In modern life we create forms of entertainment that shield us from the very things that our souls desire. "Not only does the exotic, unreal world presented on 17 the television threaten to distract children from less spectacular local wildlife, but it fails to provide the personal stimulus awakened when you yourself choose the images, sounds, smells, and ideas that direct your experience of nature." (Nabhan & St. An-toine 1993, p.242) In studies conducted on fifty-two children by Gary Paul Nabhan and Sara St. Antoine a conclusion was made that as a result of our reliance on modern forms of media for information gathering our diversity of language, and the breadth of our 'oral traditions' and knowledge, has been diminished. An alarming amount of chil-dren surveyed said that they had more exposure to wild animals on television than they had in real life. To make matters even more interesting all of the children sur-veyed lived within a twenty-five mile radius of two national parks. Our reliance on technology is astounding, especially given the breakneck speed of the IT (information technology) industry. In a recent study by the electronics giant Hewlett Packard twenty-five percent of North American homes were found to have internet ac-cess of which ten to fifteen hours per week are spent perusing the internet from each of these connections (Rheingold 1998). "Modern society has, in both the literal and figurative sense, lost "touch" with the soil, and we are the poorer for it" (Lyle 1994, p.9) The Needs and Conditions of Urban Life In understanding how design can enhance natural processes in the city, I feel that one needs to clearly understand the constraints and needs that physical urban space and 18 urban life places upon us. During the design process many decisions need to be made when considering matters of hydrology. The purpose of this next section is to give the reader some insight into some of the complexities that one faces when the en-vironment and human well-being come face to face in the city. These result of these complex design decisions are most easily seen in the physical product. Just as impor-tant , however, is the behavioral responses to these spaces. Herein lies the success to any design. Any good design must respond to and resolve many sets of complex issues. In the case of this report and its consequent design, these issues not only re-late to volumes and water quality but also to the behavioral responses to water and the urban environment. Since the Industrial Revolution, cities have rapidly grown to accommodate nearly eighty percent of our global population. For most of the previous ten thousand years we have existed as agrarian societies. It was about this time that our true connection to nature was lost. With the advent of industrial society we no longer existed along-side nature. Instead we started to domineer and shape the earth as we saw fit. This dichotomy of man and nature has never since merged, although one of the key quests in life for many is to reestablish this connection. "While it (industrial civilization) has brought to humans a great many material benefits, this dominant position has not been a benign influence on the ecology of the biosphere. In the long term it may be disastrous for most forms of life including humanity itself (Lyle 1994, p.51) What does it mean to live in a city? Does it automatically imply a disconnection from nature? Does living in dense urban environments automatically induce a life of stress, and a disconnection from one's environment? In what direction is our contemporary 19 lifestyle taking us? The popular notion of living in a dense urban environment is that it does cause stress. Does Moving downtown mean abandoning all hope of tranquility? Does urban life equate to rushing home, locking the door and turning on the television to witness advertisements of quiet spacious automobiles solitarily rolling through a pristine landscape? How can we shape the city to make it more acceptable? Matthew Dumont, M.D., in his book The Absurd Healer offers an illustration of how we fit into our environment. Some believe that the ego stands alone; that it is guided and determined apart from our surroundings (Diagram A). Dumont, through his experience 1 Figure 7 1 Differing Views of the ego. Source: Dumont 1968, pp. 38-39 as a c o m -munity psychiatrist, believes that the ego is integrally enmeshed within our surround-ings (Diagram B). Our behaviours and our health are intrinsically linked to the state of the environment and the landscape in which we live. 20 Urban Density On a brief excursion in neighbourhoods such as Kitsilano and Mount Pleasant one can easily recognize the pattern of development from traditional single-family housing to Strata-owned condominiums and loft-style living. Vancouver has started to recognize the need to densify our urban areas. The GVRD is expected to expand at the rate of 50,000 each year (Wood 1998, p. 15). If we hope to preserve any of our outlying agri-cultural land reserve and wilderness areas we need to understand some of the facts behind high-density housing. At the same time, in designing spaces within the density of the North American city, one needs to consider the effects of such a lifestyle. To receive amenities such as shopping and transportation, neighbourhoods need to reach a certain level of density that single-family housing don't achieve. The popular notion of high population density is that it causes all sorts of physical, mental and so-cial ills. It is assumed that when people live in close proximity to one another they be-come violent, aggressive and irrational. It is assumed that in such conditions one wants to retreat from the greater environment into the refuge of their own compartmen-talized living quarters. Vandalism and crime has often been associated with high den-sity living. These are indeed some of the social behaviours that may take place in crowded environments yet they are not caused by high-density living. The social ills of our society are more the result of unemployment, segregation, isolation, a lack of health care, and a lack of choice and opportunity (Dumont 1968, Freeman 1975) In conditions of high-density, stress is elevated only when this environment is amongst 21 strangers. The same environment amongst familiar faces has the affect of elevating one's mood. If one walks into a crowded room in a generally good mood this mood will heighten. Yet the inverse is true; a bad mood will only get worse. Although in a neutral condition the mood will remain the same. (Freeman 1975) When placed into a condition of confined isolated quarters subjects of various studies were found to have functioned just as well as those who had far more elbow room. Density was even attributed to causing less hostility than a more spacious environ-ment. As would be expected, when people feel threatened in the city, they will seek out, and find solace in areas of high density and activity. Within the urban environ-ment we do not require large areas to inhabit. Pairs of people who lived in a single room for a length of time demonstrated more cooperation and harmony than those who shared two rooms. On a larger scale a similar study found that crime rates in ur-ban areas decreased as the density increased. The social pathologies that are wrongly associated with high-density housing are more the product of income and so-cial mobility. A rich person will live in a dense neighbourhood because that is his choice. A person with a low income lives in a dense neighbourhood because that is his only choice. The person of lower income will often despise his environment, re-gardless of its attributes, simply because of his inability to choose otherwise. In two neighbourhoods of similar levels of density the neighbourhood with a low-income level had nearly six times the incidents of crime than the high-income neighbourhood. (Freeman 1975) Preferred Space 22 How much space we need is difficult to determine. Different cultures need different amounts of personal space. In Canada because of our relatively high level of ethnic diversity an answer to this question is made even more difficult. How people relate to one another is directly related to their level of intimacy and the physical situation. If a stranger chooses to sit next to you in an empty restaurant this will appear odd and probably unacceptable. Yet if the same stranger sat in the same seat when the res-taurant was crowded this would be acceptable and might even go unnoticed. In the latter situation a certain level of intimacy is attained and shared. It seems appropriate that smaller spaces are preferred over open spaces for attaining levels of intimacy. A larger area with one hundred people will feel more 'overwhelming' than a smaller space of equal density that holds only 20 people (Freeman 1975). This plays an im-portant role in designing dense urban areas. In situations where encounters with groups of strangers are unavoidable it is more comfortable when these encounters take place in smaller environments. Change in the Urban Environment In a rapidly growing city there are various factors that can help make urban life accept-able, one of which is the rate of change. If the rate of change consistently develops at a pace that the affected group deems too fast or too slow then that group will be iso-lated or overwhelmed (Lynch 1972). Whatever the plans for development may be, one needs to ensure that it is at the rate that the neighbourhood will accept. One must understand the people that are going to be influenced and affected by these changes. They alone will determine the success of any project. When one is stressed one longs for familiar and nurturing surroundings "a place that is archetypal, even genetically, ap-23 pealing."(Thompson 1998,#4, p.89) Any new development should respond to the cur-rent development pattern or to the people that will soon inhabit it. At the same time one must keep in mind that disruptions of behaviour will sometimes occur before a level of well being is attained. Depending on the original health of the system, or com-munity, the elicited changes may receive some backlash before any good occurs. It is a fine line between too much change and too little. If a knee-jerk reaction does occur, it is sometimes more beneficial to continue (Dumont 1968). Changelessness For a healthy lifestyle certain habits need to form. For habits to form a relatively stable environment is needed (Taylor 1973). Again I must emphasize the point that to find this ideal balance between change and stability is not easy. "Every new device that af-fects social life and social routine is to that extent a disorganizing influence. Every new discovery, every new invention, every new idea, is disturbing."( Burgess & McKen-zie from, Taylor 1973 p.56) For a stable lifestyle to develop a certain amount of chan-gelessness needs to occur. Organizations and social structure need to rally around a stable focal element. This rallying will usually revolve around some political will or so-cial issue yet I believe it can be aided by a landscape that one can trust and depend on. Vancouver is not very strong in the preservation of architecture or landform. The establishment of certain key points and features that have distinct meaning in society must be established and preserved. Let me once again present the difficulties presented with the notion of change. Al-though our need for reliability and sameness in the landscape is needed to create vari-ous bonds a landscape that is too static is also a health risk. In an environment of mo-24 notony and understimulation elements of neurosis can appear (Dumont 1968, Galla-gher 1993). In poorer neighbourhoods where the adult population is seen standing around this is in no way a leisure activity. In this environment of changelessness and understimulation an already tense situation of unemployment and lack of opportunity is only heightened. Creating a landscape that changes will in no way solve all the prob-lems of changelessness. Yet it can be a healthy indicator of change especially when it is concerned with changes that help us understand natural processes such as those of the seasons, climate and the hydrological cycle. Adaptation Adaptation, or the inability to do so, is a cause of stress in our modern climate (Dumont 1968). Some can adapt to almost any situation, others can adapt to less, still others have very little ability to adapt at all. It would be unfair to say that those that cannot adapt are socially unfit, yet their very inability to adapt is a cause of distress and mental illness. One cannot always expect these individuals to adapt to our social and physical climate. It is the responsibility of those that help guide our social policies, and those that design physical space to create choice and opportunity. Less adapta-tion is needed if more choices are presented. Choice The ability to adapt is related to choice. In attempting to define Mental Health the community psychiatrist Matthew Dumont chose to bring it down to one word, freedom. "The freedom I write about is not unrestricted individual initiative but the shared aspira-25 tion for the widest range of possibilities for all men. I call this aspiration mental health."(Dumont 1968, p. 51) If we are given only one option to choose it is likely that adaptation will not be possible. If we can offer more options by which to adapt then less distress and neurosis will occur resulting in a healthier individual and potentially a healthier society. One can apply this in two settings. The first is a lifestyle choice. The more options for employment one has the greater the chance that the individual will find his chosen work more enjoyable and the thought of losing his job less threat-ening. The second setting is physical. "Mayer Spivack...studied the anti-therapeutic monstrosities that some architects have imposed upon mental health patients....One of his most incredible examples of a bad environment for peace of mind was a prome-nade for patients that was so long and unvarying in its design that the person lost all reckoning of time-distance factors. Even at a rapid pace a normal person felt that he was on a treadmill."(Dumont 1968, p. 51) The patient was given no option or choice in determining his route, and to make matters worse the sameness of the hallway likely offered little stimulation. Choice in the environment not only creates for an interesting and enlightening experience, but it also creates a safer environment by allowing one to choose one's way through it. This is what Gerda Werkerle calls "movement predic-tors"(Werkerle 1992, p. 17). Safe passage through a landscape depends upon the ability to move in a variety of directions as frequently as possible. This reduces areas of entrapment and increases one's ability to adapt to one's surroundings. Learning Through Doing Our need for 'hands on' experiences with nature is a strong urge yet it is difficult to ful-fill in an urban context. "We must learn that the environment is responsive to us, that 26 some part of the cosmos, however small, yields to our touch, is beckoned by our will or is shaped by our hand."(Dumont 1968, p. 66) Learning comes from doing (Nabhan & St. Antoine 1993) yet in today's urban areas we have very little control or determina-tion over our environment. An interaction with nature increases our ability to learn (Kaplan, Kaplan & Talbot 1983) and an involvement with environmental restoration, of learning through doing, can change how people view the world in new and lasting ways (Shapiro 1995, Fromm 1955). These benefits of dignity, belonging and under-standing help to positively shape our communities. Whenever possible community in-volvement should be encouraged so that people and place become one and the same. A sense of identity based on one's own experiences will give strength, and only through a distinctive 'hands-on' relationship to our surroundings can we create a truly meaningful relationship with our surroundings (Fromm 1955, Dumont 1968). Love To transcend reality, and find reason in life other than what we merely see, smell, hear and touch, we need to love unconditionally, to be "fully born, to develop one's aware-ness, one's reason, one's capacity to love, to such a point that one transcends one's own egocentric involvement, and arrives at a new harmony, at a new oneness with the world."(Fromm 1960, p. 87) This may sound a little fantastic yet it is an ideal that is not completely unattainable. When one ventures on a journey of understanding the goal is to attain harmony by erasing the subject-object relationship. Jung's original idea of the 'collective unconscious' originally included animal and biological archetypes (Metzner 1995). This gives some light to the biologist E.O. Wilson's notion of 27 'Biophilia', defined as an "innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. Innate means hereditary and hence part of ultimate human na-ture."(Wilson 1993, p.31) To affiliate with and understand other living things is to love them. Consequently to love them deeply is to love ourselves. Ecopsychology, a re-cent branch of psychology, states that the healing of ourselves and the healing of the planet go together (Anthony 1995). Recognizing that our environment is in a state of crisis will allow us to focus on the problems at hand. As we correct these problems we are, in affect, enriching our own lives and love of humanity. The more that we physi-cally interact with the landscape the more we will appreciate and love it's inherent qualities of change, adaptability, reliability and resilience. We can then assimilate with these qualities as those that we ourselves possess. Mental Health in Context An extremely important aspect in the learning process is what is known as 'state de-pendent learning'. "The basic principle that links our places and states is simple: a good or bad environment promotes good or bad memories, which inspire a good or bad mood, which inclines us toward good or bad behaviour."(Gallagher 1993, p. 132) In many instances, where we learn plays a fundamental role in how we learn, what we re-tain and how we can then apply this knowledge. This principle of state dependent learning has created something of a "catch-22" situation. "An environment of ugliness, dilapidation, dirtiness, over-built space, and a lack of natural surroundings confirms the negative self-appraisal a person may have developed through other contacts with soci-ety. Self-esteem is the keystone to emotional well-being; a poor self-appraisal, among 28 other factors, determines how one treats his surroundings and how destructive he will be towards himself and others. These factors set up a vicious circle that is difficult to break."(Stainbrook 1973, p.23) The issues that revolve around mental health are ex-tremely complex yet it is clear that our environment plays a crucial role in the healing process. The city has been compared to an ecological unit and as an organism 'capable of health or suffering' (Dumont 1968). The city is often dismissed as being filthy and unsalvageable, yet it is imperative to recognize that our health and behaviour and the physical construct of our cities are integrally linked. If we learn in a sick environment we will learn at a much lesser rate. If we learn in a healthy environment, then return to the sick environment that we call home we may bring some of that positive learning away with us but the dominating physical factor in determining our behaviour is still our immediate surroundings. Clearly the best condi-tion would be to live, work and play in the same, or similar, healthy surroundings year round. Yet this is something of a Utopia available to very few people in an urban con-text. What then is the best solution given the circumstances of urban density and growth? Lower social classes have the strongest need for access to nature. This factor alone, after marital role, determined their resident satisfaction (R. Kaplan 1990). Yet their opportunities for this kind of interaction are slim. Every opportunity should be taken to create natural spaces in whatever context possible. If one does not have the choice to live in a neighbourhood, that has convenient access to natural amenities, then it is the responsibility of the planning and design professions to ensure that each and every neighbourhood is given this opportunity. Christopher Alexander even feels that a dis-29 tance of more than three minutes to an open space is "overwhelming". (Alexander 1977, p.305) The ability to witness nature should not be considered an added bonus to develop-ment. It should be considered an intrinsic need to our health and well-being. A greater quality of life can be attained if natural processes are apparent not only in ar-eas of recreation but also in the places that we live and work (Lewis 1996). The enjoy-ment, pleasure and acquired knowledge attained through an interaction with natural processes will be more readily used and cherished with a frequent interaction with similar or same environments. Conclusion Out of my brief research into the conditions of urban life I found an endless array of lit-erature that delves into the matter much, much further. The following is a list compiled from the literature that I did have the pleasure to research. It is a summary of factors and needs regarding the ills and pleasures of urban life. Later in this report I will at-tempt to merge them in a matrix with some of the key elements of visual aesthetics and stormwater management Ills and Pleasures of Urban Life • A need for nature is ingrained in all of us (Alexander 1977, R. Kaplan 1990, Lewis 1996, Stainbrook 1973) • Views of natural areas determine community satisfaction (R. Kaplan 1990) • Areas of high density can enhance our urban experience for better or for worse 30 (Freedman 1975) • Density in itself has no ill effects on the human psyche (Freedman 1975) • Several small crowded spaces are more comfortable than a larger space of equal or lesser density (Freedman 1975) • Densely populated areas give a better sense of security (Freedman 1975) • A variety of choices should always be presented (Freedman 1975) • Varying amounts of 'elbow room' are needed to accommodate a variety of prox-imity preferences (Freedman 1975) • A stable focal element creates community (Dumont 1968, Freedman 1975) • A sense of changelessness causes neurosis (Gallagher 1993, Burgess & McKen-zie1967) • A variety of options reduces stress (Gallagher 1993, Burgess & McKenzie 1967) • An interaction with the landscape increases our ability to learn (Nabhan & St. An-toine 1993, Tennessen & Cimprich 1995, Kaplan, Kaplan & Talbot 1983) • Experience with the landscape increases one's sense of identity (Shapiro 1995, Lewis 1996) • Changes in the environment should occur at the corresponding pace of the com-munity (Lynch 1972, Dumont 1968) • Some negative reactions to change are always to be expected (Dumont 1968) • Changes need to be understood (Dumont 1968) • A healthy lifestyle needs some habits (Gallagher 1993, Burgess & McKenzie 1967) • Environments with choice are safer (Dumont 1968, Werkerle 1992) 31 Natural P roces se s & the Hydro log ica l Cyc le "Perceptually we miss the obvious evidence of natural surroundings, the woods, streams, marshes and fields. We fail, however, to see nature as an integrated connecting system that operates in one way or another regardless of locality, whether this be in the country be-yond, or within the city itself." (Hough 1995, p!15) Natural processes are incredibly complex and straightforward at the same time. They are straightforward in the sense that in our pursuit of understanding them and their various components we have been able to classify these components into basic units and categories. Yet the complexity of the system as a whole lies in the fact that by al-tering any part of one unit another seemingly disconnected unit can also be altered, sometimes to catastrophic and irreversible effects. Large-scale examples are how the Chernobyl nuclear disaster affected the reindeer population of Scandinavia through the dispersal of radioactive waste by strong winds, or how poorly regulated heavy in-dustrial activity in one country can render lakes in another country lifeless through the effects of acid rain. On a more local scale a small chemical spill in an urban water-shed can erase years of effort and hard work in re-establishing life to a delicate stream. It doesn't take much to create an impact and imbalance to an ecosystem. Of-ten it could be avoided by some simple education, as human error, negligence or igno-rance are often the cause of such impacts. Natural processes create never-ending systems. Long before humans inhabited the earth, and perhaps, long after we're gone, the natural systems that govern our planet have existed and will continue to exist. Our human evolution on this planet has been 32 compared to three and one-half seconds of a thirty minute film; a mere blip in the exis-tence of this planet. One key unifying element of all natural processes is the hydrological cycle. Even geo-logical processes involve water. Almost 95% of the earth's water is chemically bound into rocks and does not cycle (Clapham 1983, p.67). One might argue which is more important; solar radiation or the hydrological cycle. Life can exist without solar radia-tion. In the depths of our oceans sulfur based lifeforms proliferate around thermal vents. Yet the hydrological system as it exists is constantly moved and shifted by the effects of the sun. I think that the correct answer is neither one nor the other, but both. "Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water. Yet for dissolv-ing the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it." (Lao Tzu, chapter 78) Water is the source of all life. It was not until the eighteenth century that Halley hy-pothesized the atmospheric hydrological cycle. A more recent discovery was that of finding ice on the moon. This opens up new possibilities for exploration and travel. We have managed to explore some of the far reaches of our solar system yet we have yet to explore the extreme depths of our oceans. Even in today's age of technological wizardry we are still bound by our essential need for H20. Our mismanagement has created many a catastrophe worldwide. In the Aral Sea Basin the contamination of drinking water through human ineptitude has created a rate of esophageal cancer fif-teen times the Soviet average, and in the same area a once proliferate fishing industry that supported 60,000 jobs has now altogether disappeared (Postel 1992). 33 Apart from the vast quantity of water bound in rocks about ninety-seven percent is in the oceans, two percent is in the polar ice-caps and glaciers and the rest is fresh wa-ter, which is comprised of water vapour, ground water, lakes and streams. We may call it 'fresh water' but this label merely implies that it is not salt-water. Much of the 'fresh' water that we rely upon for our basic subsistence is polluted by our own hand. The amount of atmospheric water, if it were in liquid form, could cover the entire sur-face of the earth to a depth of 2.5 centimeters. The average turnover for this same water is about 11.5 days. This means that any drop of rain that falls from the atmos-phere travels through its earth-bound process for 11.5 days until it again evaporates into the atmosphere. The global distribution of precipitation is very uneven. Some ar-eas of the planet receive up to 2.5 m of water each year while other, arid, areas may receive no precipitation for up to 14 years. Living organisms comprise of roughly seventy-one percent water and approximately seventy-one percent of the globe is covered by water. Water is the key to life itself. If one were to abstain from fluids for only a few days one could risk dying. Social Needs of Water in the Landscape "Water is a source of life, power, comfort, and delight, a universal symbol of purification and renewal. Like a primordial magnet, water pulls at a primitive and deeply rooted part of human nature." (A.W. Spirn 1988, p. 119) Various myths and religions state the beginning of creation emanating from nothing-34 ness. Then from this nothingness comes the great ocean. From this ocean comes life. Our body consists of ninety-seven percent water. The hydrogen which makes up most of our body is the same hydrogen that was created twenty billion years ago (Samuels & Bennett 1983). We are a part of an ongoing cycle although our popular western view of the world places a distinct separation of humans from nature. Cities and towns de-pended upon water for growth, commerce and recreation. Yet by polluting these wa-ters many cities have turned their backs on the waters that once gave them life and identity. Our evolutionary conditioning has taught us to revere water. We not only need it for survival but so does every other form of life on the planet. While we were hunter-gatherers we learnt the great value of water bodies as areas of accessible game. Our survival has always depended on our access to clean, abundant water. Our need for water is greater than ever. With our global population rapidly expanding water has become a very scarce and valuable commodity. In the Middle East, for ex-ample, wars have been threatened over the need for this scarce resource (Postel 1992). Currently the Canadian government is introducing measures to prevent the ex-port of drinking water. Our government sees a need for protecting this natural re-source, while we do not yet meter our water which leads to the proliferate and wasteful use of it. On the one hand our government holds tight to this abundant resource, yet on the other hand they allow the pollution of our waterways to continue with penalties and fines that do not fit the crime. These actions are a massive contradiction. 35 The Meaning of Water "When I'm by the river, which itself has been so stripped - of its wet-lands, of its shoreline, of its purity through pollution and abuse - I shed my own skin, a general impatience with things slow moving, to listen to the movement of the river and to its waves against the rocks. The rippling of the waves soothes me, as though its sound fuses with my blood to calm me." (Couturier 1998, pg.142) All of humanity evolves from the watery womb. Thales of Miletus held that the Earth floats on Water and that all originates from it. Indeed the scientific version of the crea-tion holds the same truths as Thales: that all life did originate from the oceans. Most of our major religions and mythologies all hold the belief that life originated from the primeval seas. The Babylonian creation story also tells of a creation from a 'watery chaos' and in Sumerian 'a' not only means water but it also means "sperm, concep-tion, generation"(Eliade 1958, p.188). We are born from out of the water and long to return to its comforting enclosure. The function of the baptism is to die and then be reborn through the cleansing powers of water. "In water everything is dissolved...Water possesses this power of purifying, of regenerating, of giving new birth; for what is immersed in it dies, and, rising again from the water, is like a child without any sin or any past, able to receive a new revela-tion and begin a new and real life" (Eliade 1958, p. 189). Water, and our reverence for it, has always had a great importance in our daily lives and rituals. With the current ecological and spiritual crisis occurring we need to intro-duce water into our lives. Even in the challenging environment of the city, perhaps es-36 pecially in this environment, we need to reconnect with this neglected spiritual and physical resource. The Aesthetics of Water As one would expect our vital need for water has created a high aesthetic value for water in our landscape. Water has many qualities that vary according to the weather, geology, the seasons and the tides. The same body of water that one day can be a comforting mirror can overnight turn into a dangerous and life-threatening force. Wa-ter can portray many characteristics. The same body of water has the ability to evoke a variety of emotional responses within us and indeed it may never appear the same way twice. Waters forever produce a sense of mystery and excitement. They have been the starting point for many adventures and journeys. To simply gaze at any w a r ter feature elicits a sense of continuity and timelessness. Scenes having natural content are preferred far more than any other urban setting. In a study by Kaplan, Kaplan and Wendt participants were shown urban scenes and were then asked to rate their preferences. Of all the preferred urban settings the most preferred one was favoured because of the presence of a few small trees (Kaplan, Kaplan & Wendt 1972). In Kevin Lynch's book Image of the City he notes that people during their commute to work will often go out of their way to witness some natural ele-ments. (Lynch 1960) These findings are not at all surprising. Visual stimulation from nature can increase one's attention span (Tennessen & Cimprich 1995), and relieve stress (Lewis 1996, 37 Hill &Vigo 1983). An interaction with nature can increase our ability to learn (Kaplan, Kaplan & Talbot 1983), boost one's fitness drive and self-confidence (Lewis 1996), promote fine muscle coordination (McAndrew 1993), and develop a stronger sense of identity (Shapiro 1995, Lewis 1996). Even the mere visual and audio recordings of na-ture are able to relieve stress and fatigue (Lewis 1996). However we should not have to go out of our way to experience such satisfaction. These interactions with the natu-ral landscape should be opportunities available to us on a frequent basis. Of all of the ratings of natural settings that include water as a separate visual feature the scenes with water were highly favoured (Ulrich 1983, Penning-Roswell 1979, Chokor & Mene 1992, Civco 1979). These are some of the findings of visual prefer-ences for water features in the landscape: • "A rocky stream lined with coniferous trees" received the top rating in various stud-ies (Chokor & Mene 1992, Civco 1979) • The edges of water features are the most 'evocative' zones (Litton & Tetlow 1974) • Transitional variation of the water's edge is a positive quality (Litton & Tetlow 1974) • Islands and sharp promontories are edge elements that create 'unusual visual in-terest'. "These may produce a satisfactory naturalistic addition to the visual re-source if islands can be restricted in use."(Litton & Tetlow 1974) • If water occupies a large proportion of any scene it detracts from the overall visual quality. The edge of water needs the 'dark vertical massing' of trees. (Brush & Shafer1975) • A lake scene with a partial view of the shoreline is a preferred aesthetic.(Kaplan, Kaplan & Wendt 1972) 38 • Running and turbulent water receives a high preference rating (Litton & Tetlow 1974, Civco 1979). This doesn't necessarily detract from the preference for other qualities of water. These findings can only make the design process easier. They may not be able to change the minds of every narrow minded bureaucrat and planner but the findings can offer an argument to defend the need to reveal water. In a conversation with a parks board planner several months ago it was noted to me that to reveal water in an open and deliberate manner is only to invite disaster. Visions of drowning children were al-luded to, yet only a few hundred yards away to either side of the parks headquarters is an ocean and a large lagoon. I have lived in the same neighbourhood as the park headquarters for several years and to my knowledge their has never been any mishap in regards to open water. The Healing Powers of Water "More than any other single element beside trees and gardens, water has the greatest potential to forge an emotional link between man and nature in the city." (Spirn 1984, p.142) Waters have long been considered to have powers of healing and rejuvenation. The wishing well can bring us good fortune, the fountain of youth can bring us eternal youth. Lisa Couturier, in her story Reversing the Tides, tells how she finds solace and comfort from the frenzy of urban life in Manhattan by viewing rivers as polluted as those around New York City. Even in its worst state looking like a "mangy pound dog" the rivers still manage to offer some calm (Couturier 1998). 39 Water has long been the symbol of the collective unconscious. It symbolizes the deep recesses of our minds that one must go before one can then ascend to health (Jung 1959). Carl Jung describes the unconscious as the "lake in the valley" and the "dark mirror" that lies at the bottom of the water. The collective unconscious is the key to well-being. It is the universal thread that binds us all. According to Jung a healthy personality occurs when no single feature of our personalities dominates the others. Much of our personality relies upon an interaction with nature. If our surroundings deny us this interaction then we are automatically susceptible to a certain degree of mental illness. Those who are able to merge and understand the conscious and the unconscious and are relate them to our surroundings are psychologically fit and healthy. An interaction with nature can influence our spiritual development (Kellert 1993, Lewis 1996). Upon returning from wilderness excursions people will return feeling refreshed and invigorated (Lewis 1996). It seems that we long to return to a primordial land-scape, or at least a landscape that represents one. Humans long to interact with land-scapes which we do not predominate (Lewis 1996). Even if we cannot experience such a landscape ourselves we can manage to live vicariously through the observation of wildlife (Appleton 1996). When people venture into natural settings the most preferred landscape are those that feature running water lined with trees (Chokor & Mene 1992, Civco 1979). When peo-ple are shown a series of images the most preferred scenic view is a "lake scene with partial view of shore" (Kaplan, Kaplan & Wendt 1972). When people wish to connect 40 with their long lost roots they seek out water more than any other landscape feature. Water holds a certain quality that soothes our souls and simply the view of it can re-store a sense of well-being (Lewis 1996, Hill & Vigo1993). Whether the water is a se-cretive glacial lake or a polluted urban shoreline it still holds a lot of meaning and re-storative value for us. Burton Litton and Robert Tetlow, professors at the university of California, recommend that "all water landscapes, no matter how degraded by human impacts, should be considered to have an inherent aesthetic value"(Litton & Tetlow 1974, p.261). Water has an aesthetic value not simply because we 'like' its texture, but more so because it holds inherent meanings of how we instinctively function within our landscapes. When we see water we instinctively have a sense of security and survival, even if it is deemed unsafe to drink. "The 'human naturalness' hypothesis presumes that human possess an innate desire to return to the natural environment of their evolutionary past."(Lyle 1994, pg.11) The interaction of water in our evolutionary past meant sur-vival or death. To some degree it still does, yet, in Canada, we seem to have taken this resource for granted. We frivolously use this resource while other countries are embattled over the right to use it. Recovery Rates Roger Ulrich, a researcher at the University of Texas A&M, has been conducting health benefit studies of interactions with nature for over fifteen years. In a study pub-41 lished in 1983 Ulrich found that patients recovering from gall bladder surgery that were given an outside view of trees recovered faster than those that did not. The patients that received the views were released earlier form the hospital and required less medi-cation during their recovery.(Ulrich 1983) In more studies conducted by Ulrich and his co-researchers, it was found that in recov-ery from events of stress the recovery time was far less when viewing nature than viewing pedestrian or traffic movement.(USFS 1995, p. 17) To date their have been no such studies that specifically revolve around recovery rates with a view of an aquatic landscape. I would venture a guess that our recovery rates would be even quicker with views of water given our natural preference for this type of landscapes. The op-portunity for using water in the urban landscape to improve our physical health should be utilized. If we reversed our development trends, and allowed water to function naturally, I am convinced that not only would the environment would benefit but so would our health. From water everything grows and prospers. Economic Benefits of Water Historically we have paid very little attention to the rebounding impacts that our treat-ment of water has created. Our waste has been flushed directly into the same bodies of water that we, in turn, use as a source of drinking water. Hippocrates warned his countrymen that water pollution posed a serious health problem (Spirn 1984), yet it took "until 1854, when John Snow, a London physician, traced the source of a cholera outbreak to polluted water from a single well, that the link between water and disease 42 was definitively established." (Spirn 1984, p. 134) Today we have a far better understanding of the interconnectivity of natural ecosys-tems. We can no longer dump our sewage and trash out of sight and expect the prob-lem to disappear. We too are part of the same ecosystem that governs every other Figure 8 Filling in the tidal mudflats of False Creek (1916) Source: Burkinshaw 1984,p.33 form of life on this planet. Yet we are the only form of life that has the ability to alter the ecosystem. By polluting this planet we are in turn doing ourselves an ill service. By learning from nature, and welcoming natural processes into our neighbourhoods and communities, we not only benefit from distinct aesthetic and phenomenological values but we can also benefit economically. It is odd to consider that what now holds a high aesthetic and functional value was only a short time ago reviled and considered distasteful. Our society's newfound eco-awareness has altered our view of what is beautiful. Until this century, wetlands were 43 filled to create space for development. In 1916-17 Vancouver accomplished a mas-sive landfill project in what were once mud flats between Main Street and Clark Drive. A railyard was created by filling in what today we would consider an environmentally sensitive area. In 1950 Vancouver Mayoral candidate Jack Price ran his election plat-form on filling in False Creek; what he then labeled, "nothing more than a filthy ditch in the centre of the city."(Burkinshaw 1984, p.45) Vancouver wasn't the only city to con-siderably alter wetlands. Amongst others, the city of Boston conducted massive land-fill projects in its Back Bay areas (Spirn 1984). Developers are slowly realizing that greenbelts, urban streams and wetlands are not only a great ecological asset to any new development but they also have the ability to raise property values and reduce infrastructure costs. The talk of water as an eco-nomic amenity may seem to cheapen its effects, but in reality, economic considera-tions are one aspect of the sustainable stool that will strengthen our decisions to de-sign with water. Real Estate Values A storm water retention area need not be an unsightly, engineered solution to the com-mon problem of reducing peak flows. Areas of detention can increase property values if they are designed appropriately with aesthetic and functional preferences in mind. Units at a condominium complex in Alexandria, Virginia that faced a stormwater lake sold for $7,500 more than those that did not. In Kansas, property that faced a wetland that had been converted for stormwater use sold for as much as fifty percent more than those with no view of the water. On average, lots that were located next to wet 44 detention basins had a twenty-two percent increase to their property values (Ferguson 1998) In a similar vein some studies have been conducted in relation to the values of prop-erty adjacent to greenways. Greenways don't necessarily contain bodies of water, but they do have a high ecological component. In a neighbourhood that lies in close prox-imity to a greenway property values decreased by $10.20 for every foot in distance from the greenway. Within the same study "the aggregate property value of one neighbourhood was approximately $5.4 million greater than it would have been in the absence of a greenway."(Correll, Lillydahl & Singell 1978, p.213) Infrastructure The savings in infrastructure that are associated with stormwater management are quite varied. They range from parking areas, to rooftop treatments, to the overall shape of alternative development patterns. Infrastructure costs can relate to an large planning area, although when it comes time to implement, the scale moves to the indi-vidual lot, building or tree. The costs that may be associated with one fraction of the region are small, yet all of the fractions combined amount to a considerable sum. Tree Canopy In a south Miami residential area an existing 21% tree canopy reduces stormwater flow by 15%. In the same study it was determined that by increasing the canopy by replac-45 ing palm trees with oaks the effects of stormwater would be reduced by an additional 8%. The same conversion of trees increase energy savings by 20%. (American For-ests 1996) Alternative Development Patterns A 1994 study conducted by the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC 1997) came up with some interesting statistics that relate to the style of neighbourhood that is proposed for SEFC. In a new housing development that uses alternative pat-terns these infrastructure cost savings were developed: • the total emplacement costs for storm sewer systems in residential and non-residential infrastructures were lowered by 36.8% and 64.5% respectively (CMHC 1997) • the total replacement costs for storm sewer systems in residential and non-residential infrastructures were lowered by 35.9% and 74.7% respectively (CMHC 1997) • the total operating and maintenance costs for storm sewer systems in resi-dential and non-residential infrastructures were lowered by 35.3% and 74.4% respectively (CMHC 1997) • the total Life-Cycle costs for storm sewer systems in residential and non-residential infrastructures were lowered by 36.5% and 74.9% respectively (CMHC 1997) Willingness To Pay 46 This issue is important is in setting some examples of the price that users and taxpay-ers are willing to pay to support some of the measures associated with the creation, preservation or restoration of natural areas. Willingness to pay (WTP) figures can be associated with users and non-users of a specific landscape feature, area or their as-sociated activities. • A study conducted in 1984 found the optimum number of rivers that should be designated for protection under a willingness to pay plan. Of those that offered a willingness to pay for protection only 20% had use values while the remaining 80% had non-use values (USDI 1991). • A survey was conducted to find a willingness to pay for preserving Mono Lake. The WTP was between $42 and $94 annually per household. The actual cost of preserving the lake by using other sources of water and hydroelectric power was considerably less; only $2.64 per year. The cost of the lake as a natural resource is greater than its cost of use.(Loomis 1987) • A study conducted by Walsh and other co-researchers found that of ten outdoor activities the two that scored highest on the WTP scale were both water activities. Anadromous fishing received an average value of $52 per day while non-motorized boating received an average value of $49 per day. Picnicking, the lowest score, re-ceived a value of $18 per day. (USDI 1991, p.8) • The bureau of land Management conducted a similar WTP assessment and deter-mined a day use value of $20 for water-related sports and $14 for picnicking (USDI 1991, p.8) 47 S e c t i o n 3 B r i n g i n g W a t e r B a c k T h r o u g h t h e C i t y "We came from water; our bodies are largely water; and water plays a fundamental role in our psychology. We need constant access to water, all around us; and we cannot have it without reverence for wa-ter in all its forms. But everywhere in cities water is out of reach." (Alexander 1977, p.323) Until the Europeans first settled North America, Canada was endlessly filled with wet-lands. Part of the demise and disappearance of these wetlands was due to the slaughter of beavers for the fur trade (Outwater 1997). By the sixteenth century only remote northern areas of Europe still contained beaver habitat. As soon as the first settlers arrived in the new continent, the fur trade in beaver pelts skyrocketed. As the frontiersmen moved West so did the disappearance of many fragile ecosystems. Bea-vers have been named "nature's hydrologist" (Outwater 1997) for good reasons. Be-cause of the beaver's practice of damming and diverting water Canada had a collec-tion of wetland ecosystems teeming with life. As the beaver dams began disappear-ing, rivers began to expand, sediment traveled far downstream and flooding became much more common. Prior to European settlement one-tenth of the land area of the United States was covered by wetlands created by beavers. Today a beaver popula-tion once estimated to be approximately two hundred million has been reduced to ten million. (Outwater 1997) 48 The Vancouver region was no exception to the beavers handiwork. Until the late 1800's beavers were spotted around the upper slopes on the south shore of False Creek (McDonald 1992). One can easily imagine the hydrological system that once existed in this region. A series of Dams would capture the precipitation and prevent the lower reaches from flooding and siltation. These ecotones, areas of merging aquatic and terrestrial systems, would support a diversity of species supporting the food chain; from phytoplankton to fungi to fish to terrestrial vertebrates. Today all of the creeks that once fed into False Creek are converted into sewers. These sewers still feed False Creek in much the same way that the creeks of yester-year did. However the quality of the water is radically altered by the effects of urban development. All over North America the wetlands that once acted as a living filter and sponge for cleansing and containing water are all but gone. Instead of using the processes found within these wetlands to maintain a healthy hydrological system, many municipalities now draw water from bodies of water that often contain the sew-age effluent and pollution of human activity. Wetlands and aquatic habitats are considered the most environmentally threatened part of our ecosystem (Postel 1992, Turner 1992). Water was once integrally linked to the lifeline of our ecosystems. With the rainfall swiftly diverted into drains, culverts and sewer pipes the health of our urban ecosystem has disappeared; our urban ecosys-tems, with their hydrological processes greatly diminished, are virtually sterile. As a re-sult of our efficient redirection of precipitation the outfall areas, such as False Creek, receive an abundance of urban-generated pollutants and toxins. 49 Present urban infrastructure rids us of our rainwater as swiftly as possible. We also use drinking water as a disposable commodity. In Vancouver the use of treated water is not metered allowing a frivolous use of water without any extra charge. This is not much of a problem in the winter months, when water is in abundance, but in the dry summer months even Vancouver can experience a shortage of water in its main reser-voirs. Many of the uses that do not require potable water will use it simply by default. Water that is collected, treated then piped to a customer is frequently used for pur-poses below its means. Due to sub standard water systems some cities such as Cairo, Jakarta, Lagos, Lima and Mexico City lose more than half of their treated urban water supply before it reaches the customer. (Postel 1992) In Vancouver our system is generally efficient but our uses of it are not. Our habits have generated a legacy of wasteful use of drinking water. Our visual pref-erence for golf-green lawns, our use of large tank toilets, non-metered pricing systems and inadequate education, to name a few, are some of the causes that lead to our frivolous use of water in the urban landscape. Our habits have been formed and it will not be an easy task to undo them. Our habits can be altered through large steps, yet equally effective is a series of small incremental steps. Small steps have the advan-tage of gaining and maintaining momentum. In rectifying our pattern of water manage-ment and design, the mechanisms of an individual home are equally as important as municipal regulations. The hydrological system has the opportunity to bind a community (Ferguson 1998). The flow of water is inevitable. One should grasp the inevitability of the hydrological cy-cle and use it to benefit our society. Water should become the core of any community 50 as it is clear that water is also the core of life itself. The Natural Hydrological Cycle In a natural setting, whether it be an old growth or a second generation forest, the pro-cess of water through the landscape is quite straightforward. It is affected by either solar radiation or gravitational forces. Each surface and every step in the process is inter-related through its contact with water. Water functions best and is cleansed more efficiently in a natural landscape yet in the United States only three percent of its land mass is said to exist in its original unaltered state (Outwater 1997). The Canopy As precipitation descends the canopy is first contacted. The canopy could be a high canopy of western red cedars or the low canopy of vine maples. Aside from its use for shading the forest floor and riparian corridors the canopy also prevents rainfall from causing splash erosion. The water collected in by the canopy can also continue its journey to the ground via the branches and the trunks of the trees. Tree canopy in an urban context can reduce stormwater by up to 15%. (American Forests 1996) Soil Surface In a natural environment the soil surface is rarely exposed. In a forested environment the ground is covered with undergrowth vegetation and leaf litter. Wind blown branches and leaves fall to the ground and begin their process of decay into humus. This decay will eventually turn into nutrients that will eventually enter the food chain. A 51 proliferate amount of leaf litter will aid in the absorption of water into the subsurface and will help prevent any soil and sediment erosion from occurring. Leaf litter and hu-mus will decrease the ponding time of water and will ensure an adequate aeration of the soil. In an open meadow grasses will increase the soil's porosity and holding capacity. A dense root system will not only help prevent soil erosion but it will also adsorb any con-taminants or toxins from the water (depending on the species). The physical makeup of specific soils will have a considerable affect on the hydrologi-cal cycle. It can vary the infiltration rate and the holding capacity. For example: the infiltration rate for sand is far greater than clay but the water holding capacity for clay is greater. Evapotranspiration Evapotranspiration is the combination of two terms. 'Evaporation' is the water that en-ters into the atmosphere through any surface other than a plant. 'Transpiration' is the water that enters the atmosphere through the plant itself. Evapotranspiration is the combination of the two quantities. Essentially a tree is a natural humidifier. About 30% of the water that contacts the canopy evaporates directly back into the atmos-phere (Hough 1995). Trees take water from the ground, absorbs its nutrients, then transpires this water into the atmosphere. In effect the transpired water will in turn re-duce the overall air temperature. Temperature differences can range up to 5°C creat-ing savings in cooling costs of up to 30% (McPherson & Rowntree 1993). 52 Groundwater Recharge Of the total precipitation to fall in a natural watershed very little of it becomes surface run-off. Surface run-off essentially follows the contour of the land and will eventually collect to form rivulets which will eventually combine with, or form, streams. Surface run-off will occur when the ground has reached a saturation level or when the ground surface is highly compacted or is composed of rock. Approximately 50% of the total precipitation recharges the groundwater supply. It is an important source of water which accounts for more than sixty-six times the quantity of water found in freshwater lakes and streams.(Clapham 1983) Once water enters the ground it no longer is sub-ject to solar influences. It is guided by the influences of gravity. According to the sur-rounding sub-surface geology water can form into streams, marshes, rivers, lakes, aq-uifers or eventually into oceans. Wetlands Wetlands have long been considered nature's best method for cleaning and managing water. Since the arrival of Europeans in North America, thirty to fifty percent of the wet-lands in the lower 48 states have been converted to other uses from agriculture to ur-ban development. Between the 1950's to the 1970's about 550,000 acres was lost an-nually to human impacts landscape (Turner 1992, p.14). In the Spanish Water Act, im-plemented in 1879 and in use until 1985, the US government considered lagoons and shallow wetlands as "unhealthy" portions of our landscape (Turner 1992). In the last decade the recognition of wetlands and their ecological values has in-creased. This public awareness is pressuring the government to protect these areas, 53 yet we still have a considerable distance to go before wetlands are recognized by all; not as unsightly areas to avoid or alter but as areas of the landscape that are at the core of our ecosystem's health. Wetlands have the ability to store storm and flood waters, and as a biological filter wet-lands can improve water quality for the entire ecosystem. They are the natural inter-stice between groundwater and open water. Because of their distinct quality of two merging ecosystems (terrestrial and aquatic) the wetland, as an ecotone, has the abil-ity to sustain a strong diversity of flora and fauna. Today, however, one is hard pressed to find an example of a wetland in any urban area. For the general public to appreciate the magnitude of our dependence of wet-lands in sustaining a healthy ecosystem we need to expose the public to wetlands in whatever scale possible. Even if the wetland is a small temporary retention facility it holds far more aesthetic and educational value than a pipe or a culvert. Urban Impacts on the Hydrological Cycle The developed urban environment has drastically altered the nature of the hydrological cycle. The proportions in which water moves throughout the urban landscape are dif-ferent to those in the natural environment. Because of this imbalance, and the influ-ences that we place upon water as it travels through our developments, the negative impacts of the urban hydrological cycle are far reaching. As water moves through the natural landscape it deposits nutrients and is itself cleansed by its contact with other 54 elements of the landscape. Because of its properties as a reagent, and its ability to transport particles, water can swiftly move contaminants and particles throughout and beyond the urban context. Peak Flows and Impervious Surfaces Water has the ability to cause much devastation, grief and financial loss. In the U.S. alone flooding causes more than $3.1 billion of damages annually (Hopkins 1997) and Time, hours Contrasting storm flows from vegetated soil and impervious cover. Figure 9 Peak flows, Source: Ferguson 1998, p.6 it would seem that human interventions of the natural hydrological system has much to do with this. In a dense urban environment the amount of impervious surface created by a standard development pattern is staggering. One third of our landscape is de-voted to automobile use (Southworth & Ben-Joseph 1997) and another third is devoted to the roofs over our heads (Beckman et al. 1997). This leaves just one third left to 55 open space; only some of which is considered an impervious surface. We are left with very little surface that can accommodate infiltration and groundwater recharge. The amount of impervious surfaces in our urban areas is a source of impact that influ-ences the entire hydrological cycle. The same quantity of water that falls upon the ground today is essentially the same as one hundred or even thousands of years ago, although the quality of water has changed, especially since the industrial revolution and the creation of acid rain. The one drastic change in our landscape is not the final destination of precipitation, but how it travels from its point of impact to the larger bod-ies of water which it feeds. In an urban landscape the slow process of a natural hydrological system is replaced by the speedy conveyance of precipitation from urban hardtop to an eventual natural outfall. In most constructed stormwater management systems, flows occurring imme-diately after a storm are escalated to a point that any downstream natural system can-not sustain their impact. The result is widespread flooding, erosion and the discharge of pollutants and contaminants that would be otherwise filtered out in a slow natural process. Our current wastewater infrastructure is designed to protect human health and property yet it frequently causes flooding and overflows that do just the opposite Non-Point Source Pollution Within our urban environments the sources of pollution that have the greatest impact 56 are not those that can be easily sourced. Approximately 70% of water pollution in the USA originates not from large factories or industrial activities but from what is termed 'non-point' sources (Ferguson 1994). Non-point sources come from a diverse assort-ment of human activities. On the regional scale these activites can range from agricul-ture to new development. Within the urban context these pollutants can come from some expected sources such as lawn maintenance and automobiles but they can also originate from roofs and pet wastes. Roads and Automobiles "Cumulative figures show that, worldwide, at least one third of all developed urban land is devoted to roads, parking lots, and other motor vehicle infrastructure. In the ur-ban United States, the automobile consumes close to half the land area of cities; in Los Angeles the figure approaches two thirds." (Southworth & Ben-Joseph 1997, p.4) Since the 1940's the automobile has been one of the main factors behind planning and design issues. The amount of urban space that has been devoted to roadways, parking lots and driveways is enough to cause flash flooding in the nearby tributaries and bodies of water. Engineering departments have traditionally employed every means available to remove water from these surfaces as quickly as possible. Road-ways and parking lots need not be the antithesis of ecologically healthy stormwater practices, yet their vastness necessitates that they be greatly considered in future de-signs. Given the percentage of urban land that is devoted to the automobile it might be fair to say that roads and parking areas should be a prime concern in the current light of wastewater best management practices. 57 Along with the sheer quantity of automobiles and their resulting air pollution come a host of other issues that relate to water pollution. Automobiles are the source of many types of non-point source pollution that make their way into our urban hydrology. These consist of oil from crank cases, anti-freeze, tire rubber, brake dust, road de-icers and petrol. The Lawn Industry The universally accepted lawn to which most residences and municipal parks depart-ments adhere and revere has some benefits and potential for stormwater manage-ment. However most turf spaces are practically sterile of any biological diversity. The treatment of the modern lawn does not allow for natural succession of any kind. To keep them in their continuous state of manicure a considerable amount of herbicides, fungicides and weed killers are needed. An entire industry has grown that specifically caters to this aesthetic. Yet any time that a lawn is oversprayed with chemicals, or even 'natural' fertilizers, if the excess reaches a waterway the balance of our urban hy-drology is upset even more. This oversaturation of nutrients in our waterways causes what is known as a high biological oxygen demand (BOD). The decomposition of these nutrients requires such a high proportion of oxygen that any biological life in our waterways literally suffocates. In maintaining lawns another demand is placed upon our hydrological system. In the summertime when lawns are at an aesthetic low point is precisely when the garden sprinklers will be pulled from the shed. Irrigation of this type of landscape jeopardizes an already fragile peak summer water supply. As mentioned before the water that is 58 commonly used for irrigation comes treated and suitable for drinking, and in the case of Vancouver this water comes unmetered. Urban areas that are planted with turf have the opportunity of retaining high stormwater flows. Yet for the most part they are graded to remove water into underground drainage systems. The aesthetic of the lawn should be re-placed with a functional and aesthetic appreciation for native drought tolerant Figure 10 Turf Roof in Halifax, NS. Photograph by P. Welsh plants that require little watering through the drier months. Roofs The city of Portland downtown area is quite similar to Vancouver's in terms of built form and area. A study conducted by the Portland State University planning depart-ment determined the total area of roof space within this downtown core. The roof space amounted to nearly 30% of the total area (Beckman et al). Roof space is a long neglected urban area. The view from many urban high rises will consist of a seemingly endless suc-Figure 11 Blank roof in Vancouver, B.C. Photograph by P. Welsh cession of gravel, tar, asphalt and shingles. It might not seem evident to many but the 59 rapid drainage of rooftops is a large contributor to the problem of combined sewer overflows (CSO's). Within the same study mentioned above the implementation of green roofs has the potential of reducing the CSO overflow by 50 million gallons annu-ally. Aside from the effects of CSO's roofs have several other impacts of non-point source pollution. Roofs and any gutters and downspouts that are constructed of galvanized metal can contaminate stormwater with zinc. Roofs that are constructed with wood shingles can contaminate stormwater with various nutrients released through their de-cay. Roofs that are constructed of asphalt shingles are relatively harmless, releasing only a minimal amount of hydrocarbons. The roof that releases no contaminants into stormwater are those constructed with clay tiles. The water that runs off these roofs is no more contaminated than when it fell. The only type of roof that can absorb pollut-ants are green roofs. This roof type contains a thin layer of growing medium that is planted with drought tolerant vegetation. Green roofs have been known to remove 16% of zinc and over 95% of cadmium, copper and lead from rainwater (Beckman et al. 1997). Construction Construction can introduce a wide variety of contaminants into our urban hydrology. The worst potential contaminant is suspended solids. The primary source of sus-pended solids in urban runoff comes from construction activities (BC Environment 1992). Any time that the earth is left bare wind and water can disperse dried soil. As this soil enters the hydrological system it can reduce the oxygen content in the water 60 and as it settles at the bottom it can cement it from maintaining any biological activity. Other sources of pollution in construction activity include general solid wastes, chemi-cals such as paints, solvents and cleaners, petroleum products in the form of fuel and lubricants, and nutrients used in the enhancement and rapid growth of newly planted vegetation. Households The manner by which we live, and the daily habits that we have formed, play a crucial role in the pollution of our waterways. The simple quantity of water which we use is a crucial factor in determining the quantity of pollutants that leave our premises. A pro-gram implemented in Mexico City replaced approximately 350,000 conventional six-teen litre toilets with six litre models. This simple measure saves 28,000,000 cubic metres of water annually, which is enough water to supply 250,000 residents of their household needs (Postel 1992). In Australia the use of dual-flushing toilets has cre-ated more savings. In the GVRD the average person produces from 220-450 litres of wastewater a day, which is enough to fill a bathtub twice (GVRD 1999). Some com-mon sources of pollutants around the house can include: • Washing Hard Surfaces - Using water to remove dirt and debris from areas such as the driveway and patios adds to the sediment buildup in our waterways. • Detergents and Cleansers - Non-toxic, biodegradable, detergents should be used. Other cleansers will not break down in our waterways. • Fertilizers - Non-toxic fertilizers should be used in our gardens and planted areas. Yet even the abundant use of friendlier fertilizers will create eutrophication 61 in our waterways. • Parking Areas - Any parking area can be a source of oils and lubricants leaking from vehicles. Industrial and Commercial Most industries produce waste along with their products. Although there are some fairly stringent regulations that govern industrial and commercial activities, mishaps and intentional deviations from these regulations occasionally occur. It can take just one mistake to cause severe environmental impacts. When contaminants are re-leased into the drainage system it is extremely difficult to locate their source. The type of contaminant released depends entirely upon the activity of the industry. Virtually any industry or commercial activity has the potential to cause a negative impact in our waterways. Due to the nature of the chemicals often used in these activities only a small spill need occur to alter the health of the hydrological system. Even such nonde-script enterprises such as restaurants or photo processors can cause such a contami-nation. Soil Erosion Soil erosion can occur anywhere, although in an urban area it predominantly exists on construction sites. Any exposed soil surface will lose some of its composition during a storm event. The quantity lost will depend on the precipitation type (i.e. hail or rainfall) and the severity of the storm. In natural conditions soil is rarely left exposed. It is usu-62 ally covered by a canopy, leaf litter and some form of foliage. If soil is left unplanted it is best to cover it with a tarpaulin (in the case of construction activities) or with bark mulch (in the case of gardens and public spaces). P e t s A component of non-point source pollution that tends to elicit a surprise is that of pet wastes. As well as being unsightly, pet wastes can also contaminate our waterways. The greatest impact from pet wastes comes after a long drought. In a single storm event the bacteria from a considerable amount of pet wastes can be collected and dis-tributed into the same water via the stormwater system. This has serious potential im-pacts to human and ecosystem health. Combined Sewers The majority of sewer systems throughout North America are combined sewer (CS) systems. This system is a legacy of our disposal of wastes into the nearest body of water; sometimes at the expense of another community's downstream water supply. The inception of most wastewater systems took blackwater (human wastes), greywater (household wastewater) and stormwater and disposed of them into the nearest and most convenient body of water. The disease and pestilence which this management system has caused during the last thousand years is well documented. Yet it wasn't until the last few decades that city engineers have begun to correct the problem. To-day untreated sewage is disposed into the Juan de Fuca Straight by the city of Victo-63 Figure 12 Illustration by P. Welsh ria, B.C., and not far away in Abbotsford, B.C., faulty septic systems are part of the cause of Blue Baby Syndrome (methaemoglobinaemia) a condition brought on by ni-trate contamination of the municipality's drinking Water supply. In the CS system anything that is flushed or poured down our sinks and toilets has the potential of entering the same bodies of water in which we work and recreate. A large part of the problem is the mechanics of the system itself, another part of the problem is the lack of public education, and yet a third and equally important component is visual awareness. In current sewer systems our wastewaters are carried out of sight as quickly as possible. Water clearly originates from the clouds yet the general public is 6 4 given very little opportunity in understanding the journey of water as it makes its way to our oceans and lakes. In a CS system household wastewater is usually pumped to a sewage treatment plant (STP), yet during storm events these wastes are diluted with stormwater and sent into a nearby water body. Alongside the CS system an independent stormwater system usually exists. This network of stormwater drainage will empty via gravity into a local water body. Combined Sewer Overflows 65 Any city that uses a combined sewer system will, at times, experience what is termed a combined sewer overflow (CSO). A CSO occurs during or shortly after a heavy storm event. During dry weather and light rainfalls a CS system transports blackwater, greywater and some stormwater to the STP. The difficulties with a CS system occur during heavier storm events. The STP can only accommodate a certain quantity of wastewater. During a peak storm event the system becomes inundated and an alter-native outfall is needed. To alleviate the load on the system the mixture of human and household wastes are transported along with stormwater and deposited into nearby bodies of water. These same bodies of water may be used by the local community as a source of drinking water, a place of recreation or as a source of food. local System Figure 14 Illustration by P. Welsh 66 The CSO can be alleviated through several practices. The first is by reducing the out-flow of wastewater from residential developments. This can be done through simple water conservation measures such as economy shower heads, using native, drought tolerant plants in gardens or metering. The second is by reducing the peak flow and allowing stormwater to recharge the groundwater whenever and wherever possible. The third is by separating the collection and movement of stormwater, blackwater and greywater. Drainage to pond — ' Figure 15 Illustration by P. Welsh 67 Stormwater Separation Most cities that have a CS system have by now undertaken a sewer separation pro-gram. The goal of these programs is to create a dual and sometimes parallel set of pipes. One pipe will carry sewage to the STP and the other pipe will carry stormwater to the local outfall area. Such separation programs are a lengthy process since it is not cost effective to separate the pipes on a continuous basis. The combined sewer pipe is separated as repairs are needed to the system or in the event of new develop-ment. A sewer separation plan exists in Vancouver. Currently it is in its thirtieth year of a one hundred year program. Essentially one percent of the combined sewers are unearthed and separated annually. Brownfields Brownfields are fast becoming an issue in urban planning in North America. As the population of our cities increase, and the need to protect outlying agricultural lands and parks strengthens, we are looking more and more towards developing the rem-nant spaces of our urban fabric. Historically, most North American cities accommo-dated heavy industries along their downtown shorelines. The vast majority of these lands now lie vacant and dormant waiting for the appropriate time to develop. With very few exceptions these areas are grossly contaminated with pollutants that we once paid little attention to, yet are now considered highly toxic to human and environmental health. The contaminants found on these sites pose a challenge to notions of devel-opment. Stringent regulations govern the handling and removal of these contaminants making the development of these sites a costly endeavour. In the intervening time the 68 groundwater is frequently susceptible to leaching and toxic plumes that will reach far below the soil surface. Because the development of these sites has only recently become an interest to the development community, the technology required to clean the contaminants is scarce, costly and time consuming. A new technology that has some impact on the issues of bioremediation is phytoremediation. Phytoremediation uses plants to clean the site through the uptake of contaminants into the plant material. However the process is very slow , and in the case of metal contamination there is the risk of introducing met-als into the food chain. Metals, as opposed to hydrocarbons do not experience a chemical restructuring in the uptake into the plants. Any plants that treat metal con-taminants are consequently treated as hazardous wastes and need to be harvested and removed from the site. Poplars, cottonwoods and willows have shown some suc-cess in the treatment of brownfields.(Thompson, 1998, #8 p.40) Stormwater Best Management Practices In the last decade environmentally sound stormwater practices have developed to the point that most provincial and state governments have each produced their own set of guidelines entitled 'best management practices' (BMP's). Looking through various publications of this sort I have noticed that broad practices are essentially the same yet many specifics will relate directly to the region involved. Simple issues such as an-nual and seasonal precipitation and temperature ranges will govern which BMP's are 69 appropriate. In creating a new infrastructure the best model to follow is that put forth by our natural environment. It has had the experience of managing water for a long time and it usually manages it appropriately.. By mimicking the natural processes previously mentioned one is well on their way to solving our problems. In an urban context, the problem at hand is that we do not have enough impervious surfaces to take care of the total precipitation, hence the reason that we have traditionally disposed of the excess water as quickly and as efficiently as possible. In these areas we need to mimic the natural process yet take it slightly out of context. Often it will be necessary to use some aspects of bioengineering (the human construct of natural materials). We may need to construct a wetland where a wetland would never naturally lie. It may be necessary to drastically alter landform to allow some natural processes to occur. The following is a broad view of defined BMP's. The Source The best way to tackle any problem is to 'nip it in the bud'. By resolving a problem early on one can alleviate any future difficulties and potentially resolve the problem al-together. The same can be said of stormwater management. Water should remain at its source for as long as possible. This goal has two advantages. Under certain struc-tural circumstances, and given the correct soil conditions, water will have the opportu-nity to infiltrate the ground immediately. If this is possible our problems are solved. Sadly this happens infrequently in an urban context. Although immediate groundwater recharge may not be possible, by retaining water at the point of impact peak flow is greatly reduced. The reduction of peak flow enables downstream hydrology to func-70 tion more effectively. Whenever possible water should be retained in a manner that will encourage any bio-logical growth. If the site dynamics do not allow for this method of retention some technological interventions should be implemented. Although they are not as aestheti-cally pleasing cisterns and underground storage tanks can prove to be equally if not more effective in storing water. The Movement of Water Water, as already mentioned, should enter the ground as soon as the physical con-struct of the site allows, (one exception to this rule is if the ground is highly contami-nated water not enter the ground as it can spread the contaminants in a subsurface toxic plume). This infiltration will permit natural dynamic processes to cleanse and dis-tribute the water. However in most urban areas water will need to be moved and relo-cated as the storm length or intensity increases. Even in the event that the soil sur-face and substructure allows for infiltration it will be very likely that the quantity of the surrounding impervious surfaces will necessitate that water continues through the landscape. The conventional method of conveying water is through a system of pipes. The three main drawbacks of using pipes are: • The speed with which pipes transport water causes peak flows and subse-quent flooding. • Pipes are devoid of any significant biological activity. Using a piped or cul-71 verted system will also impose a barrier for any movement offish. • The use of pipes hides rather than reveals the hydrological process. This denies the human population any pleasures associated with the aesthetics, cogni-tion or functionality of water. Pipes will nearly always need to be a vital component of any urban stormwater man-agement plan. In an urban area the safety of humans and the safety of property will always be placed above all else. Our efforts should be directed towards a more natu-ral hydrological system, yet when a heavy storm event occurs water will need to be rapidly and efficiently redirected to ensure that human health and property are safe-guarded. Sometimes this can be achieved by utilizing an open landscape to flood on these rare occasions, yet in most instances the diversion of water will require the serv-ices of a pipe. Permeable Surfaces Since the development of our reliance on the automobile, in the 1950's, the favoured surface of the North American landscape has been asphalt. Its ease of installation and relatively low maintenance cost has made it the paving surface of choice. How-ever, with a concern for the environment, and particularly urban hydrology, asphalt has proven to be a stumbling block. A standard asphalt surface allows little or no infil-tration of water into the ground, and if it does it is likely due to a lack of maintenance and consequent cracks and holes. The ability for a surface to absorb water depends upon its voids. Standard asphalt is a dense paving material that has very few voids within its structure. 72 The best surfaces for the infiltration of water into the ground are densely vegetated soils of a sandy-loam composition. As already mentioned a dense tree canopy can in-tercept a large proportion of precipitation, leaf litter has a good holding capacity and prevents erosion and a sandy-loam soil composition allows for superb drainage and offers even more holding capacity to prevent peak flows. A natural surface does not always benefit water infiltration. By mimicking these natural conditions one usually will prevent the occurrence of peak flows and the conveyance of pollution. Although an exposed hard packed soil (with a high component of clay) may cement allowing little or no infiltration. Traditionally, prior to the popularity of the automobile, most surfaces were considered permeable. The use of gravel and paving stones date back to the Roman construction of the Appian Way. In more recent times the use of tightly placed cobblestones al-lowed some degree of permeability. Today's cost of mining and preparing many of these traditional materials is high yet a burgeoning industry revolves around the devel-opment and manufacturing of a new generation of permeable surfaces. Any issue of Landscape Architecture magazine will contain at least a half-dozen advertisements for such companies. These new materials constructed from concrete and plastic boast the ability to accom-modate the weight of fire engines. These modular paving units are filled with an ag-gregate to allow for fast drainage or sometimes those intended for low-use can accom-modate a medium for growing grasses. A permeable asphalt does exist. It does how-ever require a frequent maintenance of vacuuming and high pressure power-washing. 73 Given all of the technologies available it would seem that the only obstacle in using these materials abundantly is our own habit and adherence to asphalt. Rooftop Treatments Considering that one-third of our urban landscape is devoted to roof structures some consideration must be given to how we treat this vast area. Several European coun-tries such as Sweden and Germany are building a reputation in promoting the use of eco-roofs. In St. Petersburg, Russia, a large proportion of its rooftops have been con-verted to the production of urban agriculture. In New York City the Gaia Institute has helped develop rooftop greenhouses using a lightweight soil structure composed of re-Figure 16 Illustration by P. Welsh 74 Some Alternative Forms of Roofs and Architecture Tiled Roof Clay Tiles Figure 17 Illustration by P. Welsh The Garden Roof The garden roof has great potential for hu-man uses and observance of other rooftop activities either on the same roof or below on others. It has some degree of retention and some habitat value. The Tiled Roof The tiled roof has some visual appeal and does not contaminate stormwater at all. It's drawback is that it has very little retention capacity to reduce peak flows. pardao Roof •Table & seating Figure 18 Illustration by P. Welsh 75 Figure 19 Illustration by P. Welsh The Agri-roof The Agri-roof is a more cost effective method of urban agriculture than the greenhouse roof. Yet it does not have as much opportunity for year round pro-duction. It's advantage is that it's pro-duction is more visible from its surround-ings. The Greenhouse Roof The greenhouse roof can potentially cap-ture all of the rain that falls upon it. A cis-tern or storage tank placed within the greenhouse can capture the water for later use. It is likely that this rooftop type would be found on higher rooftops with greater exposure to sunlight. Required fencing Figure 20 Illustration by P. Welsh 76 Figure 21 Illustration by P. Welsh The Eco-roof This roof type is the most cost effective. It requires very little addition or alteration to the roof construction and has high values for both its ecological contribution and its water holding capacity. It requires very lit-tle, if any, maintenance. The Solar Roof The solar roof has no more ability to retain water than the standard roof but is a spe-cific design consideration due to the sus-tainable nature of SEFC. For reasons of exposure to solar radiation this roof type will be found on the high rises and places of good aspect and exposure. Solar Ro Solar heating panels or photovoltaics P Figure 22 Illustration by P. Welsh 77 Living Walls Aside from having a high aesthetic appeal, living walls also have some advantages for reducing peak flows. Living walls can inter-cept some precipitation and their root sys-tems will utilize some of the precipitation. Living walls can also help to cool buildings during the hot summer months. Figure 23 Illustration by P. Welsh Oil-Water Separators Oil-water separators are no more than their label implies. They are not capable of re-moving any other components of stormwater pollution. Clay, silt and any organic or in-organic chemicals that attach themselves to these particulates will pass through the system. Oil-water separators should be used in areas where there is high vehicle traf-fic; areas such as heavily used roadways and parking lots. An oil water separator is recommended in these areas prior to any further conveyance. An oil water separator is comprised of a series of chambers through which the storm-water is passed . There are three types of separators: the spill control (SC) separator, the American Petroleum Institute (API) separator and the Coalescing Plate Separator 78 American Petroleum Institute (API) Oil-Water Separator (From Romano, 1990) Coalescing Plate Oil-WaUr Stpuratar (CPS) (From Romano, 1990) out la 1 |^ Figure 24 Two examples of oil-water separators. Left: API Separator Right: CPS Separator Source: BC Environment 1992 (CPS). Of these three the API and the C P S are more effective in the treatment of stormwater (BC environment 1992). The API system separates the oil and water us-ing their densities. The oil floats to the top and a skimmer can be used to extract the oil from the surface. The C P S system uses a series of corrugated plates that attract oil to their surfaces. As more oil is collected droplets are formed that rise to the top and can then be easily skimmed of the surface. Swales Any open channel of water that has an unobstructed flow is considered a swale (Ferguson 1998). A swale can be constructed from a variety of materials. Any effort that maintains the visible movement of water should be applauded. In an urban land-scape, where water is notoriously hidden from view, the first step in increasing our awareness of the benefits of water is to bring it into view. Even a wide concrete swale has more overall benefits than a subsurface pipe. Once we are aware of the existence and movement of water we can then appreciate its omnipresence. 79 L i Emergent Vegetation ^— Brick, stone or hollow concrete unit Coarse Gravel — Sand or fabric filter ' I Figure 25 I Illustration by P. Welsh T h e s i ze a n d s u r f a c e u s e of a n y s w a l e d e p e n d s o n s e v e r a l factors that a re f o u n d in this equa t i on : Q = V A • ' Q ' is m e a s u r e d in c u b i c m e t r e s pe r s e c o n d . It is the quantity of water f rom the c a t c h m e n t a r e a that f lows through the s w a l e e a c h s e c o n d . T h i s is d e p e n d e n t u p o n the character i s t i c s of the c a t c h m e n t a r e a (i.e. p e r c e n t imperv ious , s ize) • ' V is m e a s u r e d in m e t r e s pe r s e c o n d . It is the s p e e d by wh i ch the water f lows through the swa le . Its de te rmin ing fac tor s a re the r o u g h n e s s of the s w a l e su r f ace , the quantity of s u r f a c e contac t with the s i de s l o p e s a n d the lengthwise s l o p e of the swa le . Ve loc i t y in a s w a l e is usua l ly cons i s ten t f rom beg inn ing to e n d . • 'A ' is m e a s u r e d is s q u a r e met res . A r e a is s imp ly the c r o s s - s e c t i o n a l a r e a of the vo id c r e a t e d by the swa le . 80 Vegetated ' — Sione or concrete rip-rap — Coarse Gravel • Sand or fabric filter Aquatic Vegetation — 1 Figure 26 Illustration by P. Welsh The more constrained the site conditions are the more difficulties arise. A constrained site will usually imply that the catchment area is large and relatively impervious, and that there is very little room for open channeling of water. These conditions require that a swale must collect a large quantity of water in a very short period of time with very little volume within the swale to do so. The longitudinal slope of the swale and the volume of the water conveyed will then determine the depth, width and side slope conditions. A site that has ample room for changing the variables of 'Q', 'V and 'A' will best mimic natural conveyance of water. Swales can be constructed from a variety of materials. The type of material used will have four effects: • Velocity. Rough surfaces such as concrete rip-rap or stones will reduce ve-locity while smoother surfaces such as poured concrete or short grasses will permit 81 L | Topsoil I— Coarse Gravel Sand or fabric filter Figure 27 Illustration by P. Welsh greater velocities. • Capturing of sediments. Rougher surfaces, especially those that are vege-tated, will trap more sediments. • Slope stability and non-erosive capacity. Harder materials will withstand the erosive abilities of fast moving water. Vegetated surfaces may succumb to ero-sion. However, a middle ground exists that involves the use of modular and semi-pervious units. • Turbulence. More oxygen is introduced into the water as the surface be-comes rougher. This in turn will increase biological aerobic activity thereby increas-ing visual aesthetics and reducing odours. • Visual aesthetics and acceptance. If a landscape feature is more aestheti-cally pleasing it will be accepted as an integral part of the community. A vegetated swale will receive a greater acceptance rating than a poured concrete swale. 82 • Ground water recharge. I must emphasize the importance of infiltration of stormwater into the groundwater at every possible opportunity. A poured concrete surface will perform poorly in this respect while a broken concrete surface or a vegetated swale will perform better. However each case ultimately relies on the subsurface conditions. If swales are created upon a slab or a capped surface there will be little or no opportunity for groundwater recharge. Infiltration Trenches An infiltration trench is an excavated strip of land that is then filled with porous material such as sand, stone or any other coarse aggregate. It temporarily stores water which can be infiltrated into the ground or directed to another outflow. Although infiltration trenches are only temporary measures they have considerable worth in reducing peak flows and capturing some pollutants. Wnltratfon Treoch I— Buffer strip Figure 28 Illustration by P. Welsh 83 Filter Strips Filter strips are used to direct water into the ground through a naturalised strip of land. This method of groundwater recharge is effective yet it requires a large area. It is con-venient if the chosen area already has another functional element applied to it (i.e. open lawn for recreation or urban forestry). Water is evenly distributed through this area by being initially directed into a trench that spreads the water across the area's width. A filter strip can consist of any natural vegetation. The more the area mimics natural conditions the more effective it will be. An urban forest with an ample amount of un-dergrowth and leaf litter will perform better than a mown lawn. Heavily wooded Figure 29 Illustration by P. Welsh 84 Weirs A weir is dam over which water can eventually pass when its level rises high enough. A weir can take on several forms. It can have a rectangular shape, a 'V shape, or it can simply be a vertical circular pipe. As the water level rises a weir can release water in graduated steps or incrementally depending on the shape of the hole in a vertical dam, or the amount of perforations a pipe may have. A weir essentially divides one larger area into several smaller areas. It can change a swale, that functions as a method of conveyance at a high flow, into a series of ponds or basins at low flow. Detention Areas To effectively manage stormwater in an urban landscape the temporary or permanent Dry Detention P@od Inflow Figure 30 Illustration by P. Welsh 85 storage of water is necessary. Because of the magnitude of impervious surfaces found in urban environments a small area of available land is required to hold a large quantity of water. Frequently this will require the construction of various methods of detention that are not natural to the specific site. However the natural landscape in the urban realm has usually been altered and manipulated to such a large degree that Dry Detention Basins Dry detention basins offer little or no groundwater recharge. They are usually de-signed to detain water after a storm for about one to two hours; just enough time to prevent any severe peak flows. They generally do not improve the quality of the stormwater yet some settling of sediments can occur. Dry detention basins will usually have an outflow at the lowest surface point. An extended dry detention basin is very similar in design to a dry detention basin, yet it allows water to be detained for a longer Dry Detention Pood (Extended) Inflow Figure 31 Illustration by P. Welsh 86 period. This is accomplished by using a different outflow device that allows a high wa-ter level. An extended dry detention basin will hold a greater volume and will usually require more space. Many extended dry detention basins, such as a cistern, could be used for future irrigation purposes. During hot weather, when the water demand is high, wastewater held in a cistern could ease the load on our drinking water supply. Wet Detention Ponds Wet detention ponds are similar in design to dry detention basins in that they both have relatively impermeable liners yet, as the name implies, wet detention ponds are designed to hold a certain amount of water throughout the year. Water is maintained in the pond on a year round basis by the height of the outflow device. The main ad-vantages that wet detention ponds have over dry detention basins is the greater Wet Detention Pond Inflow • Figure 32 Illustration by P. Welsh 87 amount of pollution that they capture through sedimentation and the conversion and uptake of pollution by plants and bacteria. There is usually an aesthetic advantage to wet detention ponds if the vegetative matter does not become too unsightly in the dryer non-growth months. The B.C. ministry of the environment has recommended that a wet detention pond should be at least one percent of the size of its catchment area. Constructed Wetlands The two main differences between constructed wetlands and wet detention ponds are the ability for water to infiltrate into the ground and a higher plant productivity. Gener-ally the processes present in a constructed wetland are similar to those in a wet deten-tion pond except more plentiful. Biological decay and regeneration, pollution uptake, and sedimentation occur at a greater rate. As a rough guideline the B.C. ministry of the environment recommends that the surface area of a wetland cover approximately two to three percent of the catchment area. Providing that a continuous flow of water is provided through the wetland there should be no distasteful odours. The movement of water creates some turbulence that prevents anaerobic conditions and their accom-panying odours from occurring. Constructed wetlands can take two forms. They can provide a flow of water that is seen or alternately they can allow water to flow underground, and unseen. A wetland with the visual movement of water is more commonly used for the treatment of storm-water, while sub-surface wetlands are commonly used for treating domestic water as well. 88 ' : 1 Figure 33 I ' Illustration by P. W e l s h Subsurface Basins In an urban context, where space is often limited, subsurface basins can prove to be a great help in stormwater management. The construction of these devices may prove to be costly yet the multi-purpose advantages may make these costs seem small. I have described an infiltration trench and its uses yet there lies some advantage to cov-ering this trench to create space for more uses such as play areas or parking. A subsurface basjn can work in a similar manner as a natural aquifer. By using a coarse material, such as gravel, water can be contained underground and moved slowly towards its outfall or it may be permitted to infiltrate into the groundwater. A subsurface basin can also come in the form of a prefabricated tank delivered to the site for installation. These tanks are a costly investment yet they allow for the conven-89 ient reuse of any captured water for a later use. They can prove to be helpful in any climate that receives very little summer precipitation. During these months the stored water can be utilized to irrigate plant life in any dried swale, depleted wetland or gar-den. These basins would help any community from using potable water for irrigation purposes. Infiltration Basins An infiltration basin and a subsurface basin share the same purpose for groundwater infiltration yet an infiltration basin keeps the water exposed or near the surface. It can comprise of any pervious surface treatment yet it's function is strictly temporary. In the event that the basin coincides with the depth of the water table then the basin may de-tain water until the water table decreases. Groundwater infiltration Figure 34 Illustration by P. Welsh 90 Groundwater infitlration ' 1 Figure 35 I 1 Illustration by P. Welsh The Uses of Water Greywater Treatment Greywater is a technology that is gradually gaining more acceptance and popularity in urban areas. It involves the treatment of household wastewater from sinks and bath-tubs. The treatment of this water varies very little from the treatment of stormwater. The main difference is the manner in which greywater needs to be primarily treated. Prior to the water entering the public realm, the greywater needs to go through a screening process to separate any particles sent down the drain. Once the water exits the building, the primary treatment of water should occur subsurface in a gravel/sand bed. Once the water has gone through this initial treatment process it has been suita-bly cleansed to enter public areas. The placement of the separator and the initial 91 cleansing bed will need to accommodate some issues of accessibility and mainte-nance. Urban Forestry A mature forest canopy can greatly reduce the quantity of stormwater routed into our sewer systems. Yet an urban forest can produce far more benefits than simply reduc-ing stormwater. In any environment the canopy can reduce temperatures by the de-flection of sunlight and by the humidity that it offers. In an aquatic environment the shade provided by a canopy can prove to be vital its health. A fluctuation of water tem-perature inhibits biological growth. A consistent cool water temperature is preferred in any shallow riparian zone. An urban forest is a highly valued aesthetic feature of the city landscape. A healthy and long living tree is one of the best appreciated methods for indicating the uses of a hydrological cycle. If the tree also bears any edible product for human or wildlife consumption this should be seen as an added benefit not as an engineering hazard to be cleaned up. A single tree can have restorative effects for an individual or a community. A multitude of trees can offer a wide variety of design op-portunities and community benefits. Urban Agriculture The best method for promoting, enhancing and understanding natural processes in the community is through a functional relationship (Anthony 1995). The word function can be defined in several ways. The Miriam Webster dictionary describes function as: "a Special Purpose" and "a variable that depends on and varies with another"(Mirriam-Webster 1994). With these definitions one might say that by simply mixing man and 92 nature in an urban milieu automatically implies a functional relationship. Virtually any 'natural' environment in an urban setting will require some maintenance and if this 'natural' element is helping us to clean water then a better relationship is established. Perhaps our strongest method of establishing a relationship with nature is through the production of food. The continual nurturing and maintenance required in food produc-tion will ensure that a thorough and sensitive understanding of natural processes en-sues. If one relies upon water for food production one will better understand water's role not only in the production of food but also in the context of the overall landscape. By using water that visibly passes through our urban landscape one will acquire a keen understanding of its cycle in nature. Urban agriculture has proved to be a success story on the grass roots level in urban areas (Lewis 1996). Pockets of discarded, neglected and transitional spaces are fre-quently claimed as areas for the production of urban agriculture. Because this activity speaks to the heart of the community (Lewis 1996), and is established and maintained with very little funding, it should be encouraged profusely. Urban agriculture not only provides one with food, but it can also relieve stress (Lewis 1996), encourage muscu-lar activity (McAndrew 1993) and allow a faster recovery from illness (Cimprich 1992, Ulrich 1983). 93 Conclusion The previous research into the various meanings and properties of urban water was undertaken prior to any of the design process. At this point it was relatively unknown to me which of the design tools, or urban predicaments and issues, would be relevant to the design of the specific site. I attempted to keep the research as objective as pos-sible. With the information that I extracted throughout the research process I created a design matrix that was of use to me, and I hope will be of some use to others in the future. Once the matrix was created I attempted to approach it from as objective a standpoint as possible. The challenge of the matrix is in adapting it to the various site constraints that revealed themselves throughout the design process. It is intended to be used as a guide; something that can be referred to whenever needed. By no means should it solely determine the design. The matrix is designed to guide one through any im-passe encountered in the design process. 9 4 D e s i g n M a t r i x Figure 36 LEGEND [m\ High | • | Low | | None Surface Conveyance Detention Uses Architecture Grass surface Gravel / bark mulch surface Modular Pavers Porous Asphalt Oil-Water Separators Swales Infiltration Trenches Filter Strips Weirs Dry Detention Ponds Extended Dry Detention Ponds Wet Detention Ponds Constructed Wetlands Infiltration Basin Subsurface Basins Urban Forestry Urban Agriculture Standard Roof Eco-Roof Agri-Roof Greenhouse Roof Solar Roof Clay Tile Roof Garden Roof Greywater Treatment Living Walls The process of water through the landscape should be evident and forthcoming whever possible • • • • • • • • • • i • (• 1 1 • • • • • • Water should become the dominant landscape feature in focus but not necessarily in scale 1 1 • r | I I 1 1 I I 1 1 i • Use running/turbulent water whenever possible • • • • • ! • • • J 1 t 1 • 1 • i • 1 1 I 1 1 1 • • • | { — Use water to benefit vegetation growth; especially trees • • 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Create areas of spatial variety next to water. Design small intimate spaces as well as large gregarious spaces • • • • • 1 1 1 1 1 1 t 1 m 1 1 1 1 1 1 • • • • • Allow safe access to water • • • • • • • I ! • i i i 1 4 • • • • • • Allow meaningful access to water • • • • • • • • • m\m\m i t i t i i • • • • • • The use of water in dense spaces should no be shied away from. Density can heighten a positive experience • • • • • • • • • • • i i i i • :• :• i i i t • • • • • Continuity through design should be encouraged- Visual continuity creates 'rootedness' • • • • ii i • !•:• i i i i • i • • • • 6 • • • • • o The site should visually and, if possible, functionally connect to the larger community. • • • fl • • i i i i m'm'u — i i i i i • • • • • • • • • • • • • Water and its natural benefits should be visible from as many public then private viewpoints as possible • • i i i i i • i i i i Place water in the heart of the community • • • • • • • • • • • i t ! ! I 1 • • • • • • • • • Water should be accessible to all people of all abilities • • • • • • • • • 1 1 I 1 1 1 • !• :• i i i i . i i • 1 1 • i i i • • • • • 95 T h e M a t r i x ( c o n t i n u e d ) Surface Conveyance Detention Uses Architecture LEGEND f l i ] High f " * ~ l Low j | None Grass surface Gravel / bark mulch surface Modular Pavers Porous Asphalt Oil-Water Separators Swales Infiltration Trenches Filter Strips l Dry Detention Ponds Extended Dry Detention Ponds Wet Detention Ponds Constructed Wetlands Infiltration Basin Subsurface Basins Urban Forestry Urban Agriculture Standard Roof Eco-Roof Agri-Roof Greenhouse Roof Solar Roof Clay Tile Roof Garden Roof Greywater Treatment Living Walls Water and it's various uses and benefits should be available to the greater public. Allow water to collect at its source i 1 t 1 1 • • • 1 1 • • • Allow water to infiltrate into subsurface 1 1 1 t 1 1 1 1 • • • • i i i Create functional and/or literal islands in the landscape. 1 1 1 1 1 » * 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 Offer a variety of edge treatments but ensure that transitional edges are highlighted • • • • • i • ! i i i j • • • B • 1 1 I ! :• : i i i i i • | | 1 Learning tools are needed to illustrate any hidden hydrological processes. • • • • i i i i i i i • • • • • • • • • • i i i i i i i w I i I • i 1 1 Natural canopies and ground conditions should be used wherever possible. i i i i i i i • • 'Outlandish' aesthetics should be avoided. Aesthetics should adhere to common accepted preferences. i i i i i i i ' i t i I i i Small incremental steps should be encouraged in management and design j i i i Landscape features should be free of hazards. • • • • • • • i i • i i i j • • • • • • • • • • • • Wherever possible community Interaction, participation and stewardship should be encouraged. • • • • i i • i i • • • I* i i t • • L _ J • • • _ • • • _ • • • i i i i • 1 1 i i • i • • 96 S e c t i o n 4 T h e S i t e A Brief History South east False Creek (SEFC) has been an industrial area since the late 1800's. During the last century it has been home to a wide range of industrial activities includ-ing sawmills, foundries, metalworks and salt distribution (along its original shoreline). Currently the western most portion of the site is being used as the city's works yard. Because of the heavy industries that have traditionally been on the site it has the mis-fortune of being highly contaminated with metals and hydrocarbons. SEFC lies within the neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant, Vancouver's first suburb. De-velopment in Mount Pleasant began in the 1890's. By 1910 the waterfront was lined with heavy industry, and SEFC became part of the hub of Vancouver's growing econ-omy. In 1916-17 the 'reclamation' of the mudflats just east of SEFC occurred. Al-though it is not on the site proper, it is important to note that the action of filling in these mudflats gives some indication of the magnitude of which ecologically sensitive landscapes were being altered. Over time, the original shoreline of False Creek has been dramatically. It has been the dumping ground for landfill from the dredging of various waterways At the time environmental issues were not of much concern; the Lower Mainland was still a land of plentiful space. The environment was still an ele-ment that needed to be mastered and controlled. It was not seen in today's light of be-97 ing beautiful and delicate, but as being threatening and a nuisance. Site Context SEFC is located at the north west corner of the community of Mount Pleasant. It's area is approximately 36 ha (80 acres). Just to the north, across False Creek, is the Con-cord Pacific Lands currently being devel-oped (1999). The site is bound by False Creek to the north, Cambie Street to the west, Quebec Street to the east and 1st Avenue to the south. It is Mount Pleasant's only waterfront access. Mount Pleasant is a community that is in need for more parks and open space. SCALE IN METERS SOUTH-EAST FALSE CREEK 1000 500 0 1000 2000 MOUNT PLEASANT A N SEFC Context J Figure 37 Illustration by P. Welsh The Watersheds of SEFC The watershed of SEFC can be divided into any combination of smaller watersheds. A watershed can be defined by overland flows or underground flows into the site. From a standard topographical map the natural watershed can be drawn, yet there are many more watershed considerations to take into account. In an urban environment, the source of any watershed can flow contrary to contour lines and its natural flow. An in-tricate web of storm and sanitary sewers affect the course of the local hydrology. 98 Topographical Watershed SEFC lies at the base of a small, but very distinct watershed. It begins at the base of Queen Elizabeth Park and gradually fans out until it reaches False Creek (the land from 1st Ave. to the creek is essen-tially flat). It is eventually defined, as it travels north, by Cambie Street to the west and Main Street to the east. It has no named creeks, and as such the watershed itself has no name. Storm Sewer Watershed The site currently lets very little stormwater directly into the creek. About a half block area just south of the site is drained into the creek via an outfall at the base of Co-lumbia Street (the centre street abutting the site). Topographical Watershed Figure 38 Illustration by P. Welsh fU*M CATCHMENT AREA BOUNDARY Storm Sewer Catchment Area J Figure 39 Illustration by P. Welsh 99 Combined Sewer Watershed Currently there is a pump station located in the western most part of the site. This pump station sends sewage out to the lo-cal sewage treatment plant. The sewage from the area shown to the right is di-rected to this pump station. It is mostly sanitary sewage during the dry season and combined sewage during the wetter months. CATCHMENT AREA BOUNDARY C o m b i n e d S e w e r C a t c h m e n t A r e a J Figure 40 Illustration by P. W e l s h CSO Watershed March 1997 Average Combined Sewer Overflow Occurrences and Volumes In Vancouver [Receiving Winter Summer Annually jWaterbody Frequency Volume Frequency Volume Frequency Volume iVancouver Harbour 88 529.4 30 84.4 118 613.8 English Bay 34 20.6 8 3.9 « 24.5 False Creek 56 17.8 13 3.4 69 21.2 Fraser River 89 L15.9 25 20.2 114 136.1 Tola]: 267 683.7 76 111.9 343 795.6 Notes: Combined sewer overflows are mostly stormwater mixed with some sanitary sewage. Frequency is the number of overflow occurrences during the period specified. Vol m e is the overflow quantity in millions of cubic feet during the period specified. csovols.wk4 City of Vancouver Engineering Department Figure 41 S o u r c e : City of V a n c o u v e r Eng ineer ing 100 False Creek receives combined sewer overflow sixty-nine times annually. This equates to 21.2 million cubic feet of diluted raw sewage each year. Because of our cur-rent combined sewer system, every time a heavy rainfall occurs our sanitary waste is mixed with the rainfall and, having nowhere else to go, it is bypassed into the creek. The area from which False Creek receives this effluent is large. It extends south, to Queen Elizabeth Park, west, to Oak Street, and east, just past Main Street. As men-tioned earlier in the report the City is under-ground a program to separate the system but it is only 30 years into a 100 year plan. C u r r e n t S e w e r S y s t e m The Current system is quite intricate. It contains several bypasses that take sew-age to the pump station. Only a fraction of the precipitation adjacent to the site is sent straight out to False Creek. bllll CATCHMENT AREA BOUNDARY (Approx.) CSO Catchment A r e a J Figure 42 Illustration by P. Welsh hltl'l COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOW Current Sewer System Figure 43 Illustration by P. Welsh 101 Current Main Collectors The precipitation that falls in the upland re-gion of SEFC is gathered in two main collec-tors running underneath Ontario and Colum-bia Streets. Instead of proceeding to the creek the water is diverted westward to the pump station. Soil Contamination Most of the contaminants on the site are found in the western half. The contami-nants are one of the main challenges that the charette teams encountered in plan-ning the site. Years of industrial use has left a devastating legacy that the current generation has inherited. s b=as . i s pg A N SCALE IN METERS SITE BOUNDARY IIIID MAIN COLLECTORS {COMBINED SEWERS) Current Main CollectorsJ Figure 44 Illustration by P. Welsh SCALE IN METERS 100 200 300 METAL CONTAMINATION ORGANIC CONTAMINATION N Soil ContaminationJ Figure 45 Illustration by P. Welsh Soil Structure The soil structure directly corresponds to the original shoreline. The soil, south of the original shoreline, is of a sandy structure that is moderately suited for heavy develop-ment. The soil north of the original shore-line is landfill, composed of a mixture of sand, gravel, crushed rock and till. It is poorly compacted and unsuitable for accom-modating heavy development. The fill mate-rial could liquefy during a heavy earthquake. Heritage Features The original shoreline has been drastically altered over the years. Only one portion of it remains. Underneath the Domtar Salt Building a 10 metre remnant of the original shoreline exists. The Salt Building repre-sents the only notable heritage building on the site. This building once transferred salt onto barges from railcars. I'I: ' ! ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 SCALE IN METERS 200 300 AN E n O ORIGINAL HIGH WATER MARK LANDFILL Vi'.'l SAND •Soil Structure Figure 46 Illustration by P. Welsh * i r SCALE IN METERS 100 200 300 A N j-. \ j ORIGINAL HIGH WATER MARK (OHWM) | " * ^ EXISTING REMNANT OF OHWM j fj I DOMTAR SALT BUILDING Heritage Features • Figure 47 Illustration by P. Welsh 103 Current & Proposed Bodies of Water MT , j/Jto^t&F*. f*<* A n 1898 view of SEFC . Note the creek in the center of the image (The current location of the Domtar Salt Bldg., and the remnant original shoreline.) Source: Burkinshaw 1984, p. 24 Figure 48 Illustration by P. Welsh 1 / 2nd Ave. • Z5 cl: i f i cl: Z S L 3 3rd Ave. I • • s OUTLINE OF SITE PLAN ORIGINAL HIGH WATER MARK BODIES OF WATER LOCATION OF ORIGINAL UNNAMED CREEK (approx.> SCALE IN METERS 100 200 300 A N Proposed Bodies of Water Figure 49 Illustration by P. Welsh As previously mentioned, the site has only one vestige of the original shoreline remain-ing. With close inspection, an aerial view of the site from the 1890's reveals a creek that enters False Creek at the site of the remnant shoreline and the Salt Building. This is not very surprising considering the clarity and definition of the topographical water-shed. The charette team proposed three fingers of water on the site, the middle one being the existing inlet. After an intensive grading exercise the eastern most body of water was removed from my elaboration of the sit plan due to the higher elevation on that portion of the site. 104 Proposed Excavation The charette team proposed underground parking at the southern half of the site. This decision was base on: • giving more precedence to other modes of transportation by restricting most vehicu-lar traffic to the southern periphery. • The original soil structure in this region allowed for greater disturbance due to the lack of contaminants. • Towers are proposed for this area that will need some deep footings thereby allowing opportunity for underground parkades A rough calculation of excavation was determined that would allow me to proceed with a grading plan attempting to keep as much of the excavated material on the site as possible. The calculations were based on the underground parking lots being two sto-reys deep. at Area Volume E Zone 1 = Zone 2 = Zone 3 = Zone 4 = 14,718 1,975 14,272 16,005 88,310 cu m 11,850 cu m 85,630 cu m 96,030 cu m total 46,970 281,820 cu m note: Other areas of excavation may occur. The areas represented here are the predominant areas. P r o p o s e d A r e a s of E x c a v a t i o n J Figure 50 Illustration by P. W e l s h 105 Proposed Fill Because of the high level of soil contamination at the western end of the site, the area will have to be sealed, capped and monitored. To remove the contaminated soil from the site is far too costly given today's technological capability of soil remediation. The site was graded as much as possible to direct the flow of water towards the central ex-isting inlet and the proposed creek in the western half of the site. After the grading was completed for the central and eastern areas, the excess soil was placed on the western end. The excess soil will create a hill, that in itself, can be a distinguishing feature on a site that would otherwise have very little difference in elevation. in Volume n o £ HIGH POINT Zone 1 = 125,275 cu m Zone 2 = 58,375 cu m Zone 3 = 98,170 cu m total 281,820 cum note: Other areas of fi!t may occur. The areas represented here are the predominant areas. Proposed Areas of FillJ Figure 51 Illustration by P. Welsh 1 0 6 Proposed Catchment Areas As a result of the previous grading, five catchment areas have been determined. The greatest constraint placed on any of the areas is whether it is above the parkade or not. In these instances, the opportunity for immediate groundwater infiltration will be restricted. Of the five areas, only numbers one and three are affected by this con-straint. However, catchment area five does not allow any groundwater infiltration, as it is sealed, and its run-off will be monitored for any escaping contaminants. The first catchment area encompasses most of the partially existing inlet and is the only catch-ment area that accommodates any stormwater run-off from outside the site boundary. in E Proposed Catchment Areas J Figure 52 Illustration by P. Welsh 107 Proposed Figure-Ground & Building Heights The tallest buildings on the site are in the eastern end of the site. They act as an ex-tension to 'Citygate', just north of the site, and as a gateway from the rest of Mount Pleasant. The east end of the site can structurally accommodate more load than any-where else. The buildings along 1st Ave. are eight storeys high and the development towards the waterfront slopes down to two storeys high. The only preexisting building on the site in the Salt Building at the foot of Manitoba. Proposed Building Heights- 1 Figure 53 Illustration by P. Welsh 108 Changes to Proposed Figure-Ground There are only two changes to the building placement. The first is the straightening of the building at 'A', to give a clearer access to False Creek. At 'B', two buildings were cropped to give unobstructed access along a right-of-way to the waterfront. The city planning department mentioned that it was its policy to offer unobstructed public ac-cess to waterfronts wherever possible. • Moving portions of buildings from B to C to preserve movement, access and views to waterfront • Realignment of bulding (A) to preserve movement, views and access to water SCALE IN METERS 0 100 200 300 A N -Proposed Changes to Figure-Ground Figure 54 Illustration by P. Welsh 1 0 9 Proposed Circulation The plan put forth by the charette team created one central vehicular east-west axis within the site and several other lesser vehicular roads and pedestrian/bike routes. The termination of two diagonal axis within the site has created a focal node directly north of the Salt Heritage Building. Another noteworthy transporta-tion route is the 'Aquabus' that currently services the eastern most portion of the site. Proposed On-site Move-ment of Water The movement of water responds to grad-ing, gravitational pull, circulation and build-ing placement. Because of the potential holding capacity of the inlet, as much run-off as possible was directed towards this area. In the event of a severe storm (20 or 50 year) the excess water should be held in this area to avoid immediate dis-charge into the creek. E ra O ^•j PRIMARY ROAD (Existing) ^ • • | SECONDARY ROAD ^inij SECONDARY ROAD (No Parking) TRANSIT / TRAM LINE TRANS-CANADA TRAIL / SEAWALL L,.„,| PEDESTRIAN ONLY jlimj BIKE ROUTE (Existing) Proposed Circulation Figure 55 Illustration by P. Welsh \ K ^ I FLOW OF WATER WITHIN f j THE SITE SCALE IN METERS 100 200 300 A N On-Site Movement of Water Figure 56 Illustration by P. Welsh 110 Proposed Zoning The majority of commercial activity is fo-cused along 1st Ave and Quebec St. The Salt Building is proposed as a public mar-ket and on the other side of the inlet is a community centre. Urban Agriculture is focused to the west end of the site, while the quieter residential areas are zoned to-wards the creek. There are four daycares throughout the site that will respond the communities needs. One small area at the east side of the inlet, at its mouth, is proposed as a cafe. • LU-LU' 0 ' | COMMERCIAL | COMMERCIAL / RESIDENTIAL | 2a J COMM. / RES & DAYCARE | RESIDENTIAL | COMM. / RES. with COMMUNITY FACILITY S DAYCARE | COMMUNITY GARDENS 4 RECYCLING DEPOT - P r o p o s e d Z o n i n g - 1 Figure 57 Illustration by P. Welsh Accommodating Upland H 2 0 If we are to reflect back to issues of sustainability, a relationship with the outlying community and region needs to be established. I believe that the first step in this ap-proach is to design and manage with a focus on the watershed. As already men-tioned, a watershed can take on various guises. The next segment is a preliminary look at the possibility of accommodating a large watershed. During this stage of my analysis my thoughts were towards the affects of the upland upon SEFC and how SEFC could cleanse water prior to its discharge into the creek. The inlet played a key role in these considerations, yet, as I will later mention, I chose to disregard the inlet 111 as a design opportunity and focus of other areas of key importance. In the interim I wanted to address issues of the upland watershed, its potential hydrological load on SEFC and incremental design. I mention incremental design since in the future this upland area will inevitably change from a light industrial neighbourhood to one with a dense residential flavour. Initial Catchment Area This diagram indicates the area adjacent to SEFC that is currently draining to False Creek via an outfall pipe that follows Columbia St. The shown calculations indicate how much extra water SEFC needs to accommodate in a ten year storm. The vol-umes are for a storm of a ten minute duration. - Initial Catchment Area J Figure 58 Illustration by P. Welsh 112 1 0 Year Catchment Area This catchment area extends as far upland as Broadway. CATCHMENT AREA A N SCALE IN METERS 10 Y e a r P l a n C a t c h m e n t A r e a J Figure 59 Illustration by P. W e l s h 2 0 Year Catchment Area This area extends as far south as 16th Avenue. This final portion of the catch-ment area plan will likely go through far less development than the previous areas. The area from Broadway to 16th Avenue is already developed as an existing resi-dential neighbourhood (predominantly sin-gle-family units) i s CATCHMENT AREA A N SCALE IN METERS 500 1000 2 0 Year P l a n C a t c h m e n t A r e a F igure 60 Illustration by P. W e l s h 113 Swale Dimensions The idea proposed in this exercise is that the original catchment areas, that drained into False Creek, could be reunited. The main difference is that any surfaced water-courses would need to follow urban right-of-ways such as streets, alleys or pedestrian routes. With alternative development patterns emerging, these RoW's should be able to accommodate above ground movement of water. The diagram above shows the necessary swale dimensions needed to move water in a 10 year storm. The calcula-tions used a standard urban treatment of the upland, while I would hope that the actual development would allow for a greater percentage of permeable surface. Swale Dimensions for Incremental Planning Figure 61 Illustration by P. Welsh 114 S e c t i o n 5 T h e D e s i g n Prior to entering the design process there were various directions and opportunities that I strongly considered. The key direction, however, is derived from what I have learnt from the intrinsic nature of water. Like the terrestrial landscape, water is often cherished when it is experienced daily. The subtle features that we take for granted are often the one's that leave the greatest impression; sometimes without our even knowing it. With this in mind I would like to focus on what are the everyday land-scapes. These are the landscapes that are frequently overlooked; yet they are the landscapes that are the most deserving of our attention. These areas are usually out-side our front doors or just around the corner. Community health and personal health are directly linked to our satisfaction with our immediate surroundings. The landscapes that we cherish most should be the ones that we call home, even if home is a rented apartment or a condominium unit in a tow-ering high-rise. In any instance, when we walk out our doors, ideally, we should not have to look any farther for a meaningful interaction with natural processes. In this case I believe that the critical landscape is undoubtedly the 'typical' landscape. The 'typical' landscapes are those that we walk through without looking twice. Our homes and our communities, even our workplaces, should ring with pride. Upon returning home we should be able to slow down, take a step back and live again the same daily landscape with an ineffable feeling of satisfaction. The creation of this opportunity is 115 good. In the context of this thesis, the opportunity for South East False Creek to act as a model of a sustainable community lies not in any single body of water but in the small interstices of urban development. Not every community will have a waterfront yet every community will have the opportunity to create a healthy hydrological cycle. Looking to North America's original landscape of endless beaver dams as an example; it becomes clear that the strength and integrity of a hydrological cycle lies in a multi-tude of 'wetlands' and watercourses. When one looks at the entire site one might expect the design to focus on the inlet adjacent to the Domtar Salt Building. Al-though this area promises a great design opportunity, it repre-sents the potential terminus of wastewater not the source. The importance in treating water is to begin the treatment process at the source, then to continue the treatment as the water moves through the landscape. For this reason, and the reason of these designs acting as a model for other urban areas with no fore-shore, I have chosen to focus on three types of public land-scape: • The backyard or semi public space • The frontyard or public space • The public plaza I feel none of these spaces should necessarily hold any more importance than the other. They each have their own merits in the way our urban landscape is configured. 116 Figure 62 Master Plan Details The General Plan The three chosen areas of focus fall within the same catchment area. This catchment area is #1 as seen in figure 52. Aside form the three areas of focus there are a few differences between the original plan (figure 4) and the proposed plan (figure 64). The differences to the plan are: • The addition of a blackwater treatment facility at the west end of the site. This fa-cility is on a considerable amount of fill. It is approximately eight metres above the existing grade. • A woodlot at the north-west corner of the site was added to offer the opportunity to demonstrate phytoremediation in action. • The water body in the eastern portion of the site has been removed to increase the area of catchment area #1. By doing this, water from catchment area #2 is sent through a filter strip as it travels northward to False Creek. The cafe, at the edge of False Creek, was moved 40 metres east to accommodate the space needed for a public plaza. In creating this space adjacent to the cafe I expect this will bolster the popularity and revenue of the cafe. Figure 63 : A 'Front Ya rd ' 117 1 Figure 64: The Master Plan 118 Figure 65 is a sketch of a plaza other than the detailed area of focus. This one is di-rectly in the middle of the site adjacent to 1st Avenue. The observer position is at the top of a set of stairs, ascending from 1st Avenue, facing northward. Small Plaza in Central Portion of SEFC . [ yirtoam) G=!]^ d]F®0®g]^  [j " 7 S o u t h E a s i F a I se C fe ek p—' Figure 65 : A Cent ra l ' P l a z a ' The Front Yard The front yard is located in the south east corner of the master plan. This is a semi-public area that will attract people from other areas of SEFC, and the nearby vicinity. On the ground plane it has one of two recreational surfaces in SEFC. The garden plots are not necessarily restricted to use by people in the adjacent buildings. It also has two entrances to the underground parkade in the centre of the plan. There is a day care at the north end of the site with a fenced in play area adjacent to it. The ad-jacent residential suites are two storey family suites to allow children a greater access 119 to open space. The hydrology in The Front Yard directs stormwater and greywater towards the centre of the site, at which point they merge into an open basin. By the time these waters have traveled to this basin they have been suitably cleansed and can then be used to irrigate the garden plots. The grey water is sent through a gravel/sand swale. A reliable flow of water will enable the swale to support vegetation. This vegetation will act as a cleansing mechanism and as a visual amenity. The stormwater swale will likely not be vege-tated due to annual fluctuations of precipita-tion. It can, however, treat the water due to the same gravel/sand substrate as the greywa-ter swale. Adjacent to the greywater swales are a series of circular grass beds that will receive a constant flow of water. These beds will help cleanse the water and can also act as an overflow. Stormwater on the site has a similar overflow system. During a regular storm event some overflow will seep into the planters that contain the trees. In the event of a par-ticularly heavy storm (2 Year event) these planters can receive much more water. The vast quantity of overflow that can occur in a ten year storm, or greater, can be retained for an extended period of time in the recreation area. In the rare occasion of a fifty year storm event the entire site is graded such that water will drain away from all of the buildings and flood the constructed wetland at the north west corner of the site thereby 1 2 1 reducing any extensive damages to the immediate property and the creek itself. In the event that this site is saturated the overflow will flood Boilermaker Avenue and be re-tained in the inlet before its release into False Creek. In the vertical context water is directed into basins to be used for irrigation. Any over-flow can flood some of the rooftop areas without impeding rooftop uses or circulation. Numerous lookouts and passive gardens are distributed around the to allow the public to witness gardening prac-tices even if they are hot in-clined to participate. Green-houses and solar panels take precedent over other uses on the taller buildings and other sites with good exposure. Not only is it important to util-ize the rooftops for uses that directly relate to water (such as physical retention and gar-Figure 69: Front Yard Vertical Detail dening), but it also important to use these areas to publicly display the hydrological system and how it extends verti-cally. 123 S o u t h E a s t ' F a l s e C r e e k ' Figure 70: Front Y a r d A x o n o m e t r i c 124 T h e F r o n t Y a r d 1 S o u t h E a s t'F a. I s e' G r e e k ' h—1 Figure 71: Front Yard Vertical Hydrology 125 The Back Yard The Back Yard design can be found in the centre of SEFC. It is a space that has pub-lic access, although it is unlikely that many people, other than those living immediately adjacent to the site, would enter this space with any frequency. It is designed to be a more intimate space than The Front Yard. The movement of water and the circulation pattern have been designed such that they follow one another. This design element gives the resident a greater sense of the hydrological cycle. Wherever possible, the pathway is taken down to the water's edge. At the same time some habitat refuge has been offered at the west end of The Back Yard. This habitat refuge, in the form of two islands, may flood during a heavy storm event. In the central 'bottleneck' part of the design the pathway merges with an infiltration basin. This basin, and the pathway, will flood during a heavy storm event giving a greater awareness to the rise and fall of water in our landscape. In this event access to the building entrances is still readily available although this central pathway is rendered ineffective for pedestrian circulation. In the central area of The Back Yard is greywater collection and treatment. The grey-water's evidence arises at the particle separators. The separators for each building are placed in the pathway directly in front of each entrance. Although they are cov-ered, they remain up front and visible, and are easily accessed for maintenance pur-128 Figure 76: B a c k Y a r d Hydrology 130 poses. The cover of the separators should indicate what they are and their purpose in the hydrological cycle. By placing them at the entrance, I hope this will give a greater awareness of our domestic impact on the hydrological cycle. Our understanding of the functionality of our landscape will then increase. The greywater collection is contained in the centre of the open space. It is ringed by pathways and stormwater swales. In the central area there are three constructed wetlands to cleanse the water. In the event of a heavy storm stormwater can flood the final pond to prevent any peak flows from occurring downstream. In a regular storm event the greywater and the stormwa-ter merge at the bottleneck. Figure 77: Detail of Constructed Wetlands 131 ro o o tf) o ro CO o o h- T J o 9 s S5 IM*S <*wtj <•«! ! r • — i ro 5 UJ ! € =, Figure 78: Guide to Back Yard Cross-sections The Public Plaza The Public Plaza posed many challenges in its creation. It lies at the hub of several circulation routes. To the north of the site is False Creek, in the southward direction is the proposed 'Salt Mar-ket', to the west is an inlet that is open to tidal fluctuations and through the site runs the Vancouver Seawall Recreational Path-way (a proposed section of the 'Trans-Canada Trail'). A variety of features are placed in this site: • A cafe at the east side • A community hall from which functions could potentially spill out into the central area • An amphitheater that faces south west to gain exposure to the sun. The lower part of the amphitheater floods at high tide. • A main basin that collects water during storm events and re-tains it long afterwards • A series of small spaces to the south west of the main basin • A watercourse that winds its way acting as an 'inconspicuous' spine to The Public Plaza • A ramp that descends underneath the bridge to a weir in the inlet and eventually to the 'Salt Market'. Prior to the bridge there is a pause along the ramp that acts as a stage for the amphitheater. The large open space is enclosed by the watercourse to the J»tH{ Figure 80 Open Space Detail Figure 83 Amphitheater Detail Figure 84 Small Spaces Detail 134 south and some steps that ascend to the Seawall pathway. These steps may also act as a podium to the open space. At the north end of the site there is a promontory that offers an Figure 85 Promontory Detail outstanding view of the North Shore mountains and False i^mmme^ Creek. The same viewpoint offers views to numerous other unique features to the north. At the north area of the Public Plaza there is also a set of steps that descend to the waters of False Creek. BC Place Cypress Bowl Downtown stadium Ski Area Skyline Crown Mountain Science World (behind tree) Plaza of Nations G M Place Grouse Mountain Ski Area Citygate Mount Seymour The Public Plaza may receive little water throughout the summer months. An added challenge in the site was to construct it in such a way as to give high aesthetic value to site features in the drier months. In this manner the direction and flow of water is ap-parent even when no water is visible. The site is graded so that any overflow is auto-matically directed to the central watercourse. This watercourse originates outside the Public Plaza site, continues through the basin, along the edge of the open space, then cascades down the centre of the amphitheater. Since water in this region of S E F C re-charges the ground water, the watercourse will flow towards its maximum capacity dur-ing moderate to high storm events. 135 D E T A I L O F P L A Z A B A S I N Scala In metres <?....? f f v y . S o u t h E a s t F a l s e C r e e k | [ — Figure 90: Detail of Public Plaza Basin 139 / O O T 1 k r a ri Figure 91: Guide to Public Plaza Cross-sections 140 1 Figure 93: Pub l ic P l a z a C r o s s - s e c t i o n s (C -c , D-d, E -e) 142 B o i l e r m a k e r A v e n u e The final diagram in this thesis relates to the main arterial route within the site. In the original charette designs swales were placed towards the centre of the road on each side of the sidewalks. I changed this detail for two reasons. The first reason is to give far more importance to water and the hydrological cycle by placing a central swale down the middle of the road. Although it has the disadvantage of removing the flow of water away from immediate public view it has some other clear advantages: • It avoids any risk of the swale collecting discarded litter. • A single central swale is an aesthetically more prominent gesture • Any overflow is far from buildings and avoids any property damage or impediment to pedestrian traffic. Any overflow will slowly ascend the road, and even in a heavy rainfall, it will only slow vehicular traffic. In the drier months the vegetated swale will receive a small flow of water due to the population at the east end of SEFC. Over two thousand people, "each discharging an average of 100 L of greywater per day, will supply enough water to ensure that this central spine remains alive and well. Figure 94: Detail of Boilermaker Avenue 143 Boilermaker Ave. (Arterial Detail) Pirtbsp Inlj7dlir®l®gj7 S o u t h E a s t F a l s e C r e e k Figure 95: Boilermaker Aveni je (Plan & Section) S e c t i o n 6 C o n c l u s i o n This thesis project has come to an end but there is much more learning and research to be done. In our urban centres we continually face new challenges and difficulties. The city of ten years ago is far different than the one we live in today. The increasing funding and development in information technology will surely alter the way in which we relate to our environment. The need for reconnecting with our natural landscapes, their natural processes, and secrets which they hold, increases as technology ob-scures the the boundary between artificiality and authenticity. Technology is a neces-sity in our growing global economy. Technology is helping us solve some of the envi-ronmental problems that we face today. Technology is a tool to help us; it is not nec-essarily a tool to rely on. To grow as a whole human being we need to explore the roots and real needs of our souls. Sometimes we are convinced otherwise, yet I be-lieve that technology cannot take us far beyond our superficial needs of day to day life. It is vital that we place much importance on the water, the soil and the air. We need natural processes to not only survive in a physical sense, but we also need to witness and interact with these processes in order to spiritually and psychologically develop. Interactions with other living things and the processes upon which they depend will help us to respect them and will, in turn, help us to understand and respect ourselves. I hope that this project has demonstrated the possibilities and opportunities that exist 145 by exposing the hydrological process in our urban centres. As our population expands the density of urban life is inevitable. The city will always be the hub of our societies. To live in a city will not offer as many opportunities to witness nature as a rural or a wil-derness settings, but it should indicate what proliferates beyond our city limits. I be-lieve that by offering these views of 'nature' the resources that lie out of touch, and perhaps out of sight, can be better protected. Allowing people the opportunity to inter-act with even a mere sampling of natural processes will increase the quality of life benefits to our urban dwellers. I hope that as our North American society becomes more eco-conscious increasing research will be undertaken to expose the benefits that interactions with nature offer us. 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