We are in a Climate Crisis.

While we understand the normalcy of a fluctuating landscape, our urban systems and regions are built with static, unchanging infrastructure that can rarely withstand modern ecological disasters. 

The pressures faced by urban regions are compounded by human-related activities, such as urbanization. As impervious surfaces sprawl across formerly protected greenbelts and seep into old growth forests, we put localities at risk from 
urban heat island, pollution, and environmental degredation...  

Through the lens of the 
Green New Deal, cities grapple with how to adapt built landscapes to sustain severe climatic conditions.  



Hindsight is 2020.

Video sourced from CTV NEWS - 2018

CNBC (Jeffery, 2017). Image taken by Steve Nesius.

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The New York Times (Barron, 2018). Image taken by Mogens Flindt.

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CNBC (Jeffery, 2017). Image taken by Todd Maisel.

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CNBC (Jeffery, 2017). Image taken by Steve Nesius.

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As studied in our resilient urbanism precedents, other cities are grappling with these very issues with questionable success. Copenhagen Cloudburst events: multiple 100-year storm events in under 10 years. In New York City, devastation from Hurricane Sandy in 2013 prompted the Resilience By Design competition to better adapt to our changing climate.

Our hope with this project is to better to understand the relationship of water as infrastructure versus water as life, since ultimately, both the natural and built systems exist symbiotically within our urban environment.

Capitalist modes of production, such as urban development, have also touched our natural environment. These modes of production primary occur through the ways in which we manage land, with the constant shaping and reshaping of our natural systems being at the core of urban design and planning.

Ecosystem services, a capitalistic production of nature, is our current path dependency, leaving us entrenched in patterns of commodifying, exploiting, and dominating nature. Reactionary, large-scale urban development projects framed as 'resilient urbanism' are often promoted as solutions to the growing ecological crises.

Ecosystem services, a capitalistic production of nature, is our current path dependency, leaving us entrenched in patterns of commodifying, exploiting, and dominating nature. Reactionary, large-scale urban development projects framed as 'resilient urbanism' are often promoted as solutions to the growing ecological crises.

Is there a better way?

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Urban resiliency is more than just the provision of robust ecological networks; the environment cannot be perceived or treated as an apolitical entity that we as humans can morph and mold endlessly. Social ecology calls for a dismantling of the capitalist tendency to dominate nature and instead encourages a more mutual and interdependent relationship with nature.

So what are designers doing about it?

As a group, we identified the core elements from one of our precedents in each of our designated sites of study.
 

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Living With The Bay

Interior | Nassau County, Long Island | (2012)

After World War II, Nassau County experienced a population wave that saw to rapid suburban development of its coastal landscape. It was not until 2012, that Hurricane Sandy brought to light the severity of Nassau’s failing urban infrastructure. Living with the Bay, developed for the Rebuild by Design initiative, identified three major regional threats, including storm surges, sea level rise and stormwater overflow. The design addressed key areas of concern along the Mill River, focused on 4 guiding principles: flood defense, ecological restoration, access and urban quality, and social resilience, all of which are addressed through a scale of local initiatives and regional planning frameworks.

Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge Urban Water Strategy

OMA | Hoboken | (2013)

Large parts of Hoboken were once marshland on a filled-in island, resulting in two thirds of the city experiencing the current issues of flash floods and storm surges, even from minor storms. Hurricane Sandy flooded a huge portion of the city, resulting in pressures to create an urban water strategy to combat these issues. The project consists of four phases: Resist, Delay, Store, and Discharge. Resist fortifies the Hudson River edge. Delay implements green roofs and rain gardens to slow stormwater runoff. Store implements constructed wetlands to control marshland conditions. Discharge will create enhancements to the existing stormwater management system to reduce combined sewage overflow and manage flooding.

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The New Meadowlands

MIT + LCAU, RBD | New Jersey | (2013)

The Meadowlands is located at the intersection of flood landscapes and critical urban infrastructure, serving as a commute and distribution hub for New York City. Lack of flood management planning devastated the area after Hurricane Sandy in 2013. The New Meadowlands Master Plan consists of two main components: a flood protection berm that oscillates in size and program depending on the surrounding environment (The Meadowlands Park), and areas of mixed-use development prioritizing a main street (The Meadowband).

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Cloudburst Strategic Flood Masterplan

Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl | Copenhagen | (2012)

The Cloudburst Strategic Flood Masterplan was created in response to the 2011 Cloudburst event that left the city under 150mm of water in less than two hours. The goals of this masterplan are to reduce the negative impacts of flash flood events by increasing the city’s collection and conveyance capacity to improve Copenhagen’s stormwatermanagement infrastructure. Water is carefully collected upstream by a series of retrofitted public spaces, then slowly filtered downstream through various vegetation strategies mixed with minimal elevation changes. A primary objective of this masterplan is the creation of surface channels in public spaces, framing stormwater management as social infrastructure, benefiting the community as a whole and creating collective community buy-in.

Have they been effective?

While some projects are trying to address issues with climate resilience and water quality, the reality is that there are issues with implementation, both with SCALE and with TIMING

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The common thread across these four precedents is that they were all a reaction to severe climatic events that are increasing in frequency and intensity as we move deeper into our global ecological crises. These typologies do no work in isolation—they work symbiotically as part of a larger system. Eliminating critical urban resilience components to meet construction timelines appears to lessen the promising vision of their design. These incremental approaches to implementation and development must be situated within the regional urban hydrologic system in order to be considered effective long-term.

Where does Toronto fit into all of this?

Current methods that the City of Toronto is using for stormwater management include the Wet Weather Flow Management Masterplan, which targets both flooding from cloudbursts and backed up sewers.

Assignment 1A Illustration_Topography &

This is how the WWFMP deals with blah. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text.

Assignment 1A Illustration_Topography &

This is how the WWFMP deals with blah. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text.

Assignment 1A Illustration_Topography &
Assignment 1A Illustration Wet Weather F
Assignment 1A Illustration Wet Weather F
Assignment 1A Illustration Wet Weather F
Assignment 1A Illustration_Topography &

This is how the WWFMP deals with blah. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text.

This is how the WWFMP deals with blah. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text.

This is how the WWFMP deals with blah. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text.

This is how the WWFMP deals with blah. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text.

This is how the WWFMP deals with blah. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text. Text lots of text.

Where are these areas of vulnerability?

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Initially we researched Toronto's topographic character and subsequent hydraulic networks. In deciding on our DAZ, we chose to consider the ways in which watersheds dictate the movement of water and how Toronto's decision making processes have influenced these systems.

Furthering our analysis of Toronto's decision making, a layer pertaining to transit considers where the city chooses to provide accessible means of transportation. To address the environmental health of the city and our urban ecologies, we chose to understand where toxic pollutants have become a prevalent concern. Overlaying social demographic data, particularly addressing the below neighborhood equity benchmark, would further reveal areas that deserve attention.

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What do we know about Black Creek?

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Rockcliffe-Smythe developed as a post-war suburb, and as a result of continuous development and urbanization, the area is now at high risk of increasingly frequent significant flooding events. Such events are defined as a rainfall of 100 mm of water in less than 2 hours.

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Rockcliffe-Smythe developed as a post-war suburb, and as a result of continuous development and urbanization, the area is now at high risk of increasingly frequent significant flooding events. Such events are defined as a rainfall of 100 mm of water in less than 2 hours.

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1. Future Transit Hub


2. Municipal Snow Storage Site


3. Urban Commons


4. Derelict Space


5. Neighbourhood Unit


6. School Grounds


7. [Post] Industrial


8. Towers in the Park


9. Neighbourhood Lung


10. Private Golf Course

Rockcliffe-Smythe developed as a post-war suburb, and as a result of continuous development and urbanization, the area is now at high risk of increasingly frequent significant flooding events. Such events are defined as a rainfall of 100 mm of water in less than 2 hours.

Rockcliffe-Smythe developed as a post-war suburb, and as a result of continuous development and urbanization, the area is now at high risk of increasingly frequent significant flooding events. Such events are defined as a rainfall of 100 mm of water in less than 2 hours.

What's it like to live here?

Let's ask the frogs!

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1. Future Transit Hub


2. Municipal Snow Storage Site


3. Urban Commons


4. Derelict Space


5. Neighbourhood Unit


6. School Grounds


7. [Post] Industrial


8. Towers in the Park


9. Neighbourhood Lung


10. Private Golf Course

Rockcliffe-Smythe developed as a post-war suburb, and as a result of continuous development and urbanization, the area is now at high risk of increasingly frequent significant flooding events. Such events are defined as a rainfall of 100 mm of water in less than 2 hours.

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Local Park Poster Final Final-01.jpg
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Where do we go from here?

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With an emphasis on low impact development and responding primarily to the severe issues of urban flooding, our proposal map highlights spaces for upzoning, downzoning, and spaces for flux and indeterminacy, all derived from our previous block typologies.

Welcome to the Neighbourhood Unit (new names will reflect after program)!

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Welcome to the Post-Industrial!

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Welcome to the Towers in the Park!

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Welcome to the Golf Course!

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So how do the frogs feel now?

Insert Travel Posters Below.

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