Dec 20, 2011

Creating Ecological Infrastructure for a city

By – Anoop Jha

Urban green with radiating river canal as a sustainable urban planning model

River provides ample opportunities of growth but it appears that majority of cities have not taken advantage of this dormant potential, most of the cities throughout the world have not even been able to handle the issues related to river like recurring floods, water pollution etc. forget about the utilization of river potential for the benefit of city. Thriving lush green riverfront has become a luxury which very few cities have been able to afford till now while rest of the world seems either totally engrossed in solving other urban problems and internal issues or they are content doing beautification of Neighborhood Parks. Greener Neighborhood Park is a good idea in short term but not a sustainable environmental solution for city in long term.

Cities can trade in carbon credit but unfortunately cannot trade in quality of environment of a city. What they need to do is to create a tangible ecological infrastructure for a sustainable urban environment. For a river city it is very crucial to understand the need of exploiting the possible opportunities as well as tackling the grave problems of recurring flood and river water pollution.  River system with all its tributaries is like arteries of a leaf which carries all the minerals and nutritious content mixed in water from root to leaf tip. Cities with its built mass present an obstruction in the natural direction of flow of river. Cities can be built to facilitate the natural flow of river and should be planned to dissipate the extra water from the city fabric causing flood, as quickly as possible.

A model of sustainable ecological plan for a city can be like a leaf with its arteries’ alignment opposite the river flow, Green streak emerging from river bank, nurtured by river water itself which is carried through the narrow canals in the middle of radiating greens from the lush river bank. Radiating canals into the city fabric will not only help reduce the impact of flood by providing extra water holding capacity in times of flood hence giving extra time and cushion to tackle flood problem, but it will also provide space to create lust green natural and recreational zones all along the urban canal, giving breathing space up to the unreached recesses of cities where it is most required. Aligning radiating canals in somewhat differing direction of river flow will help reduce the possibility of city flooding due to these canals to reinforce the protection mechanism, control gates can also the added at the junction of canal and river. It is like having multiple canal bank development inside the city fabric radiating from river rather than having one riverbank development or rather ignored and polluted river cutting through the city. 

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