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EXTREME CITY Climate Change and the transformation of the waterscape

Lorenzo Fabian Paola Viganò Eds.

Università Iuav di Venezia Dipartimento di Urbanistica




Lorenzo Fabian, Paola Vigano eds. Università Iuav di Venezia

ERASMUS INTENSIVE PROGRAM UPC Barcelona TU Delft KU Leuven Iuav Venezia

EXTREME CITY Climate Change and the transformation of the waterscape

Public presentation of the workshop result’s and final debate: open discussion_ final presentation

13.4.2010 Tolentini aula c3 ore 11.30

coordination Paola Viganò, Lorenzo Fabian website


EXTREME CITY CL I M AT E CH A N G E A N D T H E TRA NS FORM AT I O N O F TH E W AT ERSCA PE Lorenzo Fabian, Paola Vigano eds. coordination and organisation of the IP: L. Fabian, P. Viganò maps and editing of reports: C. Cavalieri with C. Furlan, C. Nicosia tutors of the IP UPC Barcelona T. Arbona P. Elinbaum B. Horrach TU Delft S. Tiallinji D.Zandbelt F. Hooimeijer KU Leuven M. Dehaene IUAV Venezia C. Cavalieri L. Fabian B. Secchi P. Viganò and B.MC Grath (NY Parson school) V. Artico (Consorzio di Bonifica Piave) website of the IP administrative organization of the IP L.Basile, S. Zabeo and S. Pastrello Ufficio Mobilità studenti Iuav character Fago Off Sans Foundry Journal Print Grafiche Leone, Dolo Venezia cover photograph A. Pertoldeo revision/translation of English D. Ronayne published by © June 2010 Università Iuav di Venezia Via Tolentini, S. Croce 191 30135 Venezia, Italy ISBN 978-88-87697-43-8 2





Extreme city: a design and a research theme Paola Viganò THE EX TREME CI T IES IN THE AGE OF CL IMATE CHANGE

28 34 44 60

68 76 80 92

water dispute: micro-stories Extreme cities: water conflicts Bernardo Secchi Two waterways in Palestine Valentina Bandieramonte Shrinkage. A micro-story of Lake Aral’s drainage area Gianni Talamini An ocean to drink. Notes on urbanism in the age of climate change Michiel Dehaene small dictionary on CC Introduction Chiara Cavalieri Mitigation and adaptation Caterina Pregazzi On resistance Martina Barcelloni Corte On resilience Chiara Cavalieri THREE EUROPEAN TERRI TORIES

109 119

Delta region metropolitan area Planning with water, dilemmas and strategies Sybrand Tjallingii Rotterdam closed rivercity: water dam Aarti Sharma, Andrea Curtoni, Diogo Pires Ferreira, Giulia Mazzorin, Linh



126 131

135 140 150

Ngoc Le. Meghal Kodia Rotterdam open rivercity Tahereh Keimanesh, Sara King, Carlo Pisano, Diego Luna Quintanilla, Veronica Saddi, Vasiliki Tsioutsiou Barcelona metropolitan area Towards a strategy for agricultural landscape interaction. Delta of LLobregat Pablo Elinbaum, Biel Horrach Estarellas Landscapes of the Ebro. A territory cut by infrastructure Pablo Elinbaum, Biel Horrach Estarellas Venetian metropolitan area On agricultural space in the cittĂ diffusa and its importance for the future Viviana Ferrario Water sensitive design for the cittĂ  diffusa of the Veneto Region Giambattista Zaccariotto Laguna forma urbis 2108 Elisa Brusegan, Emanuele Dal Zot, Giulia Grobbo, Nicola Maniero A TERRI TORY BUILT BY WATER


A water [re]search Lorenzo Fabian ALONG T HE VENE TO PL A IN: On-the-spot investigation in between the rivers Piave and Brenta


The dry plain Hydrarchy+ Sara King , Miguel Vanleene, Melisa Pesoa Marcilla, Charles Yan Gore, Zhang Yingtian, Diego Luna Quintanilla, Rebeca Perez Castera, Nicola Maniero Acqua diffusa Andrea Cremasco, Takumi Kimura,, Ling Chen, Fernanda Escayola, Tahereh Keimanesh, Veronica Saddi, Vasiliki Tsioutsiou


The low wet plain Wet wet wet Juan Argemi, Carlo Pisano, Aarti C Sharma, Gabriela Secco, Michele Girelli Water boundaries Francesca Arca, Alessandra Cassol, Maura Rossi



The coastline and the lagoon Xtreme lagoon/retreat resist Jonathan Blaseg, Marta Finotello, Le Ngoc Linh, Miguel Cuellas, Giulia Mazzorin, Eli Grønn, Diogo Pires Ferreira Landscape of the extreme. What if...the lagoon would expand to allow resilience Serena Causin, Andrea Curtoni, Cecilia Furlan , Rana Habibi, Kris Huismans, Meghal Kodiya, Monica Netti, Joel Sanabra,Barbara Sandra ON CC DESIGN

267 281

The extreme architect Brian McGrath Dialogue with design Jimena Garcia Galindo, Carlo Pin, Kaveh Rashidzadeh, Philippe Vandenbroeck






Five meter elevation contour line The 5 contour line enables the identification of lowlands which are vulnerable to significant sea level rise and the risk of flooding. Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: EEA: EUROSION, European Environment Agency:



Extreme situations A research on the water space in conditions of climate change and in territories such as the Venice lagoon with its metropolitan area means exploring an "extreme city". These territories are extreme for different reasons: the urbanized land margins close to the water’s edge lie where the maximum risk is located, both when we consider the sea or the lagoon edges, but also along the rivers and in general along the incredibly dense water network that characterises the region. In the case of the metropolitan area of Venice a vast surface lies below the sea-level or is low-lying and risks flooding by the rising sea, or simply if pumping water beyond the dykes is ceased. If we take a look at a map of Europe showing the 5 meters contour line, the situation becomes immediately clear: the European coastline features a series of “extreme territories”, lowlands usually reclaimed in time for habitation and cultivation. If in many cases the risk areas lie extremely close to the coastline (often densely inhabited), other wider “extreme territories” are located in northern Holland and Germany, in Jutland, along the Thames estuary in Great Britain, on some parts of the western French coast… areas often containing important harbours where activities have already been restricted because of the climate change risk. The metropolitan area of Venice is one of these extreme areas of Europe. How and how much can urban and territorial design, integrated with hydraulic engineering, landscape ecology, geography… tackle and contrast the negative effects of the ongoing mutations? What scenarios can be individuated? What prototypes of integrated infrastructures can be imagined? According to the definition of the IPCC [1996] the vulnerability of a territory to climate change measures the potential damage that may be produced and the degree to which a system might be modified. In the case of coasts, vulnerability, meaning the current incapacity to face the consequences of climate change and the raising of the sea level, is extreme. More specifically, the situation of the Venice lagoon is so fragile that the risks of inland flooding need to be reduced, not only in order to impede or lessen direct damage, but also because of the damage that could be produced in the lagoon itself, worsening the already harsh and severe situation there. If the lagoon, because of the present difficulties to adapt it to future conditions, is the most vulnerable part, the hinterland seems to be more flexible, its grade of resilience, its capacity to re-find stable conditions after an event, can be gone into as much as its resistance, i.e. the ability not to be perturbed by events. 11

extreme city: brainstorming during the IP 12

It is evident that these new conditions require an integrated approach and non traditional design strategies. A dialogue with other disciplines is required along with the comprehension of specific logics, those which determine the rules of water design and management, which have to a large extent contributed and still contribute to the definition of the territory today. A research on the “extreme city”, marginal, borderline territories, the spaces in contact with water can also teach us a lot about possible approaches and solutions in other similarly dispersed territories that have been compared to the case study (the Dutch coast, the Barcelona metropolitan area, the Belgian coast, or even the Shanghai irrigation plain, or the sprawling city connecting the main coasts in Taiwan). A “research by design” approach seems very pertinent to tackle a “research and design theme” that is able to conjugate the existing conditions of the different water and settlement systems in an approach made using scenarios and prototypes. The conditions have changed again This title takes up the title of an article by Bernardo Secchi "The conditions have changed" from 19841. At that time Secchi maintained that "designing today means tackling problems, using methods, expressing intentions different to even the recent past". Taking up this title helps to recall the ongoing change of context within which the study we are carrying out takes place. The conditions change and question the conceptual structurework by which we observe the world. At times, and the current moment in time would certainly be one of these, the greatest effort goes towards deconstructing known theorems and trying out new approaches. Three main themes today define a new “urban question”. The extremisation of environmental risks, along with the deep crisis which many local and global economies are going through and the progressive growth of social distances define the re-arising of this question, urban being the condition in which today the majority of the world’s population lives in and because non urban practises are becoming more and more rare, even when the territories involved are not urban. These three fields of problems, particularly serious within the large metropolitan areas, arose one independently from the other, but in time they have become interdependent. The urban crisis reveals the problem of a democratic solution to the same. At this point many authors prospect a theme of “environmental justice” associated with climate change, referring to a concept of a fair distribution of benefits and limitations in space. This case having a particular feature: if it be true that there are populations that live in areas of greater risk, it is equally true that, for the solution to work, it has to be extended to the greatest number of people if it is to work at all. The environmental emergency knows no distinction between rich and poor areas, even if its effects are not homogeneous in the various parts of the 13

WATER SYSTEM AND GEOLOGICAL STRIPS Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: - Provincial Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia Ctr (regional maps) - PTCR 2009 (regional territorial coordination plan) of the Regione Veneto; - PTA 2006 (water protection plan) of ARPAV (Veneto environmental protection agency).



gravel and sand


territory. In the prospects of an “after Kyoto”, this condition throws light on a dilemma: elitist and limited solutions for our environmental problems just do not exist, they would not have longlasting, general consequences, if not extensive, comprehensive as well as systemic and not fragmentary. The point is hence the necessary democratisation of the proposals and the actions that concern environmental topics and risks. To what extent can the ecological question be seen as a democratic question? The metropolitan area of Venice: an extreme city The case study proposed to the participants at the Intensive Programme was that of the metropolitan area of the central Veneto, the drainage basin of the Venice lagoon. Venice constitutes an extreme case of the control of natural processes starting from a sophisticated water management that covers the entire territory and not only that of the lagoon. This aspect has been underlined by many studies2 that have extended the various episodes of a history in which water management, lifestyles and models of society have been modified in time in parallel ways. The extreme character of the control of water and nature is taken up by an interesting and recent study that likens the Venetian territory to that of Las Vegas and defines them “historically evolved metaphors, as it were, for the looming catastrophe”3. Even for a historian of environmental processes such as Piero Bevilacqua, Venice is a “planetary metaphor” (Bevilacqua, 1998). The extreme city we intend investigating is highly complex: reflecting on the consequences of climate change firstly takes us on to the specificity of the context, the infinite territorial relations on a theme that can be schematically defined in terms of a probable raising of the seal level, increase in periods of drought along with increase in intensity of rainfall, a greater probability of extreme events. If these phenomena affect a sizeable part of the world surface, they will take on specific characteristics in each territory and we can be convinced of this starting off from the empirical evidence of climate change, from the problems that this already poses, that reinforces the need for a study on the possible consequences. The interest of this territory consists in the notable variety of situations that go to make up the same, from the first reliefs by the sea we cross a dry plain, as in the north where the subsoil is made of gravel and the relation to water is the opposite of the one in the middle wet plain, with clay soil, where the problem is expelling the water. In the dry plain the problem is to bring and provide water for irrigation, avoiding its immediate infiltration into the water table, or to depurate the water to be infiltrated in order to diminish the current pollution of the water table. Along the mid wet plain, the centuriatio weaves its way at different angles to accommodate slopes which allow water to flow away from the impermeable ground. In the middle ages, the Benedictine order reclaimed the abandoned drainage system, partially reconstructing it and 15

propelling it into the modern era. In the fifteenth century the great diversion of rivers entering the lagoon was started by the Venetian Republic, this in order to avoid the filling of the protective water surface with sand and gravel brought from the northern mountains. Rivers were displaced to the east and to the west of the lagoon, in an incredible effort which is at the origin of the new science of hydrology. In the 1930s, the Fascist period, huge reclamation works were carried out in the low wet areas around the lagoon with procedures of polderization not too different from the Dutch ones, although the ground in question is only partially below the sea level. The rationalisation was intense enough to completely change the physical and ecological character of the land, using complex systems of dykes, ditches, pumping stations to create new areas for industrial agriculture. The water space is at the centre of our attention, even if, as is evident, it does not cover all the relevant aspects, yet it constitutes the key to entering into an even greater spectrum of themes.

Workshop "Climate Change: scenarios for new Territories", UniversitĂ IUAV di Venezia, 2009 Scenario Is-land? Students: Bonadio Alessandro, Andrea Curtoni, Giulia Mazzorin, Ilenia Salmaso 16

Hypothesis Hence the “Extreme City” Intensive Programme had as its objective the study of the water space in the construction of the territory of today and the relations of the same with climate change. The hypothesis, pursued during numerous studies4, is that this theme, trans-scalar, multi and interdisciplinary, enables us to rethink a vaster territorial project: opening up to new questions, like managing energy and biodiversity, throwing a different light onto the traditional themes of urbanism, like that of urbanisation, soil surface sealing and the productive modes of use of agricultural territory. The borderline coastal and lagoon areas call for an “extreme” reflection that regard the future of the same along with an innovatory perception of the territories of settlement dispersion: an integrated project that combines the ecological, geographic, landscape as well as urban and architectural dimension, placing a particular attention on the collective imaginations that coagulate and intersect around the themes of urbanised space, environment, of the risks and changes connected to the same.


Workshop "Climate Change: scenarios for new Territories", UniversitĂ IUAV di Venezia, 2009, strategies to reuse gravel pits. Scenario Is-land? Students: Bonadio Alessandro, Andrea Curtoni, Giulia Mazzorin, Ilenia Salmaso 18

To date the consequences of the climate changes on the development of the territories of settlement dispersion have been little if at all looked into. The Intensive Programme has proposed to further the knowledge on this theme highlighting the contribution that urbanism, landscape architecture, water management and hydraulic and environmental engineering can draw up together: this contribution is an attempt to catch up on the delay with which the various disciplines are only just beginning to formulate joint approaches, positions and strategies5. Here considerations generally lead to the protection or the conservation of the existing, or again to the management and the protection of spaces and contexts with strong natural components. In actual fact contemporary territories often feature intermediary conditions in which highly natural areas mix or stand alongside areas already strongly occupied by man, like in the densely urbanised contexts, in those featuring a weak and diffuse urbanisation, or in agricultural contexts. The urban environment, especially if diffuse, can be interpreted as a bridge between multiple ecologies, not standing in opposition to but forming connective elements between practises of habitation and biodiversity. Cities have always been located, for obvious reasons, right in the very midst of the areas most rich in biodiversity, where the soil, the water, the climate, the altitude enable the different species to develop. It is right there where the urbanized regions have extended the most and where the strongest links between natural dynamics and urban environment might be sought. A research program this that today is still in its infancy and that could lead us to modify many of our projectual practices. The water space is vector of significant environmental and biological conditions that cross the entire territory and its different degrees of urbanisation (natural-, urban-, agricultural-, polluted and diffusely inhabited territory) and can be studied by placing at the centre the entire complex of the elements that constitute the hydrological system, be these natural (lagoons, rivers, lesser water courses) or repeated and capillary man-made creations (systems of irrigation for agriculture, systems for water captation, abduction and distribution for inhabited areas, storage basins, purification and disposal systems). Marginal territories, the spaces in contact with water will evermore by “extreme” areas also because they have a greater biodiversity and are more vulnerable: studying these areas of transition will enable us to read problems and phenomena that also arise in other parts of the territory with greater clarity. In this context we have tried to use climate change as a «connector»7, a global risk capable of defining new relations and approaches: a conceptual-, technical-, social and political catalyser. The scenarios of water, of energy and biodiversity built during the Intensive Programme have looked into this hypothesis. The idea is that of broadly exploring the relations that can be established between the city project and the water project. The notion of project is here not used perchance. If this is more familiar to us in the field of architecture 19

Workshop "Climate Change: scenarios for new Territories", UniversitĂ IUAV di Venezia, 2009 Scenario W/Netlands Students: Francesca Arca, Alessandra Cassol, Cecilia Furlan, Maura Rossi 20

and urbanism, it is equally strong in the dominions of water management, of development of biodiversity, in energy cost containment measures and renewable energy production. These are all the same projects that are very different from each other, habitually structured by paradigms that are almost in opposition to each other. The design activities have attempted to set up a relation between the different projects with the conviction that a dynamic, evolutive and integrated approach can unite the different notions under a greater horizon of meaning suited to the complex challenges the territory is subjected to today. Design and climate changed Not only does a reflection still not exist to date on the capacity of the territories of settlement dispersion to tackle the process of mitigation and adaptation associated with climate change, but not even does a clear awareness of the difficulties of suiting our tools, both conceptual and operative, to a project that introjects the consequences and takes on the responsibility for the same. “We have no politics of climate change” writes Anthony Giddens provocatively but realistically (Giddens 2009:4); in the same way we could say “we have no design for climate change”. The objectives of the Intensive Programme have been to contribute to the definition of a new projectual approach: attempting to tackle the complex questions of water in the design of today’s territory integrally; proposing a study carried out by project tools !research by design", using techniques and forms of knowledge produced during the design or project phase; lastly, by proposing a multi-disciplinary approach, fundamental to tackling complex questions such as those associated with the consequences of climate change. The design of integrated spatial devices, capable of adapting to and absorbing the change, or to resisting to the new conditions has been tackled starting from the themes of infrastructure and mobility, of the settlement and restructuring patterns of the existing buildings; from the need to guarantee more space for water, via the building of wetlands, the lamination and captation of rainwater, etc… These attempts have been useful to better trace out the field of changes, the project of which I will attempt to define here followingly: 1. think in the longterm. IPCC scenarios extended to 2050 or to 2100 well show the timespan in which we find ourselves in for inserting our project reflections. When the horizon is so far off not only do forecasts, already discredited, lose their sense and the gaps between the different scenarios take on importance, but the entire project idea appears fragile and poorly founded. If the future appears nebulous, the risk of a “doom and gloom” or against that the “cynic environmentalism” approach taking hold is higher and often not very helpful. The longterm though brings back to the fore the reflection on the future as a stance, as an intellectual approach that from the present 21

reflects together on the past and on the future and does so at all times, even when one is planning out a limited intervention. The insertion of the longterm enables one to also think out what, within more limited time limits, one could not possibly question. The extension in time of the possibilities constitutes an opportunity, but requires the project to be inserted within broader frames which assert the legitimacy of the same. A renewed relation with the human as well as environmental sciences appears necessary. 2. representing time. If a long timespan becomes part of the projectual construction, the theme of its representation becomes fundamental. The project evolves in time, along with the context it intends modifying; the strategies used make sense within given limits in time and space and can change and even oppose each other. The relationship/ratio between resistance and resilience strategies, for example, shows up their interrelationary and complementary nature. Representing time is both conceiving the project in time and designing it in different forms in time. 3. imagining alternative future. The breaking in of the long timespan into projectual reflection, reintroduces the possibility of radical thinking, that not only "thinks the unthinkable", but might come to subject the entire cultural, economic and social edifice in which the exercise is carried out to criticism. In the event of the consequences of climate change, the future alternative concerns fundamental changes in the practice, in the lifestyles, in the objectives which we set ourselves. This appears to me as a delicate point. If on the one hand it might bring an utopian tension to drawing up projects, on the other hand it applies layers of ideologies, the usefulness of which is not always proven. At any rate, the alternative thought has the advantage of showing that things could be different from what they are and open up to discussions needed to establish the terms of the question and the design logic. The Intensive Programme has touched on all the preceding points, enabling the matter to be further gone into and new possible studies, such as that already seen in the workshop “Climate Change: scenarios for new Territories”7 organized in preparation for “Extreme City” also at the Venice IUAV University in 2009. On that occasion the main elements of a strategy of mitigation and adaptation were declined between the mountains and the lagoon, the idea being to allow the low-lying areas to be flooded once again, using the embankments existing in some points as an already constituted line in support of new interventions, to subsequently use the clay and gravel pits for storing water and to reuse the network of canals to hook the new system up to the main network. “Extreme City” has again taken up some of these themes and has better stated the resistance/resilience approach of the same. The discussion between research graduate students in urbanism, the EMU students and 22

students from the different masters was extremely dense and highly committal. Conclusions Starting from the case study proposed, the Intensive Programme has been an occasion for reflection, even providing partial and provisional answers, on the modalities with which the environmental emergencies derived from climate change can offer the opportunity for a renewed project of the city and the territory, capable of structuring the same differently. Designing the water space, the reduction of energy consumption and the production or renewable energy in fact means, first and foremost, imagining the coexistence of species and environments that are different. It means designing the mixité of things, populations and functions, taking on the great challenges of the coming future: the economic crisis, the conflicts for the appropriation of the energy resources, the risks for human health, the supply of drinking water, more in general the consequences of climate change. The objective of the Intensive Programme has been to make a contribution to facing this important series of questions. Notes

1 The title was taken up during some master classes of the Phd in Urbanistics 2008 and 2009. 2 Among the best known writings: Bevilacqua P., 1998; Cosgrove D., Platonism and Practicality: hydrology, engineering and landscape in sixteenth-century Venice, in (Cosgrove, Petts 1990). 3 See (Valentien 2010). 4 For example see: (Viganò 2008a), (Viganò 2008b), (Viganò et al., 2009). 5 Already at the beginning of the ’90 Cosgrove invoked the need for a new paradigm and the building of new alliances (Cosgrove, Petts 1990). 6 See also the recent reflections of S. Sassen on this count (Sassen 2009). 7 Report can be consulted


- Bevilacqua P., 1998, Venezia e le acque. Una metafora planetaria, Donzelli, Roma - Cosgrove D., Platonism and Practicality:hydrology, engineering and landscape in sixteenth-century Venice, in (Cosgrove, Petts 1990) - Cosgrove D., Petts G., 1990, eds., Water, Engineering and Landscape, CBS Publishers (Indian edition 1992), New Dehli - Giddens A., 2009, The politics of Climate Change, Polity Press, Cambridge - Sassen S., 2009, Bridging the Ecologies of Cities and Nature, in Rosemann J., Sepulved D., The New Urban Question, Urbanism beyond Neo-Liberalism, Ifou, Rotterdam - Secchi B., “Le condizioni sono cambiate”, Casabella n. 498/499 - Valentien D., 2010, eds., Wiederkehr der Landschaft/Return of Landscape, Jovis/Akademie der Künste - Viganò P., 2008a, “Water and Asphalt, The Project of Isotropy in the Metropolitan Region of Venice”, Architectural Design, vol. 78 - Viganò P., 2008b, Water: on the power of forms and devices, in Feyen J., Shannon K., Neville M., eds., Water and Urban Development Paradigms: Towards an Integration of Engineering, Design and Management, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis, London - Viganò P. et al, 2009, Paesaggi dell’acqua/Landscapes of water, Risma, Pordenone





B. Secchi, M. Dehaene, V. Bandieramonte, G. Talamini



cities over 5 million populated

urban areas

main hydrography

World main hydrography and urban areas Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: GLWD, Global Lakes and Wetlands Database

EX T REM E CI T I ES: WAT E R CO N FL I C T S Bernardo Secchi

Water is today at the centre of numerous conflicts. This has always been the case. Local and global conflicts that become a privileged observation point for observing and studying vaster themes that progressively move away from water to invest other dimensions of politics, of society, of knowledge. The two case studies presented are an example of this. Geopolitical conflicts first and foremost: the deviation of the waters of the Jordan downstream of lake Tiberias, like the definition of the borders of the new states born out of the disintegration of the Soviet empire, regardless of the extension and the configuration of the catchment basins of the large rivers and, in general, of the waters of the southern and eastern regions of the ex-empire, have eminently geopolitical origins and it is on this terrain that very probably the price for the mistakes made in the past will be paid in the future. Commercial conflicts in second place: the question of the cotton of Uzbekistan, like that of other countries, for example Nigeria, is a case in point. The protectionist policies of US cotton producers are very close to geopolitical conflict. In a world that declares itself to be liberalistic, open to the circulation of goods, that declares it is guided by the choice of the nation best endowed for the production of each product or commodity, the defence of US cotton dumping and the sky high rates upheld by the US economy, in an evermore globalised world, leads to the ruin of producers and agriculture in other parts of the world. Conflicts between alternative uses of water: everywhere the conflict between domestic, industrial and agricultural use and the use of water for hydroelectric production of energy has in recent years become evermore evident. 29 EX TREME C I T IES


flood risk mortality

main hydrography

Flood Risk Distribution Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: GLWD, Global Lakes and Wetlands Database; GWSP Digital Water Atlas (2008). Map 78: Flood Risk Distribution;

The domestic uses of water, for example; these have grown everywhere, over the last two centuries, to an alarming degree. Taken as an index of progress, of higher hygienic and sanitary standards they have been powerfully and rightfully incentivated by welfare policies. At the same time much industrial production has shown itself to be evermore in need of water. The price of water, indeed considered a commodity actually available to infinity, solely reflected the investment costs required for the provision of the same and for the upkeep of the relative infrastructure. But over the decades it has been realised that water, like other natural resources, is not infinitely available. This has come to the attention of the big financial and industrial groups that are tending towards securing for themselves the monopoly of the most important world water reserves. In the future the supply of water will take place in an oligopolistic manner, compelling agriculture to reduce its consumption, with the resorting to new irrigation techniques that will have sizeable, often devastating effects on the territory, and this when climate change would wish to indicate a greater care for the territory, the vegetation, biodiversity. Lastly, these two aspects will ever further limit the production of hydroelectric energy in many countries, it being limited to providing for peaks or emergencies. Hydroelectric energy, a noble example of renewable energy, the most valuable form of energy because it does not need to be converted, like for example thermal energy, to run our citrus fruit squeezers, the same as our industries, cities and railway lines, will be restrained in favour of other less noble forms of energy production. Hence a vast constellation of agents, all with different powers are, often unwillingly, immersed in this conflict: from the Uzbek or north Italian small-farmer, to the board of directors of the big European and US companies that control, market and distribute water. As in any oligopolistic regime water prices are destined to increase and the allocation of the resource will be far from optimum. Conflicts of knowledge: water has played an important role in the constitution of modern science. With astronomy and mechanics, starting from the end of the 15th up to the beginning of the 16th century hydraulics is seen to be a model of a “new science� that subjects its hypotheses, rigorously formulated in a mathematical and abstract language, to empirical verification or falsification. Today we can recognise that the great achievement at the beginning of modernity has been the rationalisation of older knowledge that had patiently enabled, through the accumulation in all parts of the planet of a great many experiences, successes and failures, to correctly pinpoint the principal theoretical and applicative problems. In time the new science has given rise to evermore ambitious undertakings, to important engineering works that, with a certain arrogance, have tried to change the geography of entire and vast regions, in some cases provoking serious problems. The two case studies we 31 EX TREME C I T IES





very low

Likelihood of Groundwater Conflict

very high




very low

no data

water availability


World water availability Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: GWSP Digital Water Atlas (2008). Map 23: Likelihood of Groundwater Conflict 1; UNEP, Water Poverty Index

are discussing are an example of this. Over recent years reflection, thrust on by subjects linked to climate change, has produced, not only as far as hydraulic engineering is concerned, a serious critical analysis of this part of more recent history and the technical cultures that have formed and consolidated themselves within the same. Hence one has begun to ponder over the “errors of the engineers”, as should always be done for every field of theoretical reflection and applied science. In particular, one has begun to understand that behind many of the ambitions of great projects lay poor knowledge and all to high political ambitions. This has led to the creation of new paradigms that on the one hand recuperate the premodern wisdom from which the “new science” started out, but that on the other hand still have great difficulty in staking a place for themselves. Each of these conflicts traverse scales and time, from the local to the global scale, from the immediate to the longterm response, but all are indissolubly linked to each other. One is hard put to solve one without involving the other and this naturally makes any solution all the more difficult.


fig. 1: John Bartholomew, Palestine, Ancient and Modern, 1873. Source: University of Alabama Map Library 34

T WO W ATERW AYS IN PA L E S T I N E Valentina Bandieramonte

Foreword The century-long, extremely violent and unresolved armed conflicts, to all intents and purposes still underway in the Middle East, may be associated to more common social claims or more ordinary financial speculation issues, when seen through the lens of water resources. Historically, in these regions the quantity of available fresh water has always been scarce. Its function as “natural resource for most vital human needs” has always been guided by the rule of saving or - differently said - o careful use. With the coming of modernity, its use has been rationalized and capitalized. Today water is the object of a dispute between the people and powers of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Occupied Territories (West Bank and the Gaza Strip) and on another front Syria again, Turkey, Iraq and Kurdish lands1. Speaking of a resource naturally independent of formal national borders, in this text I will use the name Palestine to refer to the Near East region that includes: the Anti-Lebanon mountains on the north, the Golan Heights on the north-east (Syria, occupied by Israel in 1967), the Jordan rift valley to the east (Jordanian Kingdom and Palestinian Territories), and bounded to the south by the Aqaba gulf on the Red Sea (Israel and Jordanian Kingdom), to the south-west by the Sinai peninsula (Egypt), to the west by the Mediterranean coast (Israel). Why should we talk about Palestine in this workshop? Always pertinent and necessary, similar issues are not new: many times it has been asked if this land has to be looked at as “the other side of the moon” or if it should rather be considered as another part of the world whose issues demand public denunciation, personal solidarity or international intervention. To answer, I share and quote Franco Fortini’s expression “Paesi Allegorici”2 (allegorical places), that Edoarda Masi has interpreted as: “places where the contradictions that tear us apart are more intense and therefore more evident”3. Other were the times and hopes of that expression; in our case, it suggests that those contradictions we also share may turn into extremely violent tools. 35 EX TREME C I T IES

fig. 2: Palestine in a British Map, 1924 Source: National Library of Scotland

fig. 3: Palestine, Map showing the armistice demarcation lines, Ralph J. Bunche (Acting Mediator), 1949 Source: U.N. Information System on the Question of Palestine

fig. 4: Palestine, satellite image, 2008 Source: Earth Snapshot fig. 5: Surface Water (in red, the israeli water pipeline) Source: Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA). 36

Two waterways Looking both at historical and current representations of the Palestinian territory (fig. 1-4), the river Jordan, the main permanent water resource on its surface immediately springs to the eye. Its headwater is located in the Golan Heights, resulting from the confluence of three rivers: the Hasbani– Senir flowing from Lebanon, the Banyas–Nahl Hermon and the Qafi–Nahal Liddani (Dan) both flowing from Mount Hermon–Jabal-al-Shaykh. The upper Jordan reaches Lake Tiberiade (Sea of Galilee or Kenneret lake) to then flow on towards the Dead Sea (lower Jordan). Looking to these representations one can also acknowledge the remarkable difference between the altitude of the Golan Height (Mount Hermon is 2814 m) and Lake Tiberiade (about 200 m below sea level, as the lake lies already in the Jordan rift valley). Reaching at its lowest point more than 400 m below sea level, this important fault line continues on the south as the huge wadi Arabah. Here, seasonally, coming from other wadies in the east and the west of the region, waters flow together, serving as rainwater and sediment disposal, and then as tributaries to the aquifers. Even if these maps and pictures show in different ways different parts of the territory, the variations of the Dead Sea’s shoreline is immediately evident, featuring the most significant hydro-geologic change that has occurred within the last fifty years . Today (fig 4) this big salt lake is divided in two parts by what was once the El Lisan peninsula. The scientific community has alternately described this phenomenon as either a “natural” one (as the result of climate change and the ancient hydrogeological history of the Dead Sea) or as an “anthropic” one (related to severe water exploitation taking place on the upper Jordan, as well as on the upstream of its tributaries, the Yarmouk river flowing through Syria and Jordan especially; as well as by the intense extraction of Salt and Potassium carried out by Israeli and Jordanian industries along the southern shore of the Dead Sea)5. This southern part of the Jordan rift valley has been the focus of most European hydro-geological researches, especially those conducted between the two world wars. With them, the greatest number of misinterpretations has been conceived and gathered. To name just one between these researchers, the chairman of the “German Committee for the Advancement of Jewish Settlement in Palestine” – as well as a renowned specialist in urbanization and demographic issues – Carl Ballod wrote in 1918: In general terms, also the 120.000 ha Jordan valley could be used for settlements. Although it has been dry steppe in antiquity, for there has never been a government able to take enough effort to neither build the proper dam system in the 20-30 m deep Jordan River nor to build side-channels (as the Egyptian “Joseph-channel”). 37 EX TREME C I T IES

fig. 6: Southern Dead Sea. Landscape, 2009 Source: picture by the author

fig. 7: Southern Dead Sea. Salt deposit on cliffs, 2009 Source: picture by the author 38

[...] Irrigation and cultivation of the Jordan-valley is one of the biggest problems in the process of Palestine’s colonisation. There is more than enough water. 91 cubic decimetres of water per second is the amount of water the Jordan River carries into the Dead-sea to evaporate, with no use for the human economy. Even only half of this water could be sufficient for the irrigation of the whole valley, providing 1200 mm of additional water supply to the rift area, enough to grow rice and sugarcane, which grow very easily in such predominantly tropical climate 6.

The Jordan rift valley water system was considered to be a “wrong” one: the fact that the river ended its course in the Dead Sea simply represented a waste of fresh water 7. The “seasonal” specificity both of the hydro-geological system (especially of the thick wadi network) and of the socio-economic activities related to it (interchange between crop growing and sheep farming, settled and nomadic life) well known to the European scientific community dealing with Middle-eastern studies 8 , clashed with the European settlement programs for Palestine. Such programs discussed of “population capacity” 9 abstractly related to the existent territory, that is statistically measured over a one-year time period. Likewise the climate interpretations. Well-known for his later writings about imperialism, in 1917 Fritz Sternberg wrote: Rainfall is approximately corresponding to the German one: moreover, if compared to the European one, Palestinian rainfall is especially favourable since it rains only in certain months and not over the whole year; therefore, by means of systematic implementation of artificial irrigation techniques, there are wide perspectives for water exploitation 10.

Ballod himself concluded his chapter about settlement possibilities in Palestine as follows: As far as Palestine has enough land suited for agriculture, rainfall is sufficient for harvesting over a one-year time frame11.

European interest in Palestine – that harks back to well before 1914, also of the powers that formerly owned the territory – tells of a conflict between two different statutes of the water resource: as a source of life to be saved on the one hand, as a quantifiable substance to be administrated on the other. In the first case the seasonal nature of the resource, a condition totally detached from human will or wishes, leads to a specific mode of use responding to the very same, or that is saving. The latter case in turn is the expression of a process of rationalization of the resource’s hydrological functions. The statistical measuring of a quantity (the water) and a capacity (the land) as figures formally independent of each other, does not solve or cancel the seasonal nature, but rather adopts the same as a quality and exclusive right of 39 EX TREME C I T IES

fig. 8: Mountain and Costal Aquifers Source: U.N. Cartographic Section, DCW, Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority


the selfsame resource: the seasonal use of the resource translates into scarcity of that resource. The national company for managing the water founded in 1937 and significantly called Mekorot (“resource” in Hebrew), is already the composition of this conflict, a sort of peace resolution ahead of its time. In the 1960’s, Tahal (Water Planning for Israel) and Mekorot accomplished the construction of the most important water network of the region, the National Water Carrier. «The concept behind the NWC was to combine Israel’s three main fresh water sources: the Sea of Galilee and its catchment basin, the Mountain aquifer and the coastal aquifer»12 (fig 8). This pipeline (10.500 kilometre) runs along the west part of the territory until the Negev desert, as a parallel/substitute of the Jordan river. Among the other structures that constitute this system are: 31 desalination plants, 91 reservoirs (many of which collect reclaimed water) and above all the Saline Carrier. With singular precision, in Mekorot’s website the role of the Saline Carrier is explained as follows: it «‘catch(es)’ the flow of saline springs flowing into the Sea of Galilee in order to lower its salinity. Rather than allow the saline water to enter the Sea of Galilee, the Saline Carrier carriers it to the Jordan River at a point south of the lake, enabling it to flow into the Dead Sea»13. On the other hand, the fact that the Jordan is by now river in name only is a well-known, accepted, and even historically declared fact: «it has always been richer with history than with water; notorious but with no other qualities»14 . But even if the Jordan is going to disappear as a river, it still serves as a highly specialized dependent division in the broader system in which the NWC is also (only) a part of. This role is not going to be over. Similarly, the thick wadi network that crosses the whole territory is not dismantled but some of its parts are differently employed: beginning in Galilee and then crossing Tel Aviv from north to south, the Ayalon wadi is today the main traffic artery of the huge coastal urban area (fig 8); used for urban water disposal, the wadi Gaza is still polluting its underlying aquifer; the Arabah wadi has featured in peace treatises between Israel and the Jordanian Kingdom: archaeological research flourishes, a huge touristic area and, paradoxically, a big pipeline between the Red and Dead Sea are scheduled to be built. This all seems to literally translate what Shimon Peres once wrote in one of the most revealing text written about the Arab-Israeli conflict: “Water does not make politics. There is no such thing as right wing water o left wing water. Water doesn’t flow along national borders and rain doesn’t go through customs. We have to organize water”15 . .


fig. 9: Wadi Ayalon, Tel Aviv, 2009 Source: picture by the author

Notes 1 On this front contended water are those of the Tigris and Euphrates. It is important to point out that this two fronts are not only close and similar to each other, but they are also related: since long Israel has been discussing with Turkey about the possibility to implement its water resources; similarly Jordan with Syria, whose survival is more relying on Tigris and Euphrates than to Golan Springs; Kurdish lands and people, who have been long suffering from expropriations. 2 Paesi allegorici (Allegorical Lands) is the title of a section in the compilation of essays Questioni di frontiera. Scritti di politica e di letteratura 1965- 1977, Einaudi, Turin 1977. 3 Masi E., 2006, I paesi allegorici, in Dieci inverni senza Fortini, L. Lenzini, E. Nencini, F. Rapazzo, eds., Quodlibet, Macerata, p. 309. 4 Another important action on the territory was in the 1950’s the reclamation of lake Hula, now disappeared. See: Tsipris J., Meron M., 1998, “Climatic and hydrological aspects of the Hula restoration project”, Wetlands Ecology and Management, v. 6, n. 2-3. 5 See (Ghazleh, Kempe, Hartmann, Jansen 2010), pp. 211- 216. 6 See (Ballod 1918), p. 10, translation by the author. 7 The proposal of diverting the Jordan river in order to irrigate the southern desert plains had already been indicated by Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), key figure of the Zionist Movement. 8 Between the end of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th century many travelogues, explorations accounts, and scientific publications about the Near East appear. Such testimonies are extremely important to provide a better geographical as well as socio-economic understanding of the territory. To learn more about the specific area addressed in this text see: the two volumes by A. Musil, (Musil 1908), outcome of his geographical and archeological explorations in the Dead Seas, Negev desert, wadi Arabah and wadi Musa (Petra) between 1896 and 1902; M. Blanckenhorn, editor of one of the leading German publications in Palestine Studies (“Pro-Palastina. Schriften des Deutschen Komitees zur Förderung der jüdischen Palästina-Siedlung” 42

e “Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Verein”) and author of Das Tote Meer und der Unterfang von Sodom und Gomorrha, Dietrich Reimer, Berlin 1898 as well as Naturwissenschaftliche Studien am Toten Meer und im Jordantal, R. Friedländer & Sohn, Berlin 1912; lastly, G. S. Blacke,, Geology and Water Resources of Palestine, a scientific research published before 1928 and revised in 1947 with the contribute of J. Goldschmidt, (commissioned and published by the British Departement of Land Settlement and Water Commissioner). 9 “Siedlungskapazität” for A. Granovsky see: (Granovsky 1931) “capacité de peuplement”. About J. Gottmann see: (Gottmann 1938). 10 See: (Sternberg1921). 11 See: (Ballod 1918), p. 11. 12 13 ibid. 14 Peres S., 2010, “Il mio sogno: Israele come Rialto, il ponte degli affari”, I classici di Limes, n. 1, p. 25 15 Ibid.

References - Allan T., Mallat C., 1995, Water in the Middle East. Legal, political and commercial implications, Tauris Academic Studies, London - Ballod C., 1918, Palästina als jüdisches Ansiedlungsgebiet, Pro Palästina. Schriften des Deutschen Komitees zur Förderung der jüdischen Palästina-Siedlung, Berlin - Bienkowski P., Galor K., 2006, eds., Crossing the Rift: resources, routes, settlement patterns and interaction in the Wadi Arabah, Oxbow Books, Oxford - Blanckenhorn M., 1912, Naturwissenschaftliche Studien am Toten Meer und im Jordantal, R. Friedländer & Sohn, Berlin - Ferragina E., 1996, La gestione integrata delle risorse idriche del bacino del Giordano, in, L’acqua nei paesi mediterranei, eds., E. Ferragina, Il Mulino, Bologna - Ferragina E., 2003, eds., Acqua e sviluppo. Una politica delle risorse idriche per il futuro del Mediterraneo, Il Mulino, Bologna - Feitelson E., 2006, A Retreat from Centralised Water Management? The Israeli Case, in, R. Coopey, T. Tvedt eds., A History of Water. Vol. 2: The Political Economy of Water, I. B. Tauris, London - Gaarde K., 2006, British Colonial Water Legislation in Mandatory Palestine, in, R. Coopey, T. Tvedt eds., A History of Water. Vol. 2: The Political Economy of Water, I. B. Tauris, London - Ghazleh S. A., Kempe S., Hartmann J., Jansen N., 2010, “Rapidly Shrinking Dead Sea Urgently Needs. Infusion of 0.9 km3/a from Planned Red-Sea Channel: Implication for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development”, Jordan Journal of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, v. 4, n. 1, gennaio 2010 - Gottmann J., 1935, “L’Irrigation en Palestine”, Annales de géographie, 44, 143-161 [Reprinted in, Collins A., 1959, Études sur l’État d’Israël et le Moyen Orient, Paris] - Gottmann J., 1936, “Une carte de l’aridité en Palestine”, Annales de géographie, 45, 430-435 - Gottmann J., 1938, La capacité de peuplement de la Palestine. Aspects géographiques du problème, competes rendus du Congrès International de Géographie, Amsterdam, Tome II, Section A-F : 91-7 [Reprinted in Études sur l’État d’Israël., cit.] - Granovsky A., 1931, Die Bodenfrage und der judische Aufbau in Palästina, Verlag C-Barth, Wien - Musil A., 1908, Arabia Petraea. Edom, Topographischer Reisebericht, Buchhändler der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien - Selby J., 2003, Water, Power and Politics in the Middle East. The other Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, London - Sen Z., 2008, Wadi hydrology, Taylor & Francis Group, London - Simpson J. H., 1930, Palestine. Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development, Majesty’s Stationery Office, London - Sternberg F., 1921, Die Juden als Träger einer neuen Wirtschaft in Palästina. Eine Studie, Verband-Bureau Poale-Zion, Pinchas Sorokin, Wien



selected city



international boundary

Aral lake drainage basin Source: Royal Haskoning

drainage basin boundary

Source: Bill Rankin, radicalcartography

Central Asian Hydrography Source: UNH-GRDC Composite Runoff Fields

endoheric lakes

endoheric basins



A micro-story of Lake Aral’s drainage area. Gianni Talamini

Introduction. An endorheic basin The Aral Lake1 is a saline endorheic lake. It is situated in Central Asia, close to the Caspian basin. This region was scientifically defined for the first time by the German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt2. Recent definitions of Central Asia have been given by UNESCO and by the Russian Federation. These definitions, different in terms of extension, all refer to a territory that is located in the middle of the Eurasian continent and that is largely coincident with the worlds largest endorheic basin3. Idrography Lake Aral’s drainage area extends between longitudes 56° and 78° East, and latitudes 33° and 52° North, covering an area of about 1.549*106 km2 (of which about 0.59*106 km2 are cultivable lands) and it ranges from the vast Turanian plains in the west to the high mountain ranges of the Pamirs and Tien Shan in the east4. The drainage basin includes eight countries: Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Lake lies between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south. It has two tributaries: the Amu-Darya river in the south, and the Syr-Darya river in the north, which were known in the past with the names of Oxus (or Amu River) and Jaxartes (or Yaxartes). The two rivers have been famous since ancient times, and the southern one, the Amu Darya river, constituted the natural boundary between Iran and Teran. Also, in different times, and from different sides, it has limited the expansion of the former empires of Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great5. The Amu Darya Basin (534 739 km²) extends for 970 kilometers from north to south and for more than 1 450 kilometers from east to west, and the river – the largest river in Central Asia – has a length of 2 540 km from the headwaters of the Pyanj River on the Afghan-Tajik border to the Aral Lake6. The Syr Darya Basin occupies about 219 000 km² and the river stretches some 2 212 km from the Naryn River headwaters in Kyrgyzstan through the Fergana Valley, the Hunger Steppe and the Kyzyl Kum desert, finally reaching the Aral 45 EX TREME C I T IES

Construction of Grand Fergana canal, Uzbek S.S.R. Source: M. Alpert, 1939

“Break virgin lands!” Source: “These lands are priceless./Year by year/We should raise more and more/Grain for people!” Poster, V. Livanova, 1954


Lake7. These two rivers account for about 90% of the region’s annual river flow and provide roughly 75% (by area) of the water to Central Asia’s irrigated agriculture. The Amu Darya has an average annual flow of 79.3*109m³, and the Syr Darya has a flow of 37.2*109 m 8. Irrigation widening

«Irrigation will do more than anything else to revive the area and regenerate it, bury the past and make the transition to socialism more certain.» V.I. Lenin «Observing the Earth through the porthole of his spaceshuttle, at one point, Yuri Gagarin said: «But Turkmenia is all green! That ‘s what you call a desert?» In front of the eyes of the world’s first cosmonaut there was the spectacle of one of the biggest transformations of nature that human being has ever made.» V. Sansone

The idea to use the Aral Lake’s river water for irrigation is not a recent one: most of the oases in the area were doing so more than 25 centuries ago. For the last 2 000 years, irrigated agriculture has expanded far from rivers, such as in the Fergana Valley and Tashkent and even deeper into deserts to form oases, such as Khorezm and Bukhara. Without irrigation those places would still be desert. The scale of the irrigated territory changed heavily from 1918, when the Soviet government decided that the Amu-Darya’s water and the Syr-Darya’s one would be diverted to irrigate the desert, in order to attempt to develop a different kind of farming. In 1918, 30 million roubles (according to some sources the millions of roubles were 50) were devoted to irrigate Central Asia areas9. In 1924, Lenin’s Commissar for Nationalities, Joseph Stalin, determined the borders of political units in Central Asia so that these borders made the Central Asian countries dependent upon each other in terms of water and energy resources, and that only a central government could be able to coordinate the different actors. Albeit not the subject of this essay, this is a necessary condition for understanding the current geopolitical condition of the area and, already with the first Five Year Plan (1928-1932), an organized strategy of irrigation was designed. A vast system of canals and dams were built and gradually implemented. We can easily identify two periods when agricultural land use policies in Central Asia have been heavily promoted: the first during the 30s during the Stalinist government, the second in the 50s during Khrushchev time. The main Kashar10 (collective yards) in the region are, in chronological order: Vaksh irrigation system (1930 – 1939); Grand Fergana Canal11 (1939); Kattakurgan artificial basin (‘50); Virgin Lands Campaign (1954 – ‘60); 47 EX TREME C I T IES

Irrigation system A)1 - Withdrawals from the river; 2 - Main canal; 3 - Valve; 4 - Splitter utility; 5 - On-farm distribution systems; 6 - Temporary canals; 7 – Irrigation furrow; 8 - Waterworks node; 9 - Culverts. B)Karshi Canal: from Kyzylajak (Turkmenistan) to the irrigated land of Karshi (Uzbekistan). In red the main irrigated areas, in gray the planned areas of irrigation. Source: maps are based on The Great Soviet Encyclopedia: Kostyakov A.N.; Zaitsev V.B.; Bagrov M.N., Kruzhilin I. P .; Natalchuk M.F., Moscow, 1971

The use of land and water resources in the deserts of Central Asia 1. The planned route Ob-Caspian Canal and the main branches; 2. Irrigation canal trunk; 3. Projected irrigation canals; 4. Existing and under construction water lines; 5. Projected conduits; 6. Nuclear-powered desalting; 7. Distillers on a conventional fuel; 8. Irrigated land; 9. Land suitable for irrigation and local runoff waters of Siberian rivers; 10. Pasture irrigation and irrigation water sample local runoff; 11. Pastures and selective irrigation waters of Siberian rivers; 12. Alpine region; 13. Desert margins. Source: the map is based on Babayev Freykina “Deserts of the USSR yesterday, today and tomorrow “, 1977, and on M. Kolodin, (Water and Desert), Publisher Mysl, Moscow 1981 48

Golodnaya Steppe’s canals (‘50, ‘60); Main Turkmen canal (1950 – 1953); Qaraqum Canal (1954 – 1967); Nurek dam (1961 – 1980).

The Soviet irrigation scheme caused a shift in the local economies and some of the Central Asian countries became the top world producers of cotton and cereals12. Under the Soviet Union, water and energy resources were exchanged freely across what were only administrative borders, and Moscow provided the funds and management to build and maintain the infrastructure. Since 1960 the population in the Aral Lake drainage basin has tripled (it has grown from 13 million to more than 40 million people), water diversions have almost doubled (increased from 60*109 m3 to 105*109 m3), and irrigated lands have increased from 4.5*106 ha (hectares) to about 7.9*106 ha (5.1% of total territory of the Aral Lake basin)13. Year

Population (millions of people)

Irrigated area (millions of hectares)

Water withdrawals for irrigation (cubic kilometers)





























Population, irrigated area, and water use, Aral Lake region, 1930-1990. Sources: D. Glasgow in W.S. Ellis and D.C. Turnley. “A Soviet Sea Lies Dying” in National Geographic, February 1990, and P. Micklin and W. Williams, The Aral Lake Basin, NATO, 1996

Total land resources of Central Asia are about 154.9*106 ha. Out of that some 32.6*106 ha are considered suitable for irrigation. The area that has not been provided with an irrigation system (pastures, hay, meadows, longterm fallow land) occupy about 54*106 ha. The productivity of this area is on average no more than one-tenth of the productivity of irrigated land14. The system of irrigation includes unique projects such as Karshi, where pumping stations with a total capacity of 350 m³/sec lift water for 180 m and several largescale gravity irrigation systems with the mean annual water supply of individual systems approximating up to 700 m³/sec. In 1998, the overall length of irrigation networks (main and inter-farm ones) in the basin was 47 750 km. About 28% of them are provided with anti-filtration linings. The total length of irrigation networks on-farm is 268 500 km; about 21% of this net has anti-filtration lining. The remaining on-farm canals have unlined earth beds. The rate of water flow in the major irrigation canals usually ranges 49 EX TREME C I T IES

cotton harvested area rice harvested area wheat harvested area Irrigation on Amu Darya Delta, Uzbekistan, September 1992 Source: Lunar and Planetary Institute, vegetated areas appear red 50

Harvested area in central Asia Source: Monfreda, C., N. Ramankutty, and J. A. Foley, Farming the planet: 2. Geographic distribution of crop areas, yields, physiological types, and net primary production in the year 2000, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 22, 2008

from 40 to 300 m/s; the water speed ranges between 0.4 to 2.0 m/s15. Where drains (the ones that are collecting residual irrigation water and wash water) do not re-enter a river and/or a terminal lake, as required when the salinity of the drainage water exceeds 1 mg/l, the water is usually diverted to a depression, in a new water body. According to Pavlovskaya (1995) the number of drainage collecting depressions in the Aral Lake catchment are 2 341, with an extension of 7 066 km². More than one third of these drainage water collecting depressions and water bodies are in the Syr-Darya River basin. Only 24% of such water bodies (52% of the total) are located along the Amu-Darya River basin, and the largest of them, the Sarykamysh Lake, exceeding over 3000 km² in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan16. Country Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan Afghanistan and Iran Total Aral Lake Basin

River basin Aral Syr-Darya 2 624 27 605 1 005 6 167 37 203

Amu-Darya 1 604 59 578 1 549 5 056 11 593 79 280

Lake basin Km² 2 626 29 209 60 583 1 549 11 223 11 593 116 483

Percent 2.1 25.1 52.0 1.2 9.6 10.0 100

Catchment areas in the Aral Lake basin (km²/year). Source: Irrigation Systems and Their Fisheries in the Aral Lake Basin, Central Asia, Petr T.- Ismukhanov K.Kamilov B.- Pulatkhon D.- Umarov P.D.

Since independence (1991), the only big change in the area of irrigated land happened in Turkmenistan where the area of irrigated land during 19951996 increased by about 400 000 ha17. However, it is dutiful to notice the big changes occured in crop patterns: even if cotton still remains one of the most important crops (although between 1990 and 1998 its share of irrigated land decreased from 45 % to 25 %), in the same period, the land cultivated with cereals (wheat, rice, maize and others) increased from 12 % to 77 %. Wheat became the main crop in the region, covering about 28% of total irrigated area. What is highly undesirable from the point of view of maintaining soil fertility and crop rotation is actually happening: fodder crops decreased from 27.4% of the total irrigated area in 1990 to 19.6% in 1998. The high cost of inputs (especially gasoline and chemical fertilizers) and disrupted markets (but these are not the only reasons), have decreased the levels of both yields and production of major crops (cotton, cereals, maize) in irrigated farming (with a range between 5% and 30%) in every country since 199018. The poor financial situation of both state-owned and privatized farms (which have no possibilities either to reconstruct on-farm networks or maintain them in a satisfactory condition) caused the deterioration of onfarm irrigation networks. 51 EX TREME C I T IES

Irrigation on Amu Darya Delta, Uzbekistan, June 2002 Source: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team, This false-color image of the Amu Darya River was acquired by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR), and represents an area of about 292 kilometers x 370 kilometers. Vegetated areas appear red 52


Area of the country (ha)

Cultivable area (ha)

Cultivated area (ha)

Actual irrigated area (ha)


34 440 000

23 872 400

1 658 800

786 200


12 490 000

1 257 400

595 000

422 000


14 310 000

1 571 000

769 900

719 000


48 810 000

7 013 000

1 805 300

1 735 000


44 884 000

25 447 700

5 207 800

4 233 400

Aral Lake Basin

154 934 000

59 161 500

10 036 800

7 895 600

* only provinces in the Aral Lake basin are included Land resources in the Aral Lake basin (source: 12000 10000 8000 6000 1950 1965 1970 1975 1980 1992

4000 2000 0







Irrigated areas in Central Asia (thousand of hectars) Source: René Léttolle and Monique Mainguet, Aral, Springer Verlag, Paris, 1993

Aral Lake shrinkage The largescale diversions of water (the vast net of canals and their increasing water consumption) determined the fast shrinkage of the Aral Lake. This is not the only cause of the phenomenon, climate changes are involved too – but it is certainly the main one. In 1960 (there is not much certain information about the lake surface before that), the Aral Lake occupied an area of 66,000 square km and it had a volume of 1060 bcm19. Since then it lost half of its surface area and two thirds of its volume, and became an environmentally challenged area. Elevated water and soil salinity levels, widespread environmental degradation and diminished agricultural productivity are mainly due to the inefficient irrigation systems and mismanagement of irrigation water diversions. Approximately 90% of the two rivers was diverted, so that in 1990 the Aral Lake water flowed at only 13% of what arrived there in 1959. The Lake has lost, in four decades, 75% of its volume and is now drastically reduced. At present its size is less than 10% of the one it had in 1960 and after it split into three lakes (2007), has lost the south-eastern one, that had recently (2009) disappeared. The old coastal cities are now located in a sort of salty 53 EX TREME C I T IES

Aral lake, August 2009 Source: This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite documents the changes in the the Aral Lake. The lake is a fraction of its 1960 extent (black line). 54

desert where the fishing industry is barren, and where dust and airborne salts cause an impressive rate of disease#. Year

Evaporation Precipitation (cubic (cubic kilometers) kilometers)

Surface elevation above sea level (meters)

Annual river inflow (cubic kilometers)

Volume (cubic kilometers)































Table 1: Aral Lake surface elevation, precipitation, evaporation, river inflow, and volume, 1950-1990. Sources: P. Micklin and W. Williams, The Aral Lake Basin, NATO, 1996


Average Salinity (grams per liter of water)











Salinity of the Aral Lake, 1960-1995. Source: P. Micklin and W. Williams, The Aral Lake Basin, NATO,1996

Conclusions: the actual situation and the potential scenarios At this point, what appears clear is that the Central Asian countries are depending on the water of the rivers of the Aral Lake Basin for drinking water, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. In these countries some 24 million people depend directly or indirectly on irrigated agriculture, which provides from 20% to 40% of the GDP.

Country Kazakhstan* Kyrgyzstan* Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan Aral Lake basin

Population Total inhabitants 2 710 000 2 540 000 6 066 600 4 686 800 23 867 400 39 870 800

% of total 6.8 6.4 15.2 11.8 59.8 100

inhabitants per km2 7.9 19.9 42.0 9.7 53.2 25.7

Urban inhabitants


Rural inhabitants


1 219 500 685 800 1 880 646 2 109 060 9 308 286 15 203 292

45 27 31 45 39 38.1

1 490 500 1 854 200 4 185 954 2 577 740 14 559 114 24 667 508

55 73 69 55 61 61.9

* Only provinces in the Aral Lake basin are included Distribution of population in the Aral Lake basin (1998). Source: Irrigation Systems and Their Fisheries in the Aral Lake Basin, Central Asia, Petr T.- Ismukhanov K.Kamilov B.- Pulatkhon D.- Umarov P.D. 55 EX TREME C I T IES

Kok-Aral dam Source: NASA, earth observatory

56 cities on the old coast

North Aral lake

Aral lake, 2000

Aral lake, 1960


international boundary

Kok-Aral dam

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the upstream countries of the Basin, use the rivers for hydroelectric power (especially during winter months), while the downstream ones (Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan) use them for agricultural purposes in the summertime. Often, in the last two decades, there have been disputes between the upstream and downstream countries over how the region’s transboundary waters should be managed: all the irrigation schemes have been developed when the countries were part of one centrally administered area, in which natural and economic resources were shared and costs were subsidized, but independence has contributed to a decline in economic integration among the Central Asian countries. Some countries, those whose economy is not based in large part on agriculture, like Kazakhstan, are more interested in finding a solution for the Aral’s ecological problem. A big project, with the aim to save the North Aral21, was supported primarily by the Government of Kazakhstan with the financing of the World Bank and was launched in 2000. The intervention area covers approximately 230 000 km², it extends on the province of Kzyl-Orda and the southern regions of Kazakhstan and it involved at least 800 000 people. The irrigation scheme on the Syr Darya has been repaired and improved, and in October 2003, the plan for the Kokaral Dam was proposed by the Kazak government: the work consists of a concrete dam separating the north part of the Lake from the south one. Since the dam was completed (August 2005) the water level of the North Aral has risen, and its salinity has decreased. However, the consequences of these interventions have been the drying up of areas that host the River Delta and draining acceleration of the rest of the lake. Once more, a demonstration that without a coordination between all the Central Asian countries, finding an overall solution is unthinkable. Over the past 50 years many solutions to the drainage problem have been proposed, they are of three types: -big hydraulic engineering works (deviation of other rivers to the Aral Basin); -maintenance and improvement of infrastructure (which could help preventing the enormous waste of water); -use of genetically modified plants (which require a smaller quantity of water). The Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature22 changed the desert into a green land and the worlds fourth biggest lake into a desert. What nowadays is also clear is that it is not possible to bring the Aral Lake back to his previous size and to maintain such a large irrigation net at the same time, without changing the ecological balance in other parts of the Eurasian continent. However, it is necessary to emphasize that the conservative idea of restoring the ecological situation preceding the anthropological modifications made by the Soviets, would be, in the socio-economic conditions in which the Central Asian countries are, absolutely socially devastating. 57 EX TREME C I T IES

Notes 1 Aral Sea is the most common name for the basin. It is commonly called Sea because of its dimension and because of its salty water. In this dissertation we will use the scientific diction instead of the common name. 2 The results of his Asiatic journey, that he did in 1829, were published in Fragments de géologie et de climatologie asiatiques (2 vols. 8Vo, 1831, Paris), and in Asie centrale (3 vols. 8Vo, 1843, Paris) that is a extension of the earlier work. 3 An endorheic basin (from the Greek: ਩ȞįȠȞ, éndon, “within” and ૧İ૙Ȟ, rheîn, “to flow”; also terminal or closed basin) is a closed drainage basin that retains water and allows no outflow to other bodies of water such as rivers or oceans. Normally, water that has accrued in a drainage basin eventually flows out through rivers or streams on Earth’s surface or by underground diffusion through permeable rock, ultimately ending up in the oceans. However, in an endorheic basin, rain (or other precipitation) that falls within it does not flow out but may only leave the drainage system by evaporation and seepage. The bottom of such a basin is typically occupied by a salt lake or salt pan. Endorheic basins are also called internal drainage systems. 4 See: (McKinney 2003) 5 The Amu-Darya river was so large that, in the fourth century BC, Alexander the Great’s army needed five days and nights to cross the River. 6 Khudaiberganov Y., 2002, About BWO role in Amudarya basin Water Resources Management Issues, ADB Regional Consultation Workshop, Cooperation in Shared Water Resources in Central Asia: Past Experience and Future Challenges, Almaty, 26 - 28 September 2002. 7 See: (Khamidov 2002). 8 See: (McKinney 2003) 9 Soviet cotton threatens a region’s sea - and its children, New Scientist. 18 November 1989. Retrieved 27 January 2010. 10 See: (Sansone 1980), p.151 11 270 kilometers long, it was built by 160 000 Uzbek and Tajik workers in 45 days. 12 According to the National Cotton Council of America ( the five leading exporters of cotton in 2009 are (1) the United States, (2) India, (3) Uzbekistan, (4) Brazil, and (5) Pakistan.” 13 See: (McKinney 2003) 14 See: (Dukhovny, de Schutter 2003) 15 Ibid. 16 See: (Petr, Ismukhanov, Kamilov, Pulatkhon, Umarov 2004) 17 See: (Dukhovny, de Schutter 2003) 18 Ibid. 19 See: (McKinney 2003) 20 Forti M, 2007, “L’Asia centrale e il cotone maledetto”, Il manifesto, 15.03.2005; (Giammaria 2007) 21 S.Y.N.A.S. (Syrdarja Control and Northern Aral Lake): this project has been planned by the Aral Lake Basin Program 22 The Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature was put forth by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union in the second half of 1940s, with the corresponding propaganda motto and catch phrase: great transformation of the nature (Russian: ȼɟɥɢɤɨɟɩɪɟɨɛɪɚɡɨɜɚɧɢɟɩɪɢɪɨɞɵ).


References Reports - CENTRO STUDI INTERNAZIONALI (Ce.S.I.), 2006, L’Asia centrale ex sovietica, n. 45 - Aldaya M.M., MuÐoz G., Hoekstra A.Y., 2010, Water footprint of cotton, wheat and rice production in Central Asia, Value of Water Research, Report n° 41, UNESCO-IHE INSTITUTE FOR WATER EDUCATION, Delft - Antonchikov A.N., Bakinova T.I., Dushkov V.Y., Salibekov Z.G., Levikin S.V., Neronov V.M., Okolelova A.A., Pajenkov A.S., Cherniakhovsky D.A., Chibilev A.A., Yunusbaev U.B., 1973 Desertification and ecological problems of pasture stockbreeding in the steppe regions of Southern Russia, Ed. Cherniakhovsky D.A. and Tishkov A.A., Moscow - Babushkin L. N., 1973, Soviet Uzbekistan, Progress Publishers, Moscow - Dobrovolski S. G., 2007, The issue of global warming and changes in the runoff of Russian rivers (report) - Dukhovny V. A. 2007, Water and globalization: case study of Central Asia (report) - Dukhovny V., De Schutter J., 2003, South Priaralie: New Prospects, SCIENTIFIC-INFORMATION CENTER OF ICWC, (report) - Glantz M., 2006, Water, Climate and Development Issue in the Amudarya Basin, Workshop Report, (report) - Glasgow D., 1990, in Ellis W.S. and Turnley D.C., “A Soviet Sea Lies Dying”, National Geographic - INTERSTATE COMMISSION FOR WATER COORDINATION IN CENTRAL ASIA, 2005, Bulletin, n° 1 (40) - Khamidov M.K., Syr Darya, 2002, River Water Resources Management and Environmental Effects Caused by Changing Natural River Flow Regime, ADB Regional Consultation Workshop, Cooperation in Shared Water Resources in Central Asia: Past Experience and Future Challenges, Almaty - Léttolle R., Mainguet M., 1993, Aral, Springer Verlag, Paris - McKinney D.C., 2003, Cooperative management of transboundary water resources in Central Asia, in, D. Burghart and T. Sabonis-Helf (eds.), In the Tracks of Tamerlane-Central Asia’s Path into the 21st Century, National Defense University Press - Micklin P., Williams W.,1996, The Aral Lake Basin, NATO - Micklin P., 2007, “The Aral Sea Disaster”, in Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 35 - Monfreda C., Ramankutty N., Foley J. A., 2008, Farming the planet: 2. Geographic distribution of crop areas, yields, physiological types, and net primary production in the year 2000, Global Biogeochem Cycles 22 - Nezlina N. P., Kostianoya A. G., Lebedevc S. A., 2004, “Interannual variations of the discharge of Amu Darya and Syr Darya estimated from global atmospheric precipitation”, Journal of Marine Systems, n. 47 - Petr T., Ismukhanov K., Kamilov B., Pulatkhon D., Umarov P.D., 2004, Irrigation Systems and Their Fisheries in the Aral Lake Basin, RAP Publication - Shibuo Y. et al., 2007, “Hydrological responses to climate change and irrigation in the Aral Sea drainage basin”, Geophysical Research, Letters n.34 - STATISTICAL YEARBOOK, 2007, Agricultural of Uzbekistan, Goskomstat Uzbekistana, Tashkent - Usai L., 2007, Il Lago d’Aral. Dal disastro ambientale alla cooperazione internazionale (degree thesis), Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Facoltà di Scienze Politiche, Cagliari Books - Barlow M., Clarke T., 2004, Oro blu. La battaglia contro il furto mondiale dell’acqua, Arianna Ed., Bologna - Capisani G.R., 1996, I Nuovi Khan. Popoli e stati nell’Asia centrale desovietizzata, BEM Ed., Milano - Giammaria D., 2007, Seta e veleni. Racconti dall’Asia Centrale, Feltrinelli, Milano - Jelen I., 2000, Repubbliche ex-sovietiche dell’Asia Centrale. Nuovi centri, nove periferie, nuove frontiere, Utet, Torino - Rashid A., 2002, Nel cuore dell’islam. Geopolitica e movimenti estremisti in Asia Centrale, Feltrinelli, Milano - Sansone V., 1980, Al di qua dell’Afghanistan. L’Asia Centrale sovietica, Società Editrice Internazionale, Torino - Shiva V., 2004, Le guerre dell’acqua, Feltrinelli, Milano Web Sites | cawater-info | | | | |itouchmap. com | | | radicalcartography | | | |




Notes on urbanism in the age of climate change Michiel Dehaene Limits to growth! The return of substantive rationality? The social pact behind the welfare state was based on a trade-off between efficiency and equity, between growth and redistribution. Granted fair redistributive policies, a collective effort to produce growth appeared to be in everybody’s interest. Yet already in 1972, the Club of Rome report made it quite clear that this growth model had substantive limits. Issues such as climate change and the depletion of fossil fuel begin to translate these warnings from a distant warning into a tangible reality. A dominant entry into the problem is one which addresses this problem as an ecological correction of the economic model, promising us a green future based on a green economy. If we take the limits to growth argument seriously, what is required is not simply a rebalancing of efficiency and ecology. The real balancing act – not to say conflict – is one of ecology vs. equity. Who will be in the flood and who will keep the feet dry – what will decide that. If there are limits to growth, we are back with questions of scarcity, and the welfare model seems little more than a lull in a historical line of continuity. The big question is whether these new challenges will be a source of new solidarity or on the contrary whether this will produce a dismantling of solidarity solutions going in the direction of building closer links between ecological cost and benefits, responsibilizing local communities might very well end up producing a landscape in which the willingness to display forms of solidarity beyond that of the direct common interest is further decreasing… Such solidarity however does not have to emerge as the product of pure altruism but as the product of a return of the substantive dimension of the coexistence of living with a territory built by water. As the pressure on the socio-technical construct of the region rises, as floods occur more regularly, as the options for coping strategies diminish, the water problem can no longer be treated as a mere abstraction, which can be handled technically and sectorally, in seeming disconnection of social, economic, cultural and political issues. Water moves from the realm of continuity and the reproduction of society, to the centre of questions of development and innovation. Beyond the operative, Beyond sustainability From the limits to growth report of 1972 we moved gradually to a sustainability paradigm which in terms produced objectives to be realized in the next twenty years. Energy neutral, climate neutral, no fossil fuel… Climate change 61 EX TREME C I T IES

gives us a time scale beyond this horizon, beyond sustainability. Regarding the design profession, we have gained ground on the operative side. Regional policy making has gone through a marked regime shift towards regionally framed, area-based and project-driven responsive policies bringing with it an increased emphasis on achievable short- and mid-term goals. The design profession has embraced these project driven logics as it provided new opportunities for design and moved the designer to the center of the action of negotiation. The project driven logic of deal making, the emphasis on stakeholders already involved in the process, the emphasis on achievable aims, undermine the capacity to address longterm goals. At the same time the project driven model is still an attractive model in building a localized understanding of a global problem such as climate change. Its capacity to incorporate the substantive dimensions of the regional development process, its capacity to incorporate a particularized understanding, are essential in developing models which can solicit the local context in building up resilience. Yet the longterm horizon inherent in the challenge of addressing climate change requires important rebalancing between the operative and the strategic dimension of the project, between the long and short term objectives. In the face of climate change, sustainability presents itself as an agenda which is to comfortably within the operative logic of the project. CittĂ Diffusa in a water based territory The Veneto, we are told, is a territory constructed by water. The same can be said about the Dutch delta. One of the striking differences between the two contexts is that the collective management required to build this water based territory has also produced the characteristic strong planning culture of the Netherlands. What is remarkable about the Veneto is that while the waterconstructed territory requires the continuous and collective management of its systems, at the same time, the development of a cittĂ  diffusa on top of it has allowed the rather unregulated and open consumption of its benefits. Even in the Italian context this is remarkable. In the Milanese context the cittĂ  diffusa is situated mainly to the north. To the south we find the water based territory of the rice fields which could only be cultivated through the more capital intensive investment by monasteries and the local aristocracy. However, the south side has never been subject of the same diffuse consumption of the territory, that predominates to the north. There it was relatively easy to cultivate the land which induced historically a dense settlement pattern. This condition lead early on to argricultural production beyond subsistence and eventually to the emergence of a (partially rurally based) small grained home grown economy. The Veneto presents us with a bit of a paradox. A territory built by water, the fruit of remarkable collective efforts, yet a settlement pattern which is the 62

fruit of the private consumption of its benefits. The presence of this finely grained settlement pattern, the dispersed patterns of capital accumulation, presents a major obstacle in the remodeling of the water machine essential to the reproduction of the territory. Historically the Veneto had at its disposal a sophisticated and localized governance model which provided the substantive links between the costs and the benefits of living in a territory built by water. Yet the twentieth century brought a radical scaling up of the water machinery (hydro electric dams, polders, regional irrigation systems). The integrity of these systems, their responsive management, and their continued maintenance all depend on the continued presence of the public sector yet the cittĂ diffusa is the expression of a socio economic model which challenges the redistributive models of the (welfare) state. The large scale engineering projects of he twentieth century require constant maintenance and further investment. The logic of these projects runs counter to current more responsive philosophies that bet on a more sensitive management of our ecosystems. However, rather than thinking in oppositions between large and small, bottom up and top down, the main question seems to be whether we can imagine ways in which we can begin to incorporate these large scale systems within a more integrated model. In the same way that we need to recognize mobility infrastructure as both a territorializing and de-territorializing force, we can imagine how through the physical reconfiguration as well as the reprogramming (e.g. Using the capacity of the dams not only for energy but also for retention) the region as a whole can be brought into a different state of aggregation. Path dependence Ambitious scenario building, idealized models, images of a clean and congestion-free future, etc. easily result in plans requiring drastic interventions that cannot be sustained long enough to complete the envisioned transition. Efficient investment of public means in a more climate responsive and durable region needs to take into account the compounded effects of spatial inertia, the path dependency of network development, the principles of self-organization at work in a given network constellation, as well as the obduracy of existing institutional arrangements. The magnitude of the questions related to climate change reinforces the appetite for scenarios of drastic change. It is however more likely that the transition of complex systems such as a historical regional settlement patterns can only occur through a process of addition, through selective interventions, which can bring the current regional structure in a new state of aggregation. Indeed, such an incremental transition model does not mean that the nature of the transition cannot be radical. The substance of the contemporary territory for the major part consists of historical material which at the time of its inception functioned within very different urban constellations. The mea63 EX TREME C I T IES

ning of the historical patterns of market towns within the typical networked settlement patterns described in the thirties by central place theory, changed drastically in meaning when railway systems and later on new means of communication where added. But also on a more basic morphological level we can observe within the development of the city and the region shifts to a new state of aggregation. A system of parallel roads becomes a grid when transversal connections are made. A radial system of roads converging on a market becomes web when gradually concentric connections are inserted. If we look at the way in which cities have historically developed we see an interesting interplay of inertia and innovation within the development paths as they historically unfold. Between inertia and innovation resides the overdetermined complex reality of the contingent historical presence. A reality we can explain yet that could just as well have been otherwise. More than ever there seems to be a role for the designing professions as the hands-on managers of contingency, bracing us for unbridled possibility while searching for an alternative future in the cracks of the present, in the partial suspension of its dominant logics of reproduction. Making things public? Bridging the distance with broad visioning unencumbered by concrete knowledge of the concrete and locally different realities that need to be shaped, and good local governance, local politics, devoid of any vision. As Bruno Latour has pointed out, the designing professions have an important role in producing constructions which represent visions in a concrete enough manner that they can help in holding the process of shaping the future accountable. Designers can in that sense give an account which begins to make such complex issues public in the sense that they provide an object for debate, give substance to a vision in a manner that one can begin to account for the concrete consequences of a proposition. The turning point of the eighties and nineties followed a historical episode of the development of the discipline during which urbanism was deeply engaged in social and political issues. The return to the project was for many designers a process of recovery from what they saw as a dismantling of the discipline, a process in which the designing professions in an effort to gain social relevance had given up their specific competences as designers. In retrospect, however, the re-professionalization of the nineties, its neo-pragmatic turn, also shows us a discipline which settled for an incredibly reduced social agenda, limiting its role to that of the project broker, the facilitator of development yet hardly that of the critical agent. In that light, the reconfiguration of the urbanistic debate, in light of such broad challenges as climate change, is refreshing and opens the possibility to expand the scope and agenda of the city making disciplines, beyond the making of pristine well-crafted mixed-use 64

public spaces. However, as the discipline begins to confront such overwhelming issues like climate change we are faced with the same risk of loosing our professional ground. What seems different, however, from the context of the eighties and nineties, is that there seems a role to play for urbanists as perhaps one of the last disciplines that positions itself as generalist. While the hard sciences are facing great difficulty in tackling the inherent complexity and irreducible uncertainty at work in such problems as climate change, the designerly ways of proceeding and the deliberate generalist perspective are gradually being acknowledged as a valuable path to explore the possibilities of an alternative future. Whether we can keep our head above the water as designers is an open question. Climate change confronts us with a very broad range of new issues and challenges, a panoply of new paradigms of half digested theories of solid as well as dubious diagnosis of the problem. We have still fifty years to prepare for rising sea levels, but we are already today faced with an ocean to drink.



SMA LL DI C T I O NARY ON CC M. Barcelloni Corte, C. Cavalieri, C. Pregazzi,




















global temperature average re-elaborated from: IPCC, 4th Assessment Report, Synthesis Report, 2007

S M ALL DIC T I ONARY O N CC Chiara Cavalieri

Introduction We now have a vast amount of scientific literature at our disposal revealing how the world climate is changing at an increasingly fast rate, generating consequences that will affect the ecosystem. The recorded change is revealing itself as a major challenge of the XXI century, the effects of which will become more and more detectible in the coming decades. The IPCC1 estimates a rise of the average2 global temperature between 2.4°C and 2.8°C by 2100; these figures are sufficient to redefine the entire physical geography of the world, and, consequentially, human distribution. The world’s population has grown in the past century at an exponential rate if compared to the pre-industrial era. At the beginning of the past century the world population counted approximately 1.6 billion people; today, the amount is over 6.6 billions. Such a fast growth in population brought among its consequences a rise in urbanization of previously unknown dimensions3. Citing a few figures is enough to render the scale of this phenomenon: in the early years of the XX century the urban population throughout the world was approximately 10% of the total, in the 50s it had risen to 29%. Today, more than half the world population lives in urban areas. This phenomenon is of extreme importance from an environmental point of view, as any urban growth involves a loss of forests, woodlands and fields, which are replaced with concrete, asphalt, and other artificial elements, contributing to the creation of ecological imbalances which often result in catastrophic consequences. A further problematic result of urban pressure is caused by the lack of control on the exploitation of free soil; this has often lead to the development of large settlements on areas historically exposed to natural hazards, such as areas close to river embankments or depressed areas. 69 EX TREME C I T IES


billion people urban population



less 500..000

1 million - 500.000

1-5 million

over 5

urban population


World city population Maps elaborated by the authors. Source of data: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/THE WORLD BANK, The Little Green Data Book 2009, Communications Development Incorporated, Washington 2009

billion people

6,6 52%

9.3 70%

This has enabled the growth of large metropolitan areas, especially in the third world, on territories exposed to natural risks, where the continuous and chaotic expansion is increasing the areas’ vulnerability, threatening thousands of human lives. A recent research3 reveals that in the last decade there have been approximately 770 natural catastrophes each year, with an average of 75,000 deaths. Most of these events occur in highly urbanized and vulnerable areas. In the light of a global climate change, capable of amplifying the risks and weaknesses of so many territories, the question is what are the plans and knowledge that might be put to use? How should society’s approach change in order to face up to a global challenge that is questioning the very models that brought wellness and prosperity to the contemporary world? We looked for an answer to these questions studying four concepts that emerge from scientific literature as key words, which we interpreted as two pairs. On one side, mitigation-adaptation define two possible strategies of action, on the other resistance-resilience express two attitudes man has taken through time in order to face the challenges and problems related to the ecological matter.

Notes 1 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific intergovernmental body tasked with evaluating the risk of climate change caused by human activity. The panel was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), two organizations of the United Nations with the mission of drawing up periodical reports in order to provide unambiguous scientific material for political debates. 2 IPCC, 4th assessment report, 2007. The estimates are always elaborated through hypothetical scenarios of future CO2 emissions. The values reported here refer to average emissions. Piero Bevilacqua in La Terra è finita. Breve storia dell’ambiente (2006, Laterza) investigates the elements that brought on such a radical, by now irreversible environmental change. the worlds population growth is listed among the reasons behind the same. 3 MunichRe, 2009 total number of destructive natural hazard events above the longterm average , Munich Reinsurance Company



LECZ: Low Elevation Coastal Zone

coastal urbanisation

Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: CReSIS, Centre for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets; GLWD, Global Lakes and Wetlands Database;

world land

Sea level rising Only 2% of the world’s land is in the Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ) – the contiguous area along the coast that is less than 10 metres above sea level – but this zone is home to 10% of the world’s population, 60 per cent of whom live in urban areas.



other risks

flood risk mortality


sea level rising


less 500..000

1 million - 500.000

1-5 million

over 5

city population

coastal urbanisation


Global Risk Geography Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: Repubblica, 8.XII.2009; IPCC&GettyImages eds., 100Places to Remember, German Publishing House, Knesebech, 2009; GLWD, Global Lakes and Wetlands Database; GWSP Digital Water Atlas, 2008, Map 78: Flood Risk Distribution; elaboration



M I T IGAT I ON AND ADAPTAT I O N Caterina Pregazzi

Climate Change is expected to provoke worldwide macro phenomena throughout the territories of the world: (IPCC 2009). Effects will include: 1 in the polar regions: the possible disappearance of sea ice by the latter part of the 21st century; 2 the possible elimination of the Greenland ice sheet and a resulting contribution to the rise in sea levels of about 7 metres; 3 in the continental and temperate regions (like the Veneto region): the increase in frequency of temperature peaks, heat waves and heavy precipitation; 4 in the tropical regions: the increase in the intensity of cyclones; 5 in the semi-arid regions (such as the Mediterranean Basin, western United States, southern Africa and north-eastern Brazil): the decrease in water resources; 6 in the arid regions: the rapid desertification and the extinction of approximately 20 to 30% of known species. These macro-consequences will lead to a chain of worldwide effects not only in ecological terms but also to the economic, political and social mechanisms of our entire society. Over the next decade water stress will affect between 75 and 250 million people in Africa and rainfed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. The impacts of climate change will be perceived with a devastating magnitude by at least 12 countries, that will show a potential for conflict due to food scarcity, water stress and soil degradation. (UNFCCC 2009) We can identify two responses to CC: firstly, mitigation, that consists in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing sinks, and secondly, adaptation to the impacts of CC. Mitigation is indirect damage prevention because it aims at disaster risk prevention and deals with the anthropological causes of CC, whereas Adaptation of course entails direct damage prevention 77 EX TREME C I T IES

and deals with the physical consequences of CC. The official definition of both strategies can be found in the Third Assessment Report on CC made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2001). Mitigation can be defined – as “an anthropological intervention to reduce the sources or enhance sinks of greenhouse gases“. The biggest project that actually contributes to the mitigation objectives is the Humbo Assisted Regeneration Project. It was developed to restore almost 2,700 hectares of natural forest in southwestern Ethiopia. It is not only Ethiopia’s first Clean Development Mechanism project, but also Africa’s first largescale reforestation project. It is expected to generate over 800,000 metric tonnes of CO2 over 30 years. The project will provide numerous economic benefits to the local communities. It will generate a huge number of tonnes worth of carbon credits (by 2017), of which the World Bank’s BioCarbonFund will purchase half. This will provide an income stream of more than US$ 700,000 to local communities over 10 years. In addition, the communities will have the option of selling the remaining carbon credits as well as timber products from designated woodlots in the project area for additional revenue. These revenue streams will be invested in local infrastructure and food security activities as per the needs of the entire community. ( Adaptation is defined as “the adjustment in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm and exploits beneficial opportunities.” Actually the whole Mediterranean Basin features adaptation projects and programs. I should quote here our local adaptation project. “The lagoon and the city of Venice are highly vulnerable to rising water levels. In response to the increased frequency of floods, the Consorzio Venezia Nuova launched an intervention plan in 1984 to defend Venice against high tides and storms and restore the lagoon’s structure, and the quality of the water and sediment. The construction of the main protection facility, a set of three mobile barriers to block the high waters outside the lagoon, began in 2003 and should be completed in 2014. The plan also includes a programme of street elevation, coastal protection infrastructure, and an urban maintenance programme”. (IDDRI 2009) To sum up, most industrialised countries already adopted policies of mitigation but the current commitments will not lead to stabilization. We already have observed the first impacts of climate change. Both adaptation and mitigation are essential and the synergy between these two efforts determines the level of CC impact. Reluctance to mitigation will lead to greater adaptation costs and reluctance to adaptation will lead to a greater magnitude of CC effects. The Third Assessment Report on CC has underlined the dual need to study 78

and balance the processes of adaptation and mitigation. But how can we combine adaptation and mitigation to form an optimum response on climate change? Who decides and based on what criteria? When would be better to choose mitigation and when adaptation? What is their cost compared to their effectiveness? The study on the inter-relationship between the two responses gives these clear answers: 1 – mitigation has global benefits, while adaptation works of the scale on the impacted system which is regional at best; 2 – mitigation benefits will be evident in several decades, while adaptation is effective immediately and reduces vulnerability; 3 – initiative of mitigation policy stems from community agreements and public policies, while adaptation has historically been motivated by the selfinterest of the affected actors. The best combination and synergy of the two strategies depends on several factors and every territory has a different vulnerability. The vulnerability of any ecological system is determined by its exposure and its sensitivity to climate stimuli and by its adaptive capacities. The adaptive capacity is managed by - preparing for or reducing exposure to hazardous events - developing mechanisms to aid recovery after the event strikes.

References - EUROPEAN COMMISSION, 2007, Limit global warming due to climate change to +2 degrees Celsius; the path to be taken up to 2020 and beyond, (report) - IPCC, 2009, Statement of Dr. R.K. Pachauri UN Summit on Climate Change, 22 September 2009, (report) - IPCC, 2006, Fourth Assessment Report on Climate Change, [Chapter 18 Interrelationship between Mitigation and Adaptation, Chapter 19 Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and the Risk from CC, Chapter 20 Perspectives on CC and Sustainability ], (report) - Magnan A., Garnaud B., Billé R., Gemenne F., 2009, The future of the Mediterranean; from impacts of climate change to adaptation issues, IDDRI, (report) - Penney j., 2008, Emerging Climate Change Adaption Strategies, Statement at the Upwind Downwind Conference, Hamilton, Ontario - UNEP 2004, A case for climate neutrality, (report) - UNEP 2009, Kick the Habit: An U.N. guide to Climate Neutrality, (report) - UNFCCC 2009, Clean development Mechanism: project design documents form for afforestation and reforestation project activities, (report)


fig 1 This phylogenetic tree depicts the evolutionary relationships of about 3,000 species throughout the Tree of Life. Less than 1 percent of known species are depicted. Source - The image was generated using iTOL: Interactive Tree Of Life, an online phylogenetic tree viewer and Tree Of Life resource. SVG retraced image from ITOL Tree of life.jpg. Author: Ivica Letunic: Iletunic. Retraced by Mariana Ruiz Villarreal: LadyofHats 80

ON RESI STANCE Martina Barcelloni Corte

Ecology/Adaptation “The vulnerability of an ecological system is determined by exposure and sensitivity to climate stimuli and by its adaptive capacity.” Adaptation is the process by which those heritable traits that make it more likely for an organism to survive and successfully reproduce become more common in a population over successive generations. It is a key mechanism of the evolutionary process, whereby an organism becomes better suited to its habitat. Observing a phylogenetic tree diagram we can immediately see how the human race and animal species all come from the same root, and how the different way of adapting to different contexts determined their evolutionary path. Man’s ability to adapt to his surroundings has enabled him, over the centuries, to develop increasingly specific “local capacities” - linked to the surroundings, which in turn have had the power to modify the land. Patrick Geddes’s Valley Section1 , which describes the evolution of social organizations from the most primitive to the most elaborate forms in relation to the natural landscape, reveal this very interdependence. The very etymology of the word ecology underlines this close bond. Ecology - from the Greek ȠȓțȠȢ, oikos, “household”; and ȜȩȖȠȢ, logos, “knowledge”- studies how the distribution and abundance of species are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment. In our days the ecological history of the planet and the socioeconomic history of humanity appear more strictly linked than ever before. The unprecedented changes that took place in the twentieth century are in fact purely a consequence of social, political, economic and cultural models of our age. What this means is that as a species we “are unwittingly choosing a specific evolutionary gambit”2 . Adaptation strategies of an ecological system The ability to adapt, therefore, has always played a decisive role in the evolutionary paths of species, but today this relationship appears much more critical. In Something New Under the Sun John McNeill launches a clear warning about the distortions in the evolutionary path that the human species 81 EX TREME C I T IES

fig 2 The Valley Section with basic occupations Source - P.Geddes (1905), “Civics; as applied sociology�, Part 1, Sociological papers, (ed) V.V. Branford London: Macmillan, pp 105-6 82

embarked during the past century. To clarify his argument the author looks at evolution in terms of adaptation and extreme adaptability, outlining what he views as the two dominant development strategies in history: the rat and the shark strategy. The rat strategy, that the author considers the best survival strategy in a very longterm view of biological evolution, consists in being adaptable, in pursuing diverse sources of subsistence and in maximizing resilience. This is because in the long run there will be surprises, shocks, and catastrophes that will kill off some species, no matter how well adapted they may be to one specific set of circumstances. If a species can survive the periodic shocks that kill off competitors, then evolutionary success is guaranteed. In the longterm, homo sapiens has enjoyed great biological success on the strength of adaptability, as have some species of rat. On the other hand, the shark strategy, which consists in supreme adaptation to existing circumstances and in pursuing specialization, can work well for a while but only if circumstances are stable. Sharks are supremely well adapted to hunting, killing, and eating good-sized sea creatures, and they have done well out of this for over 200 million years because the oceans, despite considerable changes, have always contained a good supply of shark food. But we can easily imagine what would happen if the oceans were no longer a rich habitat for the larger species of fish. There are approximate reflections of the rat and shark models in human societies unconsciously pursuing survival strategies, but today, because cultural evolution has shaped human affairs more than biological evolution has, the choice of one or the other strategy seems to be exponentially more significant in terms of the natural context. In describing the shark strategy, McNeill argues that stable social orders, such as those of Egypt under the Pharaohs, feudal Europe or imperial China, were based on a consummate adaptation to existing ecological and other circumstances. While those circumstances persisted, such societies prospered, but in the long run they faced crises made more acute by their success. Fine-tuned adaptation, the shark strategy, is rewarded by continuous success only so long as the reigning conditions remain the same. This success can last for centuries, at least could work in the days when humans did not have the power to disturb global ecology. Today we energetically pursue adaptations to temporary circumstances that we consider enduring and normal and we depend on their continuation. Cheap energy has been a feature of the fossil fuel age since roughly 1820, and cheap water dates to the nineteenth century. What exacerbates the current situation is the fact that humans now have the power to put pressure on global ecology. “We have created a regime of perpetual ecological disturbance, the accidental by-product of billions of human private ambitions and efforts, of unconscious social evolution3 �.The shark strategy therefore enables us to survive in the present, substantially improving our standard of living through specialization, but with its lack of foresight and 83 EX TREME C I T IES

a. Colorado, 1964


b. Ogallala



d. Lybian canal

c. Po’s basin

f g

d e

e. Nile and delta, after 1971

f. Aral, 1960

Geography of human control on water re-elaborated from - J.R. McNeill - Something new under the sun, 2002 84

g. Indo

non-holistic approach, this strategy is destined to fail as soon as there is a considerable change in conditions. Water as a resource Control and appropriation of water have long been fundamental to the creation of human cultures and civilizations. Early civilizations of the old world were erected on the surplus produced when great rivers could be managed and their flows diverted into irrigation canals and ditches. The sophisticated technology and the social coordination needed to establish and maintain such systems was such that it was studied as an “hydraulic civilization�, a specific type of social formation founded upon centralized state authority with its own forces and relations of production springing from water engineering and control. The theory formulated in the seventies by Karl Wittfogel identifies an intimate link between environmental authority in the form of water control, and political power. During the twentieth century the unprecedented development of technology gave hydraulic engineering unrivalled power over the resource in an age in which states and societies viewed hydrological interventions on nature solely as a way to increase power and prosperity. From 1850 onwards, to respond to the needs of the growing economy, hydraulic engineers and the politicians they served, basically reconfigured the planet’s hydrological system. By the end of the century, direct consumption amounted to 18% of the total water flowing on emerged land. Thanks to major works, the obstacles to economic development and the wellbeing of the population were overcome, yet new problems were being created as fast as the old ones were being solved. Many of the completed schemes failed to deliver their promised benefits, while burdening countries with vast debt, unsalable electrical power and adverse environmental consequences. The fundamental point does not seem then to be establishing whether the benefits attained in the last 150 years are authentic, rather whether they will be permanent. Resistance, 3 typologies The resistant approach to water resources can be divided into three main categories: groundwater withdrawal, systems of dams and deviations and land reclaim. Over the centuries the use of groundwater has come to resemble the mining industry, enabling substantial development in terms of both population and economic activity locally and regionally, yet only as long as resources last. Now this practice is viewed as responsible for one of the greatest and most overwhelming changes to the hydrosphere throughout the twentieth century. For millennia man dug wells to irrigate fields and obtain drinking water; in ancient China wells up to 500 meters deep were dug, but the limits of muscle power necessarily hindered access to groundwater supplies. Cheap energy, the defining characteristic of the twentieth century, made it possible 85 EX TREME C I T IES

fig 4 False-color image of the Grand Omar Mukhtar reservoir project. Water (dark blue) residing in reservoirs appears twice in this image, in the upper right and at the bottom. Vegetation appears red, cityscape structures such as pavement and buildings appear in gray, bare ground appears tan or beige. Source - Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team 86

to extract large quantities of groundwater which, at a certain depth, is plentiful almost everywhere. Yet only in areas where surface water was scarce and energy was cheap did people begin to extract large amounts of groundwater. It thus became possible to cultivate in desert areas and support the growth of cities, fostering the odd economic boom, but it turned out to be only a shortterm remedy for water scarcity, and often unsustainable. In some fortunate cases this practice may have been a short-term solution before the advent of the era of cheap seawater desalination; the age of aquifers has proved the obviously temporary nature of these solutions. A recent, representative, even if extreme, example of this practice is the Great Man-Made River conceived by Muammar al-Qaddhafi in the 1970s, a hydraulic engineering project that could be described as epic. Libya is a country with an enormous drought problem, but in the south of the country, in the heart of the Sahara desert, there lie vast fossil aquifers. In the 1920s, when Libya was an Italian colony, Benito Mussolini embarked on a drilling scheme in search of oil, but to his great disappointment he found only water. Being so far from any urban areas, that water stayed where it was. After the revolution in 1969, Colonel Muammar al-Qaddhafi decided that he would make his country self-sufficient in terms of food and fibers, and set about pondering the construction of a system of pipes to take the water from the Sahara to the Libyan coast. What is now known as the Great Man-Made River consists in a system of two main pipes buried under the sand and capable of transporting the equivalent of 5% of the Nile’s capacity. As the largest water transport project ever undertaken it has been described as the eighth wonder of the world. Today the scarcity of water in North Africa is getting more and more severe. The regional annual average per capita water availability fell from 2,285 cubic meters in 1955 to 958 cubic meters in 1990, and it is expected to reach 602 cubic meters by the year 2025. The alternative to the GMR4 is investing in large scale seawater desalination technology. While figures for the GMR were competitive with the cost of seawater desalination twenty years ago, the situation has recently changed in favour of seawater desalination, which dropped to a cost of less than 0.50 US Dollars per cubic meter. In view of these radical changes in water costs, the Libyan authorities may consider developing large scale seawater desalination as a source of water to mix with the transferred water. Simple economics and the new paradigm of sustainable development clearly indicate that even though water transfers may seem cheaper in the short term, project implementation and real life practical experience have shown that the longterm sustainability of growth and development in North Africa will depend on longer term strategies. The second type of resistance regards dams and deviations. These time-honoured techniques have also caused enormous changes to the hydrosphere. The first recorded dam deviated the waters of the Nile in the Menphi area in Ancient Egypt some 4900 years ago, while in Chi87 EX TREME C I T IES

fig 5 Hoover Dam - june 2005 Source - National Register of Historic Places 88

na during the Han dynasty -second century B.C.- earth dams up to 30 meters high were built. But once more, it was after the mid twentieth century that the applied sciences of civil and hydraulic engineering and fluid mechanics made it possible to build ever larger dams, which proved increasingly problematic for the natural context. Initially dams were generally built for a precise aim, mainly irrigation, until the United States5 launched the pioneering project of coordinating various fluvial basins, and set about building dams to serve various different purposes. Gigantic dams also served a broader political purpose, that of conveying the image of a dynamic, determined state capable of harnessing rivers for the good of society. Dams legitimized governments and made those in charge popular. The American model was repeated in the Soviet Union a few years later. The First Five-Year Plan called for Soviet agriculture to be converted from predominantly individual farms into a system of large, state-run, collective farms. The Communist regime believed that collectivization would improve agricultural productivity and produce grain reserves large enough to feed the growing urban labour force. The anticipated surplus would pay for industrialization. Stalin’s wild schemes for changing his country’s geography and climate hyperbolic projects with extremely high human and environmental costs - reached unthinkable levels. Projects such as channelling Siberia’s rivers towards the southern deserts to enable the cultivation of cotton or drying out the Gulf of Kara-Bogaz to extract sodium sulphate, were never completed due to their sheer impossibility but proved devastating in environmental terms. The political motivations behind dams helps to explain the existence of constructions which are both diseconomic and very suspect from the ecological point of view. Land reclaim probably dates back to the dawn of agriculture. This method was practiced by all the most ancient civilizations, and in the Middle Ages Europeans were skilled drainers. In Holland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries windmills for pumping water multiplied but, again the technologies and scale of twentieth century practices enabled much more ambitious projects to be formulated. During the twentieth century around 15% of the world’s 10 million meters squared of wetlands were drained. In 1998 half of the planet’s remaining wetlands were located in Siberia, Alaska and northern Canada and these are temporarily destined to remain as they are, as drainage would not be cost effective. Indeed up to the 1960s no-one believed that wetlands could be more useful than drained land. Together with the harnessing of rivers this obsession with draining wetlands has caused one of the most significant environmental changes of our time. Like other changes wrought, the end result is more space for the human population and livestock, and less space for creatures less useful to man. 89 EX TREME C I T IES

The twentieth century: acceleration The morphological changes in the water cycle have had considerable repercussions on the fauna, human populations and societies, depending on the extent to which they have pledged their future to rid themselves of the constraints of the past. In the past only the cities capable of recruiting armies of workers were able to make major changes to the hydrosphere, while in the twentieth centuries societies with the necessary technologies and enough wealth also acquired that power. Climate changed little for 10,000 years but is changing fast now. In the twentieth century, societies often pursued the shark strategy amid an increasingly unstable global ecology, hence a situation ever more suited to rats. The timid appearance of the term resilience in ecology is symptomatic of this. In the italian encyclopedia Treccani for example, the definition of the word resilience contains the word resistance - Resilience = measure of a material’s resistance to impact (…). From this angle resilience is therefore the degree of a body’s resistance to collapse. Beyond the definitions we can offer for the two terms, in this case it is interesting that one is presented as a measure of the other. The term resistance conceptually encapsulates that of resilience, possibly because the latter springs or is born from the former. The term resilience has only been used in ecology since the 1970s6 in relation to ecosystems, and as we have seen, the failures of the large hydraulic engineering companies began to emerge at the end of the 1960s. It would therefore appear that the twenty year period from the early 1970s to the early 1990s marks an important transition. 1956 saw the publication of Man’s Role in Changing the Face of the Earth7, an interdisciplinary analysis of the effects of human action on the environment. The thinking was yet strictly linked to processes of urbanisation and industrialisation -people were not yet aware they possessed the means to change the planet’s entire climate- but the first warning signs were clearly present and eloquent.

Notes 1 A phylogenetic tree or evolutionary tree is a branching diagram or “tree” showing the inferred evolutionary relationships among various biological species or other entities based upon similarities and differences in their physical and/or genetic characteristics. 2 Inspired by the River Tay in Scotland and later the Ganges in India Geddes studied life from the mountains to the water - 1917 3 See: (McNeill 2002) 4 See: (McNeill 2002) 5 abbreviation for Great Man-Made River 6 The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter in May 1933. 7 See: (Holling 1973) 8 See: (Thomas 1957) 90

fig 6 1955, Owen Falls Source - Sonja Winklmaier - photographer

References - Capra F., 1982, The Turning Point, Simon and Schuster, New York - Cosgrove D., Petts G., 1990, Water, Engineering and Landscape, Belhaven Press, London - Dal Boca A., 2001, Gheddafi una sfida dal deserto, Laterza, Rome - McNeill J.R., 2002, Qualcosa di nuovo sotto il sole, Einaudi, Turin - Minella W., 1991, eds., Il dibattito sul dispotismo orientale, Armando editore, Rome - Fratino U., 2002, Landscapes of water : History, innovation and sustainable design, proceedings of the international conference Monopoli, 26-29 September - Harris M., 1979, Cannibals and Kings, Landmark editions,1977, Feltrinelli, Turin - Thomas W. L., 1957, eds., Man’s role in changing the face of the earth, Jr. Wenner-Gren Foundation, Chicago - Westerman F., 2006, Ingenieri di anime, Feltrinelli, Milan, - K. Wittfogel, 1980, Il dispotismo orientale, SugarCo ed, Milan - Alghariani S. A., 2003, Water transfer versus desalination in North Africa: sustainability and cost comparison, (report) 91 EX TREME C I T IES

fig.1: Climate demonstrators, Cop 15, Copenhagen, December 2009, Source: picture by the autor 92

ON RESI L IENCE Chiara Cavalieri

The attitude of the great “sharks” of the 20th century, thirsty for resources and able to modify environmental conditions according to their own needs, have determined the establishment of a highly specialized civilization based on the use of fossil fuels. A civilization that has produced a “permanent ecological disorder” 1. From the 70s on, these theories got a foothold, manifesting themselves as key points of the great change that humanity was going to have to face in the following decades: resource exhaustibility2 and environmental safety. In 1987 The Bruntland Commission introduced the problem of “a great global challenge”3, for the first time mentioning the environment besides population and development in the international political debate. Meanwhile, the existence of environmental tendencies which threaten a deep alteration of the planet and endanger many species, including mankind, became obvious. Problems like increased desertification, deforestation and the resulting conversion of forests into agricultural lands, acid rains which cause damage to the artistic and architectural heritage and to the environment, the use of fossil fuels -main cause of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere and of global warming, the industrial gasses which threaten to impoverish the ozone layer, the toxic substances introduced by industry and agriculture in the human food chain and in the groundwater, immediately induced the Bruntland Commission to declare the impossibility of separating matters connected with economical development from environmentally related matters: “many forms of development erode the resources on which they should be founded, and environmental decay might undermine urban development. Poverty is at the same time cause and effect of global environmental 93 EX TREME C I T IES

disturb: sea level rising

adaptation strategy: resistance

adaptation strategy: resilience

adaptation strategy: resilience

fig.2: Sea level rising. Graphic example of resilient and resistant adaptation 94

problems”. The emerging of the environmental matter and the exhaustibility of the resources threw the great “sharks” of the 20th century into a crisis and emphasized the need for a radical change of paradigm. “Rats”, example of absolute adaptability and elasticity, perfectly embody the new necessary approach, in order to: “satisfy the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 4” The word that identifies the new paradigm at its best is resilience, originally only used to describe mechanical properties, but now extended to cover deeper and more socially relevant meanings. Resilience describes a concept that eludes any unambiguous interpretation, that can be generically described as the ability of a system to recover after an alteration. Due to the ambiguity of the term, the debate on resilience enriches the term itself as the conceptual debate develops. The origin of the word is Latin, where resilio represents the act of bouncing, jumping back, going back to the original position. From the 70s on, this concept was used with a deeper meaning, to describe various types of systems subjected to disturbances and their ability to reestablish themselves and return to the original state, generating a debate that, in spite of decades of extensive written material produced on the subject, has not so far rendered a clear and unambiguous definition of the term, even though it is clear that resilience is closely linked with the concept from whence it descends, that of resistance. In this conceptual confusion Klein’s critical analysis 5 is extremely helpful in identifying the most important steps in the use of the word in other disciplinary areas, underlining its most important characteristics. In 1973 Holling coined the term resilience referring to an ecosystem as: “the measure of disturbance that can be absorbed before the system changes its structure” 6. Consequentially, the stability of a system is defined by Holling as: “the measure of resistance to disturbance and the speed of return to the equilibrium” 7. In 1981 Timmerman is among the first to discuss the resilience of a social system related to environmental damages, defining resilience as: “the measure of a system’s or part of a system’s capacity to absorb and recover from the occurrence of a hazardous event” 8. In 1992 Dovers and Handmer, reasoning on the resilience of social systems, distinguish the processes of adaptation of a society between proactive and 95 EX TREME C I T IES

fig.3: Collapse of Puente Beatriz de la Cueva Bridge, 2010 Source:, Album de Gobierno do Guatemala

fig.4: Collapse of Puente Beatriz de la Cueva Bridge, resilient adaptation 2010 Source:, Album de Gobierno do Guatemala 96

reactive. A society relying on a reactive model of adaptation “approaches the future by modifying the status quo and making the present resistant to change”, while a society which has developed a proactive adaptability “accepts the inevitability of change and tries to create a resilient system that is able to adapt to new conditions” 9. In the transition from ecosystems to social systems, it is strongly emphasised that what distinguishes one social system from any other is the human ability to foresee and to learn. Resilience becomes not only a desirable propensity of any system towards self-reestablishment after damage, a catastrophe, a disturbance, but also a characteristic that can be built, refined and acquired on the basis of past experiences and future expectations. In the urban environment resilience has been studied according to these two aspects; as a characteristic analyzed retrospectively, evaluating a city’s ability to rebuild itself after a huge catastrophe. The study by Campanella and Vale10 on the destiny of cities after destruction, independently from the fact whether this was due to natural or anthropic origin, fits in this area of studies. The anthological research of destroyed cities in human history (from Carthage and Pompei, to Hiroshima, Berlin and New Orleans) is associated with a range of more general remarks, which confirm the fact that the city, as a complex system, is resilient as a result of the sum of the resilience of each of its parts. Is it then possible, thanks to such a vast knowledge of past events, to build a resilient city today? It is useful, as a conceptual practice, to consider the city as an organism consisting of two main systems, a physical and a social one, connected in terms of interdependence. Physical systems, the city’s body, are represented by the constructed and natural components of the city. These include roads, buildings, infrastructures, communication systems, energy facilities, as well as waterways, soil, topography, geology, and other natural systems. On the other hand, we can imagine the social systems as the city’s brain; they are represented by the social and institutional components of the city. They include all forms of human association that operate in an urban area: schools, neighbourhoods agencies, organizations11. In the event of a catastrophe, physical and social systems are more capable of surviving and maintaining their function and their reciprocal relation, without any system’s distruption, when a city is more resilient12. It is visibly clear how much the role of the peculiar ability of social systems to foresee catastrophes in the spatial-temporal dimension, is increasing the resilience of physical systems too. Today we are able more than ever before to pinpoint in an increasingly precise manner the vulnerability and the specificity of a territory and to act in order to predispose it to accept the change. 97 EX TREME C I T IES

The debate on resilient cities often regards many third world countries, frequently exposed to major climate risks, which do not possess either the economic nor the social resources to respond to a critical situation with a rapid solution. This critical lack of resources makes these cities a primary objective in the strategies of international cooperation. Building a resilient city involves many different considerations. It means acting on the social systems, with concrete educational programs addressed to the population, aiming at strengthening the community, as well as the individual capacities to face critical situations and the changes in social and private life in extreme conditions. It means financing the development of technologies in order to make the production systems as well as the agricultural and the infrastructural systems adaptability resilient. It means preserving primary resources via reduced consumption, the development of renewable energy resources. It means adapting the infrastructures and the building techniques to a potential change in climatic conditions. It means, in short, rethinking the ways and the forms of urban development, and the destiny of those areas that, although urbanized, are destined to disappear.

Notes 1 See: (Mc Neill 2000), the rat and shark theory is best explained by M. Barcelloni Corte in On Resistance. 2 The awareness of the existence of concrete limits to growth develops in the early 70s, when the belief of man’s total control over natural forces through technology is shattered. Limits of growth (D.H. Meadows, D.L. Meadows, Randers, Behrens, MIT), a report redacted for the Club of Rome directed by Aurelio Peccei, is a fundamental book in this context, marking a line between old perception and a new awareness over the consequences of human growth. The report underlines the mistake of contemplating infinite growth in a world with finite resources. Proof of these theories came with the petrol crisis of 1973, consequence of the Arab-Israeli war fought that same year. 3 Our common future, better known as the Bruntland Report, named after the President of the World Commission for Environment and Development, was published in 1987. The Commission’s duty is to tackle a global challenge: “facing the future and preserving the interests of future generations”. The problems concern the acknowledged limits of resources together with the impracticability of considering development as a separate problem from the ecological challenge. 4 WCED definition of “sustainable development”.The debate on this concept is still open and has gradually given the term a vague and fleeting meaning, consequence of a vast and often partial political interpretation. 5 See: (Klein 2004) 6 See: (Holling 1996) 7 ibidem 8 See: (Timmerman 1981) 9 See: (Dovers, Handmer 1992) 10 The Resilient city: How modern city recovers from disaster, published in 2005, , is the result of a study that started out from a series of seminars and talks following the attack of 9/11 2001. 11 See: (Godschalk 2003) 12 ibidem


References - Carraro C., 2008, eds., Cambiamenti climatici e strategie di adattamento in Italia. Una valutazione economica, Il Mulino, Bologna - Greco P., 2003, Lo sviluppo insostenibile, Mondadori, Milano - Godschalk R., 2003, “Urban Hazard Mitigation: Creating Resilient Cities”, Natural Hazards Review, 2003 - Dovers S.R., Handmer, J.W., 1992, “Uncertainty, sustainability and change”, Global Environmental Change n.2 - Holling C.S., 1996, Engineering resilience versus ecological resilience, in P. Schulze, 1996, eds., Engineering within ecological constraints, National Academy, Washington - Holling C.S., 1973, “Resilience and stability of ecological System”, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 1973 - WCED, 1987, Our Common Future, Oxford University Press, Oxford - IPCC, 2007, 4th Assessement Report, Synthesis Report (report) - Klein R. J., 2004, Resilience to natural hazards: how useful is this concept?, Global Enviromental Change, Elsvier LDT - McNeill J. R., 2000, Something new under the sun. An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World, W.W. Norton & Company - Paton D. ,Johnson D., 2006, Disaster Resilience: An Integrated Approach, Charles Thomas Publisher, LTD, Springfield - Stern N., 2009, Un piano per salvare il pianeta, Feltrinelli Editore, Milano - THE WORLD BANK, 2009, The Little Green Data Book 2009, Communications Development Incorporated, Washington - Timmerman P., 1981, Vulnerability, Resilience and the Collapse of Society: A Review of Models and Possible Climatic Applications, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Toronto, Canada - Vale L.J., Campanella T.J., 2005, The Resilient city: How modern city recovers from disaster, Oxford University Press, Oxford

fig.5: New Orleans, Katrina Hurricane, 2005 Source:; 99 EX TREME C I T IES




1 00


European seas Higher risk for fish stocks Increase in phytoplankton biomass Northward movement of species Higher sea surface temperatures Sea-level rise

The United Kingdom In London, the typical air conditioned office building is estimated to increase energy used for cooling by 10 % by the 2050s, and around 20 % by the 2080s (LCCP, 2002). 2 掳C warming by 2050 is estimated to decrease fossil fuel demand for winter space heating by 5 to 10 % and electricity demand by 1 to 3 % (Kirkinen et al., 2005).

Spain Peaks in electricity demand during summer heatwaves are very likely to equal or exceed peaks in demand during cold winter periods in Spain (L贸pez Zafra et al., 2005)

North-western Europe (maritime climate) Higher risk of coastal flooding Northward movement of freshwater species Increase in river flow Increase in winter precipitation



Increase in cooling of 114 % for Madrid by 2071 to 2100 (Fronzek and Carter, 2007).

BARCELONA METROPOLITAN AREA South-east Mediterranean Up to 10 % decrease in energy heating requirements and up to 28 % increase in cooling requirements in 2030 (Cartalis et al., 2001). Mediterranean Two to three fewer weeks a year will require heating but additional two to three (along the coast) to five weeks (inland areas) will need cooling by 2050 (Giannakopoulos et al., 2005). 1 02

Italy and Spain Summer space cooling for air conditioning will effect electricity demand with increase up to 50 % in Italy and Spain by 2080s. Mediterranean region Decrease in annual precipitation Decrease in annual river flow More forest fires Increasing water demand for agriculture Lower crop yields More deaths by heat waves Less energy by hydropower Higher risk of desertification Higher risk for biodiversity loss Less summer tourism

Arctic Decrease in Arctic sea ice coverage Greenland ice sheet loss

Finland Wintertime heating demand estimated to decrease by 10 % in Finland (Vajda et al., 2004) by 2021 to 2050. Wintertime heating demand estimated to decrease by 20 to 30 % in Finland (Kirkinen et al., 2005) by 2100. Northern Europe (boreal region) Less snow, lake and river ice cover Increased river flows Higher Forest growth Higher crop yields Northward movement of species More energy by hydropower Lower energy consumption for heating Higher risk of damages by winter storms More (summer) tourism

Mountain areas High temperature increase Higher risk of rock falls Less mountain permafrost Less glacier mass Less ski tourism in winter Upwards shift of plants and animals High risk of species extinction Higher soil erosion risk

projection energy demand

Summary Climate change

Central and southern Europe Increase in cooling for central and southern Europe associated with an increase in inter-annual variability by 2071 to 2100 (Fronzek and Carter, 2007).

Central and eastern Europe More temperature extremes More river floods in winter Less summer precipitation Higher water temperature Higher crop yield variability Increased forest fire danger Lower forest stability

Hungary and Romania Wintertime heating demand estimated to decrease by 6 to 8 % (Vajda et al., 2004) by 2021 to 2050.


Map elaborated by the authors. Key past and projected impacts and effects on sectors for the main biogeographic regions of Europe Document Actions Source of data and texts: IPCC, 2007. Climate Change 2007: Synthesis report Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Projections of energy demand for several time horizons in Europe Source of data and texts: Alcamo, J.; Moreno, J. M.; Novรกky, B.; Bindi, M.; Corobov, R.; Devoy, R. J. N.; Giannakopoulos, C.; Martin, E.; Olesen, J. E.; Shvidenko, A., 2007. Europe. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Parry, M. L.; Canziani, O. F.; Palutikof, J. P.; van der Linden, P. J. and Hanson, C. E. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 541580

Greece In Athens, estimated a 30 % increase in energy demand by 2080 during July due to air conditioning (Giannakopoulous, 2006). 103 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES




1 04

FIVE METER ELEVATION CONTOUR LINE The contour line enables the identification of lowlands which are vulnerable to significant sea level rise and the risk of flooding. The 5 meter contour line, in vector format, is derived from the DTM and completed where needed with other sources of data. Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: EEA: EUROSION was a project commissioned by the General Directorate Environment of the European Commission 2002-2004. To derive contour lines of 5 and 10 meters, the data were locally complemented with other sources, namely national DTM and digitised topographical maps website: European Environment Agency five-meter-elevation-contour-line


200 x 200 km

Water + 5 meter contour line

The contour line enables the identification of lowlands which are vulnerable to significant sea level rise and the risk of flooding

1 06

Pipes and sponges

mobility network: fast roads, roads, railways


Urban fabric; Industrial, commercial and transport units; Mine, dump and construction sites







%!! '()*+,-,./

Delta region MA

Barcelona MA



Agricultural areas; Arable land; Permanent crops; Pastures; Heterogeneous agricultural areas





Nox emissions


%'! ()*+,-.-/0

The abbreviation (NOx) collectively identifies the nitrogen oxides that are produced as inevitable byproducts during combustion by air (from wood fires to car engines to thermoelectric power stations).

Venetian MA

Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: - Land cover and Nox emission (CLC2000 Corine land cover 2000, European Environment Agency, - Contour line: Five meter elevation contour line Document Actions (European Environment Agency, - Roads, railways, waterways: (OpenStreetMap community and MapCruzin, www. and www.mapcruzin. com)



1 08

builds and infrastructures




Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: - Land cover: CLC2000, Corine land cover 2000, European Environment Agency, - Contour line: Five meter elevation contour line Document Actions (European Environment Agency, - Roads, railways, waterways: (OpenStreetMap community and MapCruzin, and

5 meter contour line

(200x200km )


Resistance and resilience in delta water planning

Fig 1. The Zuidplaspolder, near Gouda.

This is the Zuidplaspolder, the deepest polder in Holland, almost seven meters below sea level (fig 1). Holland can be seen in a fighting against water perspective, applying a resistance strategy. I would state this differently: working with water. This leads to strategies with a more prominent role for resilience. To simplify: If we focus on protecting our house and our job we will need to resist a changing environment. However, if we focus on a changing environment, we need to be resilient in our life and work. The uncertainties of climate change, globalization and urban growth confront us with dilemmas that demand strategies in which resilience plays a more important role. A planning with water approach is part of these strategies. Indeed the Dutch Delta is a specific case. Deltas are a confrontation between the river and the sea. The power of the river Rhine is nothing compared to the Mississippi. The power of the sea there is not like in the Gulf of Bengal. Indeed a comparison with the Po Delta shows more correspondences, namely lagoons and sedimentation. In the Dutch Delta the sea is stronger and this has led to the formation of a sand barrier, the dunes. Behind this barrier, the stagnant water of the rivers has led to sedimentation and peat development. The river mouths have shifted towards the southwest and peat has become the basis of the polders of the Randstad behind the dunes. 109 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Fig 2. The superdune plan. Waves and wind for coastal defence.

Fig 3. Floodplain strategies, space for the rivers.

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The coast Let’s start with the coast. The rise in sea level poses serious safety questions. Giving up the Randstad with 6 million people is not an option. The defence of this metropolis, however, can be based on more resilient strategies. Should we just increase the height of the dykes to safeguard the Randstad? Increasingly the strategy shifts to dynamic coast management using dune formation and the water currents themselves: the waves and the wind. Without dykes a large part of the country would be flooded: very inconvenient but no reason to panic. The truth is we do have dykes. However, if we only increase the height of the dykes we will increase risk. I argue that fighting against nature is not a fruitful approach. We have to work with nature and this implies planning with nature, planning with natural processes. The strategies for the coast vary from location to location. In the Nieuwe Maas, the gate to the Rotterdam Harbour, a storm surge barrier has been built, the Maeslantkering, whose function can be compared to the Moses project in Venice. The barrier gates only close once or twice per year in the event of serious storms, to protect the city from serious damage. “Normal” floods are admitted to the city, that has to be resilient enough to cope with them. In all other places the dunes can be reinforced. The Delfland coast near Rotterdam is one of the weaker coastal spots. Here scenarios are being studied for expanding the dune area. An interesting project is the sand motor, now in the preparation stage. Here Arcachon in the Gironde area near Bordeaux is the source of inspiration. The idea is to create a superdune with sand taken from the bottom of the North Sea. The waves and the wind will distribute the sand along the coast. By planting rows of sticks or reeds the sand is caught on places where the dunes need reinforcement (fig.2). The rivers In the river area the flood risk can also be tackled by heightening the existing dykes. But higher dykes increase risk for the lowlands behind the dykes if something goes wrong. One approach is to build super, very wide dykes with a top surface used for buildings, recreation or agriculture. The official strategy in the Netherlands today has shifted to space for the rivers, increasingly focusing on the capacity of the floodplains and, in some bottleneck situations, creating bypasses or spillways: a resilience strategy (fig. 3). Design studies illustrate the discussions of concrete plans (fig.4). Pilot projects are essential in a process of change. Floating houses are a good solution in situations of fluctuating water tables, such as floodplains (fig.5).


Fig 4. Design study by Elisabeth Blokland for houses in floodplains.

Fig 5. Pilot project. Floating houses in the floodplain of the Maas.

Fig 7. Design study by Monique de Groot for houses in partially inundated polder.

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Fig 6. Soil map demonstrating how peat soils (purple) dominate the polder landscape.

Polders Polders lie below sea and river levels, hence safety strategies for the coast and for the rivers are a preliminary condition. But polders also pose their own problems: rainwater can also cause flooding, for instance in the event of heavy rainstorms. Even in a wet country like the Netherlands, however, shortage of water can be a problem. In the dry season evaporation exceeds rainfall. Especially for agriculture, this is an issue of growing importance in a perspective of climate change. Water quality also poses serious problems. Traditional control relies upon water discharge (drainage) and water supply (irrigation). Resilient strategies focus on rainwater storage (in groundwater and in surface waters), providing a buffer for peak rainfall events and a reservoir of good quality fresh water. The story of the Dutch polders is the story of peat, as the soil map in fig.6 shows. In the map, all purple-coloured soils are peat soils, organic residues of marshland growth. Pumping in a peat landscape causes land subsidence resulting from water removal and oxidation. In many areas, especially where intensive agriculture is practised, more pumping is required. And more pumping leads to more subsidence. Would it not be better to allow the peat to form again? Climate change entails anticipating ever harsher wet and dry extremes. Storage is the answer to both. Yet the question is whether it can be combined with meadows for dairy farming. Glasshouse horticulture is a more likely proposition, natural growth and recreation even more so. In the wetlands you can even have peat form again. In existing situations you cannot simply inundate a large part of polders. So the focus is on detailed design of smaller areas for redevelopment and on the intra polder water systems. Storage requires fluctuating water tables. Fluctuation combines with houses on stilts or on higher ground. Floating houses would also be a solution; however studies show that ensembles of floating single-family houses present their own problems. You cannot replace all green land by water. Fences, playgrounds, parking spaces require dry land (fig.7). Urban planning and the city edge Edges are the promising solution. The city of Gouda is a fine example. The quality of the edge needs to be given more central place in urban planning (fig.8). Wateringse Veld (The Hague). A true green structure combines nature and recreation, beautiful views and water management. It creates attractive cycle tracks and walks that connect the city to the surrounding countryside, and It structures the urban landscape and the identity of the city (fig.9). The Schalkwijk case (Haarlem), redevelopment of a post-war district, is another illustration of the role of the edge of the city (fig.10). Water storage and 113 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Fig 8. New edge project in the urban fringe of Gouda.

Fig 9. New edge project in Wateringse Veld (The Hague).

circulation model

Fig 10. New edge of an existing urban district, Haarlem Schalkwijk.

Fig 11. Haarlem Schalkwijk, water guiding model and water structure plan.

Fig 12. Haarlem Schalkwijk, two networks guiding model and urban structure.

Fig 13. The two networks strategy for slow lane and fast lane development.

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purification is a perfect combination for creating quality on the edge. Fig. 11 illustrates the circulation model that guided the re-design of the water system to perform a role in peak and seasonal storage. The blue system circulates surface water from the storage lake in the urban fringe through the built-up area and back to the edge of the city where wetlands purify the water. Only surplus rainfall goes to the blue-grey system that carries water to the sea. This project is under completion and we can see how it has already created conditions for new life. On the city edge, namely green structures and a new role for ‘living on the edge’, water storage, urban parkland, biodiversity and a diversity of living environments. Water and traffic networks, carrying structures for urban planning The realisation of edge quality was only possible in a structural plan that did not envisage a ring road, creating a noisy barrier on the edge of the city. Resilient water strategies and edge qualities demand a a coherent strategy. The two networks strategy approaches the design of traffic and water networks in a way that avoids conflicts and creates synergy. Water and traffic networks, carrying structures for urban development and redevelopment (fig.12). Elaborating this idea to a guiding model for this category of urban situations leads to a carrying structure of water and traffic networks that creates conditions for coping with the uncertainties of two complex issues: Climate Change (the role of the water network) and Globalisation (the role of the traffic network). Both issues require an interaction between flows and spaces. Globalisation demands a robust infrastructure. The guiding model organises this in corridors, with fast lanes, that create conditions for accessibility and traffic flow management but also for investing in noise and pollution control and in bridges and tunnels to overcome the problems of barriers. On the quiet side, one has the slow lanes, where attractive housing for employees can be combined with blue and green carriers of regional identity. These carrying structures create a sustainable framework with a flexible infill. In this way we can make globalization more human and more ecological (fig.13). Carrying structures and planning theory In the past forty years, planning theory has jumped from systems oriented technical planning to action oriented communicative planning. We have to avoid the pitfalls of the extremes: blueprint plans and negotiated nonsense. Meanwhile the systems approach has generated a better understanding of chaos and the uncertainties of transitions. At the same time the communicative approach has developed a better understanding of actor discourses and perceptions of the physical world. It is time to build bridges between the two approaches. Carrying structures, such as the water and traffic networks, 115 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Fig 14. The role of carrying structures in urban planning and complexity theory.

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green spaces


agriculture multi-functional

Fig.18. Carrying structures creating a structure plan frame. agriculture, food prodution

Fig.17. A design and planning strategy: upgrading and downgrading.

industry, logistics

Fig.16 The same landscape in 2003.


Fig.15. A typical cittĂ diffusa landscape in 1955.

can be part of these bridges. They create physical conditions for flexible infill based on interaction in multi actor processes (fig. 14). The Veneto città diffusa What can we learn from these experiences and interpretations for the città diffusa landscape of the Veneto? In a typical città diffusa Veneto landscape, based on the Ponte di Piave case in Zaccariotto’s PhD study (Integrated Urban Landscape, Water Sensitive Design for The Città Diffusa of the Veneto Region, 2010), fig. 15 shows a schematic image of the 1955 situation. A fine-grained landscape, scattered settlements, many narrow parcels separated by hedges and ditches, some wider green areas along the rivers, between these rivers, a regular pattern of roads and watercourses. Fig. 16 shows a schematic image of the same area in the 2003 situation. A coarse-grained landscape, increased business areas, increased residential clusters, increased size of the fields, removal of hedges and ditches, increased production and increase of transport for supply and production along with increased traffic movements by residents. Conflicts: congestion, unsafe situations on the roads and where roads are crossing residential areas. Decline of biodiversity. Water problems: too much, too little, too polluted. The fast lane is not fast enough, the slow lane is not slow enough. Fig. 17 demonstrates a possible design/planning approach: upgrading and downgrading of roads and upgrading and downgrading of watercourses. The schematic plan shows how upgrading and downgrading could possibly lead to a robust landscape that can cope with the uncertainties of climate change by creating more space for water storage. Upgrading the traffic network can prepare the città diffusa landscape for the economic uncertainties of a globalising world. The landscape will still be isotropic in that it carries a diversity of comparable qualities in all directions. It will be diffuse at a higher scale. We cannot restore the same fine-grained pattern of fifty years ago but at the lowest level there are good conditions for the quality of the edges. A promising perspective? The latter image illustrated a possible future, but it is neither possible nor desirable to fix the future in such a detailed way. A structure plan should create conditions, carrying conditions. Perhaps the structure of a two networks strategy can offer a common frame (fig. 18). This structure plan scheme may also illustrate purposeful meanings of some terms used in the planning discussions in the città diffusa. Connectivity is related to traffic and water connections. Along the traffic lines, permeability is high for dynamic activities, related to people and goods. This is the fast lane. Along the water lines, permeability is high for wildlife, but also for pedestrians and cyclists. This is the slow lane. But: crossings are crucial. They have to create conditions 117 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

for connectivity across barriers. Porosity is not only a visual quality. Here it acquires a development perspective: windows for market and windows for private and public activities. Whether the pores will be filled with these activities depends on the market, the social climate, political decisions and private initiatives. The two networks create a sustainable frame: differentiated at the detailed level, isotropic at higher levels. Some years ago, landscape architect Adriaan Geuze placed a number of 8 meter high inflatable cows along the motorways crossing the meadows of the Green Heart in the Randstad Holland (fig.19). It was a desperate cry to bring the cows back to the meadow landscape, the landscape that urban citizens love. The logic of the world market oriented dairy farming economy, however, dictates that it is more economic to bring grass to the cows than cows to the grass. So the cows on a modern farm stay inside. A desperate cry does not change this one sided economic reality. To work towards a better mutual adjustment of landscape and agriculture does not only ask for physical conditions but also for economic conditions. Planning has to address the two sides.

Fig.19 West 8, Adriaan Geuze, Cow - Horizon Project 2006-2005, various places, the Netherlands 1 18


Aarti Sharma, Andrea Curtoni, Diogo Pires Ferreira, Giulia Mazzorin, Linh Ngoc Le. Meghal Kodia

Exploring the possibilities of a closed flood protection system for the River Maas. The project is part of the EMU Spring Semester 2010 in TU Delft under the guidance of H. Mayer and W. Hermans. It has been used as a basis to explore the opportunities of closing the River Maas with a lock. The lock element provides the fundamental advantage of allowing the river edges of the city to soften up, thus allowing a new, closer relationship with water. This could mean spaces of mobility using the river, spaces for recreation, and more. However, the new strengthened dyke outside the river, and the introduction of a separation structure between the 2 types of water at Botlek, might allow for many more opportunities - ones based on Rotterdam’s international networks. Over time, if Rotterdam becomes a much larger and stronger port, this means allowing the possibility of creating a larger port island and a large lido for sea barriers created through natural sedimentation. This large port is not a singular entity - it is based on collaborative networks with Antwerp and Amsterdam and serves as the largest port collaboration for all of Europe. In addition, the old port land is now opened up for new activity - one based on the existing strengths of Rotterdam as a network node for gas, heat, water and electricity. Industries of energy generation are introduced - including a large osmotic plant (based on the separation of the 2 water types), algae and other bio fuel production, wind electricity, and the logistics for the same - thus introducing the concept of Rotterdam as a ‘Battery City’. The west side of the new dyke would slowly be changed to an amphibic lagoon lifestyle structure 119 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Existing Dyke location

Proposal for New Dyke + Lock

Potential for Infrastructure Spine and it’s connections

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while creating opportunity to continue the national ecological corridors, while the east side is a city networked in controlled water levels with additional ‘water-bike’ routes created through the opening of old canals. These areas can start networking their excess gas, heat and energy produces together to strengthen the battery network [the idea of connected Heat, Water, Gas, Electricity: (H.U.U.G.E network)] concept along with improved infrastructure lines to connect the new super port through a spine corridor along the Maas. The whole project has thus been conceived looking at Rotterdam as a new Infrastructure City, Network City, Port City, Battery City, Ecological City - and is based on providing new safety, special infrastructure, mobility, industry and economy, ecology and thus, over time, - a new quality of life...

Proposal for a New Collaborative Port between Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Antwerp


Actual topography in the floodplein

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ROT TERDAM OPEN RI VE RCI T Y Tahereh Keimanesh, Sara King, Carlo Pisano, Diego Luna Quintanilla, Veronica Saddi, Vasiliki Tsioutsiou

This project is part of the EMU Spring Semester 2010 in TU Delft under the guidance of H. Mayer and W. Hermans. It makes the shift from the concept of feeling safe inside the dyke to the awareness of the natural process. The Maas is not a dangerous river to be controlled but becomes a source of possibilities to integrate the whole large region of Rotterdam. By intervening on the process and not on the shape of the river the free dynamics of the fluxes will design the land. By understanding the process, it will be possible to live in a strict contact with the water and have activities set according to the flood probabilities that create a vertical zoning. Our main goal is to give the Maas river the transformation dynamic it had over time, and which it gradually lost during the last 150 years with the development of the hard-edged port. The designing process begins by defining the existing heights of the port. We imagine the whole flood plain as the river and not only the water stream between the docks. If the water levels were to rise, most of the port areas would be underwater while only some areas would stay emerged, in the form of islands. We keep these island shapes as the basis of our new waterscape and transform the piers by breaking them through cutting off land and adding it to other locations. In this way we create higher safe zones and more dynamic low zones, which transform in time giving back to the river the dynamic it once had. Based on the new archipelago structure, we define our zoning: The islands are composed of a hard-edged, well defined high - safe zone and by a soft low zone, which transforms in time with the sedimentation process. Fixed settlements are on the higher parts, while wetlands, floating houses etc form 123 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Concept of considering the floodplain as an important part of the river system

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a more flexible dynamic landscape in the lower zones. The use of the flood plain will be more diverse. In the coming 50 years, the port will shift more and more to the west, and huge areas will become vacant. Specific new programs will be introduced in strategic locations, the development of which will act as catalysts for the transformation of the Rotterdam flood plain into a cohesive metropolitan structure. These catalyst areas involve mixed land use with housing, business and knowledge centres. The larger spaces in between are flexible and left available for market driven innovative industries. In the lower zones recreation and large green areas will merge and form the connecting bridge between the formerly isolated areas around the port. Urban elements for the Vertical Zoning

Constructing the rules for the floodplain: the Vertical Zoning


delta of Llobregat

delta of Ebro


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builds and infrastructures




Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: - Land cover: CLC2000, Corine land cover 2000, European Environment Agency, - Contour line: Five meter elevation contour line Document Actions (European Environment Agency, - Roads, railways, waterways: (OpenStreetMap community and MapCruzin, and

5 meter contour line



The Llobregat Delta Professors: Pablo Elimbaum; Biel Horrach Students: Joan Argemí; Joel Bagés; Rebeca Pérez; Melisa Pesoa; Gabriela Secco; Fernanda Escayola; Eli Gronn; Kris Huysmans

Currently, the Llobregat Delta is one of the main central sites of Barcelona Metropolitan Region. It’s a productive large open space, about 90 km2, located to the south of the Catalan capital urban area. Water has been the natural and cultural mainstay of this territory, so its intelligibility is given by the hydraulic elements that make up the same. Initially, this Delta had a wetland system that extended to the Valencia old road, the backbone of this territory. During the eighteenth and nineteenth century, with the expansion of agriculture, the drying process was held through the construction of canals and dykes to optimize the water use and its management. However, water courses continued flooding the fields sporadically, carrying new sediments that acted as a fertilizer. This rich agricultural mosaic was structured by a network of paths that followed the historical routes as a trace for connecting the settlements as well as the trails formed by the process of colonization of this territory, supplementing the water network. On the other hand, the settlement system originally stood at the transition point between the agricultural plain and the mountain along the “Samontà” path, freeing up the arable land. But over time, industrial activities started to occupy part of the agricultural zone. At the beginning industrial settlements formed in a compact way, but then started to disperse, reaching some sections of Valencia road. The local mobility network was broken by the presence of the major regional infrastructures of the Barcelona metropolitan area due to its special position and condition as a delta. Currently, the area is crossed by four motorways, four rail lines, including the TGV line, and the international airport. The coexistence of a local network of water and land paths with one of Spain’s main infrastructure corridors has turned this area into a large open space of strategic value but of great complexity, requiring special attention in terms of planning. Currently, this territory is characterized by the increasing specialization of the different elements in it. Each area operates independently to provide maxi127 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Fig 1. Water paths Source: -Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya (ICC). -Pla especial de protecció i millora del Parc Agrari del Baix Llobregat. CCRS arquitectes i associats - Diputació de Barcelona.

Source: 2010 Google - Images © 1 28

Fig 2. Earth paths

Fig 3. Paths, roads and motorways

mum control and efficiency, resisting interaction with other functions or land uses. For example, in the case of the water system, the tendency to channel water courses and irrigation channels with concrete prevents any interaction with natural water processes in the productive environment. The main infrastructures and periurban activities have fragmented agricultural space, affecting environmental connections. The ecologically valuable areas have become clustered outside the agricultural areas. Meanwhile, urban areas have lost their relationship with the agricultural park, hampering the social, cultural and productive interaction with this large central area. Among the main consequences of the specialized use of each of the elements in the Llobregat Delta we can highlight, in ecological terms, the increasing salinization of aquifers, due to the waterproofing of the main recharge areas and the over-exploitation of the same. On the economic front, one has the continued neglect and degradation of cropland. And from the social point of view the area suffers from an inaccessibility from its immediate surroundings, despite being well connected. Earth and water paths have been permanent elements in the construction of this delta as well as well as in the processes of transformation of the same. These two elements constitute the core factors of the strategy for territorial reorganization, through actions such as: - The recovery of water space through restoration of the traditional flood plains of rivers and streams. This would restore the recharging of the aquifer and prevent salinization, as well as enable the natural fertilisation of the agricultural soil. - The restoration of water courses enabling them to act as environmental corridors in order to retrieve the natural process of coastline sedimentation, to counter the processes of erosion and rising sea levels, while ensuring environmental improvement and promoting recreational use of beaches. - The environmental compensation arising from infrastructural projects as an opportunity to improve the biodiversity as well as the image and the productive value of the agricultural park, converting interstitial areas into new environmental sites that interact with agricultural space. - The recovery of the network of land paths would allow the connection between settlements and the agricultural central area generating a central regional park. This would have a positive effect on social values and would also generate a greater cohesion of the agrarian structure improving productivity conditions while facilitating communication between the different agricultural areas. So the new lines for rethinking the Llobregat Delta agricultural park imply the establishing of synergies arising from the interaction of productive, social and environmental values as well as the incorporation of these in the different areas of the park. 129 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

the delta of Ebro Source: -Institut CartogrĂ fic de Catalunya (ICC). http:// S.IV






delta evolution 1 30


A territory cut by infrastructure Professors: Pablo Elimbaum; Biel Horrach Students: Joan Argemí; Joel Bagés; Rebeca Pérez; Melisa Pesoa; Gabriela Secco; Fernanda Escayola; Eli Gronn; Kris Huysmans

As a first significant feature, in relation to relevant historical reasons in our model, we refer to the location of Tortosa. From a vantage point and crossing protection on the Ebro and in close relation with the river and rural roads, the small settlements in the Baix Ebre were developed under the control of the capital of bishops as a first outline of the urban system. By the mid eighteenth century Tortosa’s expansion justified the introduction of the railway and its connection to major cities, thereby reaffirming its hierarchical position over the cities of the valley. Around the mid nineteenth century, the appearance of the first bridge at Amposta and the original design of the road began to generate a certain polarity. Finally, the implementation of the infrastructure of the Mediterranean corridor conferred an eccentric position to Tortosa, giving rise to the distribution of territorial accessibility. From this new weakened relative position, Tortosa strengthened its presence in the “corridor” by expanding its territorial development to the city of Aldea. This sequence, which focuses mainly on the process of introducing the infrastructure for mobility, explicitly shows the impact of the same on the development of the area. Competition for access, by the attraction of activities, emphasized the autonomy of the cities. This historical and political inertia, typical of emerging conurbations, the resistant and the insurgent agents, confirms one of the main reasons of the territorial dysfunction of the current model. A core set of linked cities, more or less spontaneous, depend on their access to the Mediterranean corridor. Six aspects of the impact of the current model: ¥ Imbalanced accessibility and lack of connectivity at local and regional level ¥ Friction within urban areas by main road crossing ¥ Fragmentation, disconnection from productive activities. Lack of poles for activities ¥ Lack of criteria to deÞne urban boundaries and the spread of urbanization ¥ Lack of connector spaces in relation to existing protected areas. ¥ IndeÞnite area of the ancient river and coastal fronts. 131 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Synthesis Source: -Institut CartogrĂ fic de Catalunya (ICC).




lagoon 1 32

Notes for a strategy Structuring of the new urban system is the key to the recovery of the basin of the river Ebro and the two coastal fronts as the main structural elements. The river defines the role of each margin, a cultural cohesion between the cities and a common history and identity linked to the landscape and tourism. On the other hand, the ancient coastal fronts define the areas where the system became a “city of cities”, emphasizing new arguments for permeability. The configuration of this inter-municipal project consists in a “pivot” strategy. In this way two well-defined areas - that of tourism and that of production - are confirmed. The strategy not only comprises a list of protected natural areas, but also introduces an environmental network to link the new connectors. These spaces define the binding limits. In addition, around the urban areas, we propose new flexible areas of transition as a buffer zone in order to overcome the speculative tendency for development. The project focuses on ensuring the accessibility and connectivity by “calibrating” the existing and new infrastructures. We propose a model based on the capacity of the landscape.

limits of the infrastructures



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builds and infrastructures




Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: - Land cover: CLC2000, Corine land cover 2000, European Environment Agency, - Contour line: Five meter elevation contour line Document Actions (European Environment Agency, - Roads, railways, waterways: (OpenStreetMap community and MapCruzin, and

5 meter contour line

(200 x 200km)

ABOUT AGRICULTUR A L S PA C E I N TH E CI T TÀ DI FFUSA and its importance for the future Viviana Ferrario

Starting in the sixties, the central part of the Veneto Region has extensively undergone a process of urbanization of the countryside, a process that has developed strongly over the last thirty years. This particular kind of sprawl – a highly functionally mixed densification of a preexistent polycentric settlement structure - has been studied under different viewpoints by many authors (among others: Mancuso, Cecchetto 1976; Astengo, 1982, Piccinato, 1983; Indovina, 1990; It.Urb.80, 1990; Secchi, 1993, 1996; Tosi, Munarin, 2001; Vallerani, Varotto, 2005; Fregolent, 2005) and since the nineties has been referred to as “città diffusa”. As often highlighted, one of its main characteristic is the strong presence of agriculture within it. Urban-rural conflicts in the Veneto region Città diffusa development process was and still is generally analyzed mainly as a typical urban/rural conflict, often criticized as a countryside destroyer and a farming land consumer. But, as observed by some researchers since the eighties (CNR-IPRA, 1988), in Italy, in areas where agriculture cohabits with industrial activity - i.e. città diffusa - the interaction between agriculture and urbanization is not necessarily negative; actually, agricultural activities in urbanized areas often have the impulse to improve themselves in terms of production techniques. Even if it is true that urban growth generally does not take into account any of the natural needs of the farm and instead promotes the fragmentation of farms and fields and favours precarious jobs, urbanized areas do not necessarily create the conditions for abandoning farming activities. On the contrary agricultural space, in a certain way, can find “protection”in urban sprawl and agriculture marginalization. This paradoxical situation becomes patent if we compare the città diffusa 135 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Extreme requests to the farming space set within the cittĂ diffusa. From above: cittĂ  diffusa/leisure/water/greenhouses/energy Elaborated by the author, from C. Piccoli, 2003 (Courtesy of Fondazione Benetton Studi e Ricerche)

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to the territory outside the mostly urbanized area (in the rural parts of the region, where land ownership is much less fragmented and where agriculture has no strong economic competitor and can be more “rational”): firstly, agriculture as an economic activity inside the città diffusa is still rentable, with production values per hectare higher than in the rural territory; secondly, agricultural space has a higher ecological value inside the urbanized territory than outside; thirdly, historical agricultural landscape is better preserved within the città diffusa than in the rural territory, and it is often used by people who live nearby as a sort of territorial park. If seen from this point of view, dispersed urbanization in the Veneto region can be seen as a sort of prototype of a new contemporary form - neither urban nor rural – of cultural landscape, where farming spaces can have a public role strictly linked to the urban population’s needs. Agricultural space performances If in the past urban sprawl seemed to have been rather a preservation factor for the ecological and cultural richness of the agricultural space, we now must say that agricultural space itself plays an important role in this urbanized territory too. As it is now largely recognized (Maier, Shobayashi, 2001), agriculture is in fact a multifunctional activity that goes from food production to energy production, but it can also be a warranty for environmental values, as well as supporting leisure and other social services. In this sense it is possible to talk about farming space as a multifunctional landscape (Brandt, Vejre, 2003). Since farming space can satisfy an increasing number of necessities dictated by our contemporary society, in future might have to respond to even more – and maybe contradictory – requests. This is exactly what is now happening in the città diffusa (Ferrario, 2007). Beside fodder (maize and soya) and food production (wheat, fruit, vegetables, like the famous “red lettuce” of Treviso, and well known wines like “Prosecco”), farming space hosts different functions like leisure, education and tourism - Veneto is the third region in Italy for agritourism (Regione del Veneto, 2010) - but also energy production (mostly wood biomass as fuel, but farming space is increasingly requested for installing PVs), and it can be used for safety (for example in cases of heavy rain, under certain conditions, it can be used as emergency flooding area); from the environmental point of view it covers a very important role connecting the mountain ecological network and the lagoon with its coastly wet areas (Regione del Veneto, 2009); and, finally, farming space in the città diffusa makes it an enjoyable place to live in. How can all of these requests be satisfied upon the same space? How could we manage the possible conflicts among them?


The città diffusa as an agropolitan prototype to be designed The image of central Veneto as a metropolis was increasingly used in the last ten years, to support, justify, criticize its on-going metropolization (noted for example by Indovina, Savino, Fregolent, 2005; Ciacci, 2005). The image of Los Angeles, as a low density metropolis, was and still is often used to describe the future of Veneto (very recently, for example by Aldo Bonomi in the frame of the “Festival città-impresa”, Vittorio Veneto, 24 aprile 2010). But, among others, there is one great difference between Los Angeles and the Veneto central-plane: the Veneto metropolis has agriculture inside it. Agropolitana - the name was suggested in the very beginning of the new Regional Spatial Planning process as a way to explain città diffusa agro/urban structure (Bernardi, 2004. The word “agropolitan” was used by J. Friedman in the seventies to describe developing countries) – is a way to imagine its possible future. The urban/rural mix is long-lasting idea, that inspired in the past several famous urban theories - from Howard’s garden-city (1902), to Schwartz’s stadtlandschaft (1946) - and fascinating predictions - from Wells’ diffusion of cities (1902) to Sorokin and Zimmermann’s rurbanisation (1929). The present debate is stressing the need for a new relationship between cities and open territory, giving agriculture a new centrality in our territories’ future. If we should “delegate to nature” many of our cities’ needs (Sassen, 2009), urbanization should “awake”, learning to grow not by following the industry processes, as it did in the 20th century, but by following the agriculture way, capable of gently manipulating nature (Branzi, 2005). Some great metropolis are trying to assure themselves fresh food by cultivating free spaces within their boundaries (Urban Agriculture, 2009), and it is increasingly recognized that agricultural space in urban structures is extremely important since it may improve their resilience (Garnett, 1999; Mougeot, 2005). The Veneto città diffusa can be considered as a sort of - naïve and imperfect - prototype for this integration (Ferrario, 2009). Some of the scenario exercises developed in the frame of Extreme city and collected in this book go in that direction: they explore the possible integration of multifunctional agricultural space into the design of an urbanized territory, facing global change. Can the Agropolitana of the future feed its citizens, host their leisure time, produce their energy, reduce the flooding risks, save water, perform as a good ecological network, and still be a good place to live in? The presence of agricultural space inside the upcoming Veneto metropolis should be considered as a warranty for its sustainable future and should become one of the core theme for its design.

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References - Astengo G., 1982. Rapporto sullo stato dell’urbanizzazione in Italia e sulle politiche urbane e territoriali per gli anni Ottanta. Sintesi del programma di ricerca, Istituto Universitario di Architettura, Dipartimento di Urbanistica, Venezia - Bernardi U., 2004, Per una valutazione globale dell’ambiente. In: Regione del Veneto, 2004. Fondamenti del buon governo del territorio. Carta di Asiago, Venezia - Brandt J., Vejre H., 2004, Multifunctional landscapes. Motives, concepts and perceptions, in J. Brandt, H. Vejre, Multifunctional landscapes, I Theory, values and history, WitPress, Southampton, pp. 3-32 - Branzi A., 2005, Modernità debole e diffusa. Il mondo del progetto all’inizio del XXI secolo. Skira, Milano - Ciacci L., eds. 2005, La campagna che si fa metropoli. La trasformazione del territorio veneto. Regione del Veneto, Venezia, pp. 17-25 - CNR-IPRA, 1988, Interazione e competizione dei sistemi urbani con l’agricoltura per l’uso della risorsa suolo (Interaction and competition of urban systems with agriculture for the use of soil resources), Pitagora, Bologna - Ferrario V., 2007, Lo spazio agrario nel progetto di territorio. Trasformazioni dei paesaggi rurali nella pianura e nella montagna veneta, Ph. D., Università Iuav di Venezia, Venezia - Ferrario V., 2009, Agropolitana. Dispersed City and Agricultural Spaces in Veneto Region (Italy). In: The New Urban Question. Urbanism beyond Neo-Liberalism, 4th Conference of International Forum on Urbanism. November 26-29, Papiroz, Rotterdam, pp. 637-646 - Fregolent L., 2005, Governare la dispersione. Franco Angeli, Milano - Friedmann J., Douglass M., 1975, Agropolitan Development: Towards a New Strategy of Regional Development in Asia. N.Y. United Nations Center for Regional Development. - Garnett T., 1999, City harvest: the feasibility of growing more food in London. Sustain, London - Howard E. H., 1902, Garden Cities of Tomorrow, Sonnenschein & Co., London - Indovina F., 1990, La città diffusa, Daest, Venezia - IT.URB.’80., 1990, “Rapporto sullo stato dell’urbanizzazione in Italia: Veneto”, Quaderni di Urbanistica Informazioni, n.8, pp. 121-132. - Maier L., Shobayashi M, 2001, eds., Multifunctionality. Towards an Analytical Framework, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Paris - Mantziaras P., 2008, La ville-paysage. Rudolf Schwarz et la dissolution des villes, Metis press, Geneve - Mancuso F., 1976, Esplorazioni sulla crescita urbana nel Veneto: modelli morfologici in alcune situazioni tipiche. In: Mioni, A. (ed), 1977, Sulla crescita urbana in Italia, Franco Angeli, Milano - Mougeot L.J.A, 2005, eds., Agropolis: social, political and environmental dimensions of urban agricolture, International development research centre, London - Munarin S., Tosi M.C., 2001, Tracce di città. Esplorazioni di un territorio abitato: l’area veneta, Franco Angeli, Milano - REGIONE DEL VENETO, 2009, PTRC – Piano Territoriale Regionale di Coordinamento, Venezia - REGIONE DEL VENETO, 2010, Il Veneto in movimento, Rapporto statistico 2010, Venezia - Sassen S., 2009, Bridging the ecologies of cities and of nature, in IFoU (The International Forum on Urbanism) 4th International Conference, 2009, The New Urban Question. Urbanism beyond Neo-Liberalism. Amsterdam/Delft, The Netherlands 26-28, Papiroz, Rijswijk - Secchi B., 1996, eds., Veneto e Friuli Venezia Giulia, in Clementi, Dematteis G., Palermo P. C. , 1996, eds., Le forme del territorio italiano. Temi ed immagini del mutamento, Laterza, Bari, pp. 125-167. - Secchi B., 1993, “Le trasformazioni dell’habitat urbano”, Quaderno della ricerca sulle trasformazioni dell’habitat urbano in Europa, 1, Venezia. - Sorokin P., Zimmerman C.C., 1929, Principles of Rural–Urban Sociology, H. Holt, New York - URBAN AGRICOLTURE, 2009, “Building resilient cities”, UA Magazine, 22 - Vallerani F., Varotto M., 2005, eds., Il grigio oltre le siepi. Geografie smarrite e racconti del disagio in Veneto. Nuova dimensione, Portogruaro - Piccinato G., De Luca G., 1983, “Verso una nuova città? Analisi dei processi di diffusione urbana”, Oltre il Ponte, n.2 - Wells H. G., 1902, Anticipations of the reaction of mechanical and scientific progress upon human life and thought. Chapman and Hall, London


From a section of Treviso in the middle plain it is possible to distinguish a hybrid mosaic of fine and middle coarse grain which is the result of different sized patches and corridors stretching from the upper plain to the lower plain. Varying in function, scale and use, the patches include ancient centres, modern centres and their periphery, villages, rural houses, villas; bell towers, water towers, small industrial buildings and the big advanced industrial platforms, treatment plants and pits. The corridors include the main rivers and the pervasive minor surface water networks of irrigation and drainage often accompanying the minor road network. The visibility and rhythm of green structures enhance these networks. The patterns of the minor surface water networks exhibit capillarity and proximity to all land use programs. These structures permeate the underlying agricultural matrix, turning it into porous form. The image of an isotropic urban landscape emerges.

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Ecological strategy. From in-out to resistance and retation regulations in an urban system. Elaboration from Tjallingii (1996).


In the decentralized urban landscape of Veneto Region, northeast Italy, spatial process of change from a fine and decentralized grain to a coarse and centralized grain of land use spaces progressed at an unprecedented rate for the last decades. The process of change has had a positive side: it has brought economic prosperity to the region but it has been also accompanied by spatial problems such as loss of diversity, attractiveness and legibility. Less visible are increased water problems such as flooding, drought and pollution. These are related to an increase in large in-put out-put water flows and the loss of decentralized storage. The water and spatial conditions increase incidental damages and longterm uncertainty. How can the spatial form of an urban landscape contribute to more sustainable water flows and, in turn, how can more sustainable water flows contribute to the spatial quality of an urban landscape? For designers the challenge is to re-integrate decentralized storages by looking for opportunities in the local landscape. This leads to the strengthening of the role of decentralized fine elements, such as ditches, hedgerows and plots to hold water. This is the carrying condition for promising spatial and functional combinations in making plans to support and develop a sustainable urban water landscape. Water system as carrying structure The European urban system is undergoing a process of transformation and restructuring. Urban landscapes of dispersion with different grains are emerging: the living space of the majority of mankind results from innumerable individual rational decisions. The plain of the Veneto Region in Northeast Italy is today, defined at the beginning of the Nineties a cittĂ diffusa (Indovina 1990), is today one of the most extensively inhabited and economically competitive urban landscapes in Europe. As part of the wider Padana Valley, its geographical limits are the Alps to the north and the Appennines and the Adriatic Sea to the south. The Veneto Region has about 4,8 million inhabitants, spread over 580 municipalities. The average population of 75% of them ranges between 1000 and 10000 and covers the 64% of the regional area. The average population density varies from 245 to 508 inh/kmq. The agricultural matrix occupies 58% of the land; of this 20% has been urba141 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Retrofitting scenario in the case study area of Ponte di Piave. A stage in the process of learning.

nized in the last 40 years. Small and medium-sized firms and tourism are the driving forces of the economy. (Statistical Report Veneto Region 2007). From an aerial view it is possible to distinguish the spatial structure of the decentralized urban landscape of the Veneto Plain: a hybrid mosaic of fine and medium coarse grain resulting from different-sized patches and corridors stretching from the upper plain down to the lower plain. Apart from rainwater and surface water, the unconfined groundwater of the upper plain and the confined groundwater of the middle plain are important water resources (Boscolo, Mion 2008). The management of these water resources has created basic conditions for land use throughout the history of human occupation in the plains (Bevilacqua, 1989). Works of geographical scale include the roman centuriatio system, the acque alte (upper waters) network initiated by the Etruscans, the acque alte minori (upper minor waters) network of the Venetian Republic from the XIV century in the middle plain, the bonifica (reclamation) network of XIX and XX century in the low plain (Rusconi 1991). The resulting water networks present a palimpsest, a basic pattern that is a carrying structure of the identity and quality of the dispersed, cultural landscape of the cittĂ diffusa. Here, unlike rapid sprawl developments in other parts of the world, there is a historic continuity of the diversity of spatial situations exhibiting the lifestyle variety of dispersed social groups and activities. Italian researchers have conceptualized the urban landscape of the Veneto region as cittĂ  diffusa and recently described it as isotropic, a decentralized 1 42

pattern of equal spatial conditions in all directions!" (Secchi, Vigano’ 2006). The Veneto studies contributes to the urban planning and research tradition which focus on decentralized urbanism: F.L. Wright in Broadacre City (19341935), N. B. Geddens in Futurama (1939-40), L. Hilberseimer’s with its New Regional Pattern (1945-49). As such, this decentralized approach questions the centralized practice, the main track of urbanism and planning, with its classical distinction between city and countryside and the planning objectives of densification (Waldheim 2005) and focuses on compact and dense patterns as a solution for environmental problems. Recent design-oriented studies have focused on different sections of the European territory. They give legibility and intelligibility to the form of different decentralized urban landscapes and their quality, while contributing to the shift in perception and evaluation of them from being a threat to being a huge opportunity in opposition to its detractors. In the frame of these studies a common challenge emerged: the potential of urban landscapes of dispersion asks for a new design and planning culture. The Zwischenstadt and Territory of New Modernity projects, particularly the environmental issues, are the main challenge, but in the first case, the grain of urbanization is related to the long history of heavy industrialization of the Ruhr region, while in the second case the ecological approach offers an encompassing strategy for interpretation and design in the fine-grain urban landscape, where agriculture, biodiversity and settlements have defined a new integrated mix. While the notion of archipelago emerges in the first case, in the second the sponge concept reinforces the idea of a diffuse and porous territory. The Project of Isotropy, the design hypothesis, is to investigate also the ecological rationality of actions reinforcing the isotropic character of decentralized territories. The need for water systems design Presently, economic and culturally driven processes of change threaten the qualities of diversity in the città diffusa of the Veneto. The pattern is embedded in the important modification from fine-grained to coarse-grained. As land use intensifies a process of spatial upscaling changes the landscape. More and bigger buildings and paved surfaces, wider and homogeneous fields, go along with spatial problems like the reduction of fine-grained edge elements, such as ditches, related hedgerows and paths. Healthy, attractive, accessible and differentiated human habitat is reduced. Habitats, corridors and stepping stones for animals are also reduced. Opportunities for water storage are fading. And as water becomes invisible, it is dropping out of people’s sight and hearts. One of the basic ingredients of the diversity in the cittá diffusa is lost. The increase of paved surfaces has changed the way water is discharged, increasing peak flows. As land use intensifies, modern water management centralizes the control of the drinking water supply and wastewa143 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Small scale: dwelling lot model. In a conventional dwelling lot system (left) rainwater falling onto the lot is rapidly discharged; a considerable amount of groundwater and drinking water is let in, after use wastewater is driven out. The dwelling lot guiding model (right) is appropriate for small and large lots. Rainwater from the roof and paved surfaces buffer in one storage (peak storage) and is stored to feasible levels (seasonal storage). Also wastewater treated in a purification system is retained in the storage. A pond, a ditch, a water butt or a tank are examples of storage devices. Only when the system is full, does it drain the water surplus downstream. This water can be used in and around the house, for example, for flushing the toilet, for cleaning water or watering the garden. The reuse and recycling of water reduces the external supply of drinking water and the extra discharge of storm water and wastewater. Cleaning water (cw), drainage (dr), drinking water (dw), groundwater (gw), irrigation (ir), rainwater (rw), surface water (sw), waste water (ww).

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ter treatment, irrigation and drainage. This entails profligate water use. Excess water is tackled with large and rapid discharge and scarcity of water with more supply from the upstream parts of catchment basins. The increased regulation of in-put out-put water flows combined with no retention draws heavily on the available resources (Mazzola 2003). Furthermore, problems are solved inside the system but often at the cost of neighbours, increasing water risks, such as floods, drought and pollution in the upstream and downstream areas. Modern water management practice becomes part of the problem. Climate change will make these risks more difficult to control, making it more urgent to find practical answers in different parts of the world. These issues are real, and they are urgent. If water and spatial problems are related, than the answers should have a meaning for both fields. This is the challenge for the designer. The hypothesis In general any design wishing to tackle increased water risks and spatial upscaling, should be based on water storage, a key concept for coping with excess and shortage of water. This implies a closer relationship between the carrying capacity of climate and landscape and the practices of land use and water management. An area is a system that can regulate flows by input and output as well as by resistance and retention. It can hold, buffer and store water before draining it. It can also keep water longer and keep water clean. For example, it can store surplus water and use it to prevent shortage. Storing is the condition for recycling. From this perspective closing the cycle is a strategy. Improving retention requires space and therefore also the cooperation of users of the space for managing the system. In various parts of the world, urban projects on water storage have yielded an understanding of promising spatial and functional combinations. In water management there is also a debate between centralized and decentralized approaches (Schuetze et al. 2008). In diverse landscapes with a diversity of land use, this requires a more decentralized approach to water management. In the Veneto region, the question arises whether there can possibly be synergism between the need for decentralized spatial policy and design strategies to sustain and develop the qualities of the cittĂ diffusa and the need for decentralized water management. This leads to exploration of whether decentralized spatial conditions can be combined with decentralized water options. Guiding models and scenarios The objective of the work I conducted in the context of research and design projects in the Veneto region was, in general, to increase understanding of the role of fine water and spatial elements as carrying conditions in the process of formation of the urban landscape and to explore the potential for its eco145 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Middle scale: circulation model. The model is appropriate in low plain situations. Storage capacity in the ground is limited because the high groundwater and soil conditions do not easily allow infiltration. Retention of surface water is therefore the suitable way to store water; in addition or alternatively to preventive measures in the individual lots. The conceptual model illustrates how an area can retain water by allowing temporary rises in the surface water levels, before buffering water surplus into one storage (peak storage) and storing insofar as feasible in another one (seasonal storage). Also, wastewater treated in the purification system is retained in the storage. A pond, lake, or stream section are examples of seasonal storage. In the model a reclamation system for wastewater treatment, a peak storage system and a seasonal storage system are integrated as a whole device. In summer, the effluent of the phytoreclamation system is connected directly to the gardens. From autumn to spring, daily treated wastewater goes to the seasonal storage, which also stores as much as possible of periodic runoff. Thus the seasonal storage can cope with peaks of irrigation or might be used to cover other non-potable water uses in the area. Only when it is full does the system drain the water surplus downstream. The water flows around the system; in each cycle water passes through a bed of reeds or rushes and so can in principle begin each cycle again as clean water. The model is a version of the circulation model developed by S. Tjallingii as a result of the design process. Drinking water (dw), surface water (sw), waste water (ww).

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logical design and planning. The first research Landscapes of Water started from the reuse of one of the many gravel pits in the dry plain north of Venice as a storage space to prevent flooding and accumulate water for irrigation. It was the beginning of wider investigation of water-related topics. The research Water and Asphalt, the Project of Isotropy, for the metropolitan region of Venice focused on the water networks together with road networks. Here the object was to reflect on the potential of the diffused infrastructures of water and asphalt to meet contemporary ecological and economical problems. In particular, the research started to consider the necessity of reinstating storage in decentralized small systems, such as ditches networks, scattered pits and building plots, looking for opportunities in the local landscape. This led to development of the set of spatial models that illustrates the shift from an existing condition to a possible alternative. The design-driven PhD research Integrated Urban Landscape, Water Sensitive Design for The Città Diffusa of the Veneto Region, further investigates this issue and toolkit of conceptual models. The work studies in detail how the role of water has changed in the cittá diffusa in the last decades and how the role of water can change in the cittá diffusa in the future. An analysis of the landscape and water processes of change is illustrated, and discussion of the underlying paradoxes leads to guiding principles that may enhance the process of exploring planning and design options. A set of principles has also emerged in many other planning situations and discussions about integrated and sustainable development: (a) the design of water systems should focus first on storage and recycling; (b) the basic variety of ecological conditions in the local landscape should guide the planning process; (c) specialization and synergism of activities are the basic principles for multifunctional regional planning; (d) planning and design processes should start from the bottom up to utilize the full potential of the local situation. Together, these principles guides the design process in the search for integrated solutions, promising combinations of the ecological potentials among the area, flows and users at all levels of the Veneto cittá diffusa. The gap between guiding principles and the real world is bridged by pilot projects that pioneer in the local situation and provide a practical basis for the essential learning process. Some innovative pilot projects in the Veneto region illustrate the feasibility of the guiding principles. This leads to a set of conceptual tools, a toolkit of guiding models, these are solutions in principle regarding the optimal organization of spatial structures and water flow processes (Tjallingii,1996). Some more general conceptual tools for this approach have been developed in other parts of Europe. The study investigates whether these guiding models work in Veneto, and how they can be adjusted and complemented to become an appropriate toolkit for concrete design projects. Retrofitting scenarios explores practical questions related to working with guiding models in the case study areas, which offer a fine opportunity to 147 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Large scale: streams model. The model combines peak water storage and closing the cycle with seasonal storage for agricultural use. The shift from removing to holding water makes the system less dependent on inflow from surroundings and less vulnerable in attaining complementary benefits for the different activities in the area. In the industrial area the peak storage decreases the time and volume of rainwater surplus in the outlets downstream, thus decreasing flooding risk. The case study also demonstrates how a scenario system can be disconnected from upstream inflow. This is important for a step-bystep approach allowing for continued functioning of the upstream systems. The parallel system of streams in the plain between the Piave and Livenza makes the model appropriate for this category of situations. The upstream system can be easily connected through a bypass to a parallel stream.

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test and further develop the design approach. The guiding models are used as starting points in the design process. The challenge is to take advantage of potential synergism between the spatial structures, the water flows and the network of actors affected by the plan. The exploration of the “what if” in the case study area provides feedback, which leads to improvement and replacement of the model or the development of new guiding models. These studies may help point the way to restructuring spatial diversity while offering arguments in the discussion of the ecological potential of Veneto’s decentralized urban landscape as a carrying condition for a more sustainable interaction between society and with its physical environment. Notes 1“[..] The notion of isotropy refers to a body, a substance or a phenomenon that presents the same physical properties in all directions. Descriptions [..] often make use of geometrical terms and representations that can be categorized as isotropic, such as grid, nebulous, dispersion etc. As a scientific metaphor, isotropy hence regroups various generic forms, represented both in the physical facts and as ideal readings of the territory.” Conceptual models Giambattista Zaccariotto and Marco Ranzato

References - Bevilaqua P., 1989, Le Rivoluzioni dell’Acqua, in, Bevilaqua P., Età Contemporanea, Marsilio, Venezia - Boscolo C., Mion F., 2008, Le acque sotterranee della pianura veneta, I risultati del progetto SAMPAS, ARPAV, Regione Veneto - Indovina F., 1990, eds., La città diffusa, DAEST, Venezia - Mazzola M., 2003, Idrogeologia e carta freatrimetrica della provincia di Treviso, il progetto SISMAS, la campagna di monitoraggio, a rappresentazione della superficie freatica, le valutazioni quantitative, Treviso - Rusconi A,1991, Evoluzione della rete idrografica di ieri e di oggi attraverso il confronto delle osservazioni, in ISTITUTO VENETO DI SCIENZE, LETTERE E ARTI, Trasformazioni del territorio e rete idrica del Veneto, La garandola, Venezia - Schultze T., Tjallingii S.P., 2008, eds., Every Drop Counts, Environmentally Sound Technologies for urban and Domestic Water Use Efficiency. TUDelft/UNEP, Delft/Osaka. - Secchi B, Viganò P., Phd students in Urbanism, Universita’ IUAV di Venezia, 2006, Water and Asphalt: The Project of Isotropy. The Venetian Metropolis, 2006, 10 th Biennal of Architecture in Venice, Venezia - Sieverts T., 1997, Cities without cities. An interpretation of the Zwischenstadt, Spon Press/ Routledge, London and New York - Tjallingii S.P., 1996, Ecological Conditions. Strategies and Structures in Enviromental Planning, Institute for Foresty and Nature Research, Wageningen - Viganò P., 2001, eds., Territori della nuova modernita’/Territories of a New Modernity, Electa Napoli, Napoli - Vigano’ P., degli Uberti U., Lambrecht G., Lombardo T., Zaccariotto G., 2009, Landscape of water: paesaggi dell’acqua un progetto di riqualificazione ambientale nella città diffusa di Conegliano, Risma, Pordenone - Waldheim C., 2005, Urbanism, Landscape, and the Emergent Aerial Subject, in, Girot C., Schmid W., 2005, eds., Landscape architecture in mutation, Institute of Landscape Architecture, ETH Zurich, Zurich - Zaccariotto G., 2010, Integrated Urban Landscape, Water Sensitive Design for The Città Diffusa of the Veneto Region, Thesis (PhD), IUAV University of Venice, Venezia


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L A GUNA FORMA URBI S 2 1 0 8 Elisa Brusegan, Emanuele Dal Zot, Giulia Grobbo, Nicola Maniero

Laguna Forma Urbis 2108 is a vision for a sustainable development based on a series of scenarios which stretches over a period of one hundred years (starting from the year 2008). The subjects are Venice, its lagoon and the drainage basin that flows into the lagoon. The lagoon and the hinterland, closely linked to each other since the early settlements, now need a transformation strategy, especially in expectation of climate changes. Today a sectorial and point-to-point attitude prevails, which however is unable to provide synergistic and consistent solutions. To date a reference scenario which considers longer time-frames through which all the elements of the projects could be managed in a holistic system is lacking. A series of “ecological paradoxes” characterize the use of the lagoon basin and its particular morphology. The thesis attempts to find a solution to this strategic inconsistency. Zero scenario The Venetian Lagoon is a complex environment in a state of precarious balance. The hydrological balance between the lagoon and the drainage basin (the area that discharges its water into the lagoon through the rivers) has determined the margins of the initial analysis. The lagoon is a continuously evolving territory. It can develop into sea or into hinterland. The morphology of the lagoon can only be maintained through a balance between the sediments brought by the inflowing rivers and those transported by the outflow towards the sea. Human intervention can solve and settle this morphology. If in the sixteenth century the lagoon was in danger of disappearing due to its silting up – a situation saved by the great works of river diversion – nowadays the basin is gradually turning into a gulf. 151 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

Lagoon satellite view shows the rapid release of sediments in the sea The graph shows the gradual deleting of the barene and the typical morphology of the bottom of the lagoon. If these processes continue for a long time, the barene will expire in 2050. Source: SAL.VE, The Lagoon Atlas, WWF 1 52

Today the wave-motion, the continual erosion of the bottom of the lagoon and of the inlets due to the passage of large vessels has increased the rapid release of sediments to the sea, the gradual deleting of the sandbanks and of the variety of the morphology at the bottom of the lagoon. If these processes continue over a long time, the ‘barene’ and the typical morphology of the lagoon will have disappeared by 2050. The data of the major research authorities such as IPCC, CORILA, ENEA, testify to the entity of the risks of climate changes, in terms of the raising of the water level, of the temperature and of the increasing saline wedge. As we know coastal areas are susceptible to climate changes, specially ecosystems as sensitive as lagoons and river mouths. If we act to prevent the consequences associated with climate change, the costs will be much less than if we act after the damage has occurred. The shared objective of protecting the lagoon clashes with the large amount of pollutants that one ninth of the Veneto region discharges into the basin. The population growth expected over the next fifty years in the Veneto region (according to the ISTAT, there will be 590.000 new residents in 2050, many of them immigrants), requires a radical reconsideration of the settlement model and a response to land wastage. If the increase of settlements will continue to affect the area known as “PaTreVe (that lieing between Padua, Venice and Treviso), the huge potential of the lagoon basin as a metropolitan park will be completely wasted. Laguna forma urbis 2108 The strategy hinges on the return to the central role of the lagoon basin, which is seen as the element on which to base the settlement structure of the Veneto region. Some new settlements are to arise on the lagoon edge, oriented toward the lagoon and Venice in order to intensify the use of the basin itself. They are all to be connected by a high speed rail link, that makes all perimeter accessible in a short time (now it takes at least two hours to go from Chioggia to Jesolo by car, currently by far the fastest means of transport. Our plan is to halve this time). Connections will also be developed toward the center of the lagoon: Venice. This also provides a solution to Venice’s problem of incoming and outgoing traffic congestion: these new towns in fact represent additional access points to the lagoon and to Venice for the existing inland cities. The project we have proposed starts from a basic stance which considers: a precise choice of the morphology of the lagoon basin (barene or Gulf); a consistent use of the basin in accordance with the morphology of the lagoon; short and longterm project solutions in response to climate changes and the management of the hydrological system. 153 THREE EUROP EAN TERRI TORIES

The precise choice of the morphology of the lagoon basin

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The morphology of the boundary defines three categories of scenarios: 1 - the boundary between the sea and the lagoon is located outside the basin: restoration of the morphology of the lagoon ecosystem (barene) within the basin. 2 - the limit is within the basin: the lagoon basin is divided into parts with homogeneous morphology (lagoons and bays) through embankments that may provide an opportunity to further branch out and connect the public transport system. 3 – the limit is moved back until it disappears and the lagoon is treated as sea. The Gulf waterway strengthens the connections by water, and the lagoon edge assumes a new role. Scenarios The thesis proposes 6 scenarios. Two for the first category (Isole Asole and Canale dei Petroli), three for the second category (Due Lagune, Due Lagune +, Golfo di ChioMa) and one for the third category (Golfo di Venezia). The “Isole Asole” scenario is characterized by the complete restoration of the habitat around the lagoon basin. In order to make this scenario possible we have supposed the diversion of some of the rivers to increase the amount of sediment deposited in the basin, and the construction of three artificial islands at the inlets which also include the city harbours. The “Canale dei Petroli” scenario shows us another possibility given by the first morphological category: The


“Due Lagune +” scenario, view of Venice

“Canale dei Petroli” scenario, view of Venice

“Canale dei Petroli” scenario, view from the banks

1 56

overall lagoon morphology can be maintained by selecting narrow areas of high navigability. For example Chioggia is girded by a bank that separates the harbour from the Lagoon. The lagoon is to be cut in half by a canal, obtained by two parallel embankments, that allows vessels to navigate from Porto Marghera to the lagoon and to the Adriatic sea without generating a diffuse wave-motion into the basin. Along these embankments run freight traffic and a public transport rail system. The “Due Lagune”, “Due Lagune +” and “Golfo di ChioMa” scenarios, are characterized by embankments that sectoralize the basin into distinct morphological areas. Depending on the position of the embankments, the waterway area (gulf-like morphology) and the protected area (lagoon-like morphology) change. The enclosed areas protected by the embankments in the “Due Lagune” scenario coincide with the areas which have until now maintained the typical lagoon morphology. In the “Due Lagune +” scenario the protected area is expanded until it touches Pellestrina. In the “Golfo di ChioMa” scenario the waterway area connects the two main harbours of Chioggia and Marghera. In the last scenario proposed there is no boundary between sea and lagoon. The scenario accepts the gradual disappearance of the lagoon morphology. The whole lagoon becomes a sea. All the rivers are diverted, the only waterway connecting Venice to Padua brings water into the gulf. This scenario enables the creation of a new seaside along the inner edge of the gulf. It allows for a series of beaches to be formed in front of Venice. Varying the morphological characteristics the issues that are constant in the scenarios also vary: namely the navigation system, the management of the wetland areas, and the strategies for the protection of Venice against high tides.


“Golfo di Venezia” scenario, view from the new beach in front of Venice

The Island Loop in Lido’s inlet 1 58

The Inhabited Peninsulas near Mira

Settlements The second part of the thesis focuses on two new types of settlements on the edge of the lagoon. More specifically the Inhabited Islands along the coastal edge and inhabited peninsulas along the inner edge of the lagoon. The new cities created around the lagoon edge give life to the new metropolis of Venice, with Venice at its centre and the new projected cities strongly bound to it and to the lagoon park. Both systems are characterized by high density and pedestrian precincts served by trams with a maximum walking distance of 300m. Inhabited Islands: the Island-Loops are placed on the inlets where they function as nodal interchanges and mediators between the sea and the lagoon. They create new logistics bases for maritime and industrial traffic with positive repercussions for the entire coast. They also constitute residential areas for thousands of people. In this way, the inlets become big harbours around the Moses barrier. By barring large vessels from entering the lagoon, and by reducing the rapid release of sediments, the system of the ‘barene’ will be protected and restored, and the phenomenon of high water and wavemotion will be reduced. In this way instead of acting as a passage for vessels the inlets can be turned into a place rich in experience and interaction. Starting from a harbour core, each island is expandable by additive process. The maximum capacity is 40.000 people. The island consists in a series of “rafts” which protect the same island and emphasize the contact with water. The specific aim is not the construction in itself, but the public space system that structures each settlement. Inhabited peninsulas: the settlement system along the Lagoon’s inner edge consists in a compact city placed on natural land projections. This choice enables a better relationship between the building structures and the lagoon. Each settlement is conceived for about 50.000 inhabitants. The city is planned on a human scale. The peninsula is completely pedestrian and develops around two infrastructural elements: the tramway and the public ferry route. The connection between the peninsula and the hinterland is characterized by a zone with a series of functional and infrastructural elements: the urban wetlands, the harbour, the power station/ incinerator, multi-story carparks and the stations on the high speed Perilagunare rail link. Like the system of 7 Vs of Chandigarh Plan, the streets of the compact city are classified into categories. The streets are the elements which hierarchize the urban agglomerations by defining the macro-blocks and the neighborhood units. A linear park runs along the tramway. The park includes public transport stations and other related functions such as leisure, sports, shopping and play areas. Lastly, a biomass power station is to be installed that almost totally covers all power consumption demands.



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WAT E R (R E ) SE ARCH Lorenzo Fabian

Traditionally water is not a central element in architectural and urban reflection. Water is probably an element all too fluid, impalpable and at the same time too complex, too difficult to tame and manipulate. Despite this it can be observed how over the last decades and with ever greater frequency a growing interest towards environmental themes has begun to surface in the disciplinary debate and in particular an interest for water and waterscapes. For this reason it might be helpful to ponder briefly on the possible reasons of a study that, in the light of the climate change underway, centres its reflections on the changes in the waterscape of the Veneto region. Simplifying, the motivations can potentially be put down to at least four aspects: 1 – the awareness and perception of the intensity and inescapability of the changes underway; 2 – water as an indicator of environmental changes; 3 – the geopolitical dimensions of the climate changes and the supply of water resources; 4- the specific characteristics of the territory under study. 1-The perception of the scope of the changes underway involving territory and contemporary societies caused by climate change is plain for all to see, it dominates international political agendas and the environmental question is ever less relegated to the specialist dominion of technical knowledge. Many architects and territorial experts have realised the extent of the changes underway and, while all the same lagging behind other disciplines, are proceeding to a revision of the priorities, of the paradigms and tools of their own disciplinary field. At the same time and for the same reasons environmental themes are by definition non sectorial: in order to be tackled effectively an alliance between different knowledges and disciplines has to be drawn. 2- The studies carried out by experts but also the direct experience of the last few years show how among all environmental systems water is the one in which the climate changes are most incisively and dramatically manifest. On this point Nicolas Stern states: “The dangers connected to climate change are not only, and not even mainly thermal in nature. Most damage in fact 163 A TERRI TORY BUILT BY WATER



a gli Ta ive or nt



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contour lines

Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: -Provincial Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia Ctr (regional maps)

derives from water: there will be either too much [...] or too little [...]�1. At our latitudes the most immediate and evident climate changes are evident in rare but at the same times violent meteorological phenomena. The consequences of these phenomena are periods of drought alternated by sudden and violent cloudbursts, whose destructive effects are already evident today on the hydrological network and on the urbanised territory. For this reason, to tackle the theme of climate change, the water network is the first infrastructure in which territorial architects and designers are directing their attention. 3- The social and geopolitical tensions associated with the supply of water resources seen on a global scale will be radicalised in the coming years by global warming and progressive climate change. If modern history of mankind can be summed up as a fight for the supply of energy resources, it is evermore clear that future history will also be a chronicle of wars and conflicts over access to water resources (for irrigational, alimentary and energy purposes), and this on a local as well as on a global2"scale. If seen from this angle the study underlying the Intensive Programme appears to be urgent and to the point. 4- Lastly, but not in order of importance, an ultimate aspect providing reasons for a reflection centring on waterscape is to be found in the specific characteristics of the territory under study. The case study proposed, the città diffusa of the Italian northeast, that is the area of around 100kmx100km astride the Friuli-Veneto border, running east-west between the rivers Brenta and Tagliamento, and north-south between the fringes of the alpine footlands and the Veneto-Friuli coasts, is at the same time paradigmatic and specific, emblematic of a diffuse form of settlement where water spaces, agricultural spaces and urbanised areas are closely interrelated. A minute observation of this region and its urban materials shows how it is essentially a territory built on water. It seems evident indeed that the complex of infrastructual signs and materials that we today call città diffusa is the result of a two thousands year proc-


za en Liv er riv

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rectification of rivers


Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: - Provincial Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia Ctr (regional maps) - PTCR 2009 (regional territorial coordination plan) of the Regione Veneto; - Rationalizations: Land Mosaics, R.T.T. Forman

roman centuriation


ess of construction of the territory, the process of control and governing of water and its infrastructure. The cittĂ diffusa of the Italian northeast is the result of an integral construction of the territory starting from the Roman aggeratio, from the great works of canalization of the Venetian Republic and up to the processes of land reclaimation started up in the twentieth century. Everything, from the organization of the hydrological network and mobility, to the layout and interweaving of the agricultural fields, to the distribution of concentrated and dispersed settlements, tells of this longterm process, of the overlaying of rationalities, the purpose of which was and continues to be that of distributing water where it is lacking and eliminating it where it is in excess. A territory built by water If we observe the territory starting from the geomorphic characteristics of the terrain, for example the structure, the weave and the graininess of the soil, the area under study can be broken up into two huge plains: the dry upland and the wet lowland plain. The former, mainly constituted by gravel of considerable thickness, has a high drainage and low surface water flow; the latter, made up of fine weave clay, has a rate of infiltration that is virtually zero. Astride the two territories, due to a sudden lessening of the permeability because of the presence of mixed terrain of gravel and sand, one has the swathe of springs along which the groundwater remerges, thrust upwards by the impermeable surface of the wet lowland plain. Downstream of this complex hydrological system lies a lagoon territory and the coastline, one of the most stressed by the climate change underway. These strips also feature hydraulic devices, works and infrastructures with different functions and characteristics. The swathe of dry upland plain is a territory crossed by a minute reticule of small channels with the purpose of making a territory, otherwise too “meagreâ€?,3 cultivatable. First dug out into the terrain and then in cement, the small


dry plain

enz Liv ver a ri

springs area

low wet plain

Pia ve riv e

dry plain


springs area low wet plain

venice’s lagoon



low permeability

coastal water


medium permeability

transitional water


very hight permeability

lakes and reservoirs

hight permeability

watercourse surface

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Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: - Provincial Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia Ctr (regional maps) - PTCR 2009 (regional territorial coordination plan) of the Regione Veneto; - PTA 2006 (water protection plan) of ARPAV (Veneto environmental protection agency).



channels that pattern the layout of the fields and hedgerows are today rapidly falling into disuse because they have been and are being replaced by an efficient pipe water distribution system. Today but few traces remain of this “great work of hydraulic engineering� along with the stacks of prefabricated cement channels along the edges of the roads. But the dry upland plain is also the territory of locks, bridles and dykes, having the purpose of slowing down, holding back and governing the water flow. And lastly one has the territory of borrow pits, where the continuous extraction of gravel for the building trade is dangerously eroding the natural filter of the terrain that has always guaranteed a healthy supply of groundwater. The swathe of springs is where the water sprouts purer at constant temperatures, this guarantees the maintenance of wetlands rich in biodiversity, a complex ecosystem of very high quality that is evermore compressed by the expansion of urbanisation. The swathe of lowland plain south of the springs is in turn the territory of the scoline or drainage ditches and the main canals that at a regular rate, marked by the 710 metres of the Roman centuriations, have always had the task of bringing excess water towards the sea. This is also the most fragile territory, subject to flooding due to the nature of the ground and the progressive process of urbanisation of the same. To this one should add important infrastructural networks that cut across the entire territory, running transversally to the direction of the water and for this reason acting as true and proper dykes to the same. The territory along the margins of the lagoon is lastly the territory of pumps and dewatering systems, that along with a complex system of embankments, canals, rectifications and deviations of river courses have on the one hand enabled the maintaining of the Venice lagoon, on the other the reclaimation of entire pieces of countryside, wrenched in recent times from the lagoon and the sea. Bridles, locks, dykes, embankments, canals, channels, drainage ditches, rectifications, deviations are only some of the devices of the water network through






Treviso San DonĂ

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water infrastructures

mobility infrastructures

impermeable surface

Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: -Provincial Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia Ctr (regional maps) -Corine Land Cover 2000, CLC, European Environment Agency



which the different rationalities have been formed, that during the course of history have given shape to the territory of the città diffusa. Recognising and describing the rationalities that have been deposited and will be deposited on the territory means understanding and decoding the design that is implicit to the same (Secchi Viganò, W-A 2006)4. It means observing the evolutionary horizons in relation to the growing demand for public spaces and environmental quality and to the needs derived from the risks that will evermore feature in the water spaces of the coming future. Extreme City: design experimentations If observed starting from these themes, the case study proposed becomes relevant, because it obliges us to face up to some paradoxes and contradictions typical to the contemporary territory. These paradoxes pinpoint clots of questions around which projectual reflections of some interest can be developed. The Veneto is, as is known, one of the rainiest and most water rich regions of Italy5. Despite this there is a lack of water resources and the quality of the water is often inadequate. This paradox, to be true characteristic of many other situations of our continent, is strictly linked to the profound changes caused by the climate, the progressive urbanisation of the ground, to evolutions of lifestyles. Climate changes are forcing us to get used to long periods of drought alternated by sudden and violent rainstorms; the widespread soil surface sealing process leaves us with ground ever less capable of holding/dissipating excess water and a territory that is evermore fragile and vulnerable. The progressive soil surface sealing is generally the main reason behind undisposed rainwater, aboveall when the rainfall is intense and sudden. Due to urbanisation (houses, buildings for production, trade, airports, roads, parking lots, etc) 20.1% of the land surface of the central Veneto is sealed. The resulting lesser infiltration leads to a less sizeable replenishment of the groundwater; the reduced capacity of the land to hold rainwater; the increased hydrogeological risks in


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flooding area

1 meter contour line (IPCC 2100 projection)

Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: - Provincial Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia Ctr (regional maps) - PTCR 2009 (regional territorial coordination plan) of the Regione Veneto; - PTA 2006 (water protection plan) of ARPAV (Veneto environmental protection agency). -CLC 2000 land cover -PTCR 2009 (regional territorial coordination plan) of the Regione Veneto -EEA, European Environment Agency, (5 meter contour line), -IPCC (4th assessment Report)

5 meter contour line (EEA projection)


the event of spates. The costs, not only the environmental ones, are getting heavier and heavier. Widespread urbanisation has on the one hand increased the probability that events of this nature occur, and on the other increased the presence of goods and people in the areas where the same are likely to occur. The water spaces are evermore “compressed” and vulnerable, flooding is evermore frequent. The damage to the territories of the città diffusa is extremely high. To this one should add that enormous quantities of drinking water wasted for ever growing domestic needs (personal and domestic hygiene, etc) and due to irrigation techniques that are often obsolete6# Climate change, soil surface sealing and the waste of water resources are to be considered among the main causes of a progressive impoverishment of the availability and quality of groundwater and, consequently, of the situation of water shortage7# Starting from these themes the Intensive Programme activities have been carried out on different levels and grounds, using the project as a tool for producing knowledge8. An approach for scenarios and prototypes has been proposed for developing a series of strategies capable of combining the various environmental themes (urban, agricultural, water-related). The swathe of territory between the Piave and Livenza rivers crosses the territories of the dry upland plain, the wet lowland plain and the coastline. The student’s projects were distributed along this swathe and have pinpointed some conceptual nodes that we attempt to sum up followingly. Individual mobilisation vs largescale infrastructure The policies under discussion to contain the environmental problems deriving from global warming converge on one point: general solutions to problems do not exist (neither on a global, nor on a local scale) that can be exclusively passed on to the organization of largescale territorial infrastructures. The solutions of environmental problems, the supply of water resources and protection from flooding, imply that the great water infrastructures should


Hydroelectric stations




Fish Farms



Groundwater wells

Artesian wells

water management devices

very high



Took surface

" " "

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Map elaborated by the authors. Source of data: - Provincial Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia Ctr (regional maps) - PTCR 2009 (regional territorial coordination plan) of the Regione Veneto; - PTA 2006 (water protection plan) of ARPAV (Veneto environmental protection agency).

water availability


be associated with policies aiming at the mobilisation of the individual, of a radical change of our lifestyles and our habits. Starting off from the awareness that water is a resource (also an economic resource) and that it is a collective asset, some projects explored the possibility of a radical reduction of water resources in the domestic environment. The scenarios imply an individual mobilisation the consequences and the success of which can be measured on a territorial scale. Some projectual explorations imagined the capillary creation of a series of networked domestic devices that go from the collection and storing of rainwater at the foot of dwellings to satisfy demand also in periods of drought; the creation of wadis, small depressions in the ground attached to the dwellings to absorb the impact of violent rainfall; the using of hydroelectric microturbines installed in the channels on and relating to allotments for the energy needs of each single dwelling; small phytopurification systems for the reuse of grey water for irrigation and domestic non drinking uses ( “Water’s Boundaries” and “Hydrarchy +” groups). These small, widespread devices have been associated with large territorial infrastructures made up of water parks on a regional scale. Some projects contemplated the conversion of the disused system of extraction pits and quarries situated on the dry upland plain in reservoirs for storing water for irrigation purposes. Greater space was given to water along the rivers and around the same the projects explored the possibility of turning the space around the disused pits and quarries and the extended basin of the river into a great environmental device to favour the natural infiltration via processes of forestation, the reconstruction of wetlands, the replenishment and increase of areas of spontaneous vegetation (“Acqua diffusa” group). Resilience vs resistance Starting off from the seventies of the twentieth century two main principles became established in the environmental sciences and ecology via which the image of the capacity of a system to tackle a potentially destructive change: a resistant and resilient9 approach. The former is well expressed by the capacity of a system to oppose change. The latter in turn, the resilient approach, indicates the capacity of a system to deform following on from an external pressure and a return to its original state when the conditions allow the same. Transposed to hydraulic engineering and to the problem of flooding, the resistant paradigm is well represented by the dykes, the barrages and by all those devices that in a rigid manner oppose hydraulic risk; the resilient paradigm is in turn identifiable in the lamination basins, in the wetlands and more in general in all those project actions that, giving space to water, prepare for a programmed flooding to return to the original state when the environmental conditions allow the same. Here too as in the preceding case, the exercises carried out show how a respon175 A TERRI TORY BUILT BY WATER

1 76

se to potential disasters consequence of climate change cannot go without a correct combination of policies and projects that are resistant and resilient as befits the case. The experimentation shows the necessary alternating of these approaches, particularly necessary in the areas of the wet lowland plain, in the lagoon and along the coastline. Some projects for example contemplate the immediate creation of resistant devices, largescale super-embankments along the coastline and around the main urban centres, while awaiting the organisation of inland of areas equipped with greater resilience (“Xtreme Lagoon” group). If the seal levels should ever rise above a certain threshold, entire territories could be invaded by water or flooded to absorb the new pressure exerted by the water. These scenarios contemplate the extension of the lagoon area into the depressed areas of the reclaimation and contribute to the organisation of an “elastic”, resilient territory and an amphibious territory dotted with new Venices protected by embankments, there where consolidated urban nuclei exist. These scenarios reconstruct similar conditions that characterized the wet lowland plain prior to the reclaimation achieved during the twenty years of Fascism (“Landscape of extremes” group). The results of the Intensive Programme, discussed in a highly dense public seminar, gave rise to considerable questions and require much further study. All the same they have had the virtue of producing exchanges between different disciplines among first degree master students, EMU and Phd students, tracing out research strategies and initial hypotheses on which to continue to reflect.

Notes 1 See: Stern N., 2009, Blueprint for a Safer Planet, the Bodley Head Ltd, London, p.22 2 In 1995, Ismael Serageldin, vice-president of the World Bank: “If the wars of this century were fought for petrol, those of the coming century will have water as the object of contention”, in Shiva V., 2002, Water Wars, South End Press.!See also: Rifkin J., 2002, The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the Worldwide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth,!Jeremy P. Tarcher. 3 In Friuli the less anthropised territories of the dry upland plain are still called “magredi” which means “meagre lands” due indeed to the scarcity of water there. See on this count: Fabian S., 2005, Magredi: un territorio da scoprire, Edizioni Biblioteca Dell’Immagine, Pordenone 4 - Secchi B, Viganò P., Phd students in Urbanism, Universita’ IUAV di Venezia, 2006, Water and Asphalt: The Project of Isotropy. The Venetian Metropolis, 2006, 10 th Biennal of Architecture in Venice, Venezia 5 See on this count: APAT, 2005, Climate indicators for Italy: 6 Around 90% of the water provided by Veneto’s aqueducts is used for non drinking purposes. The water for agricultural use is around 28% taken from wells and springs, around 6% from reservoirs and around 66% from rivers and canals. See: L.Villa, Risorse idriche in italia: 7 L.Villa, Ibidem. 8 See on this count: Viganò P., 2010, I territori dell’urbanistica. Il progetto come produttore di conoscenza, Officina edizioni, Roma 9 Holling C.S., 1973, “Resilience and stability of ecological System”, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol 4 :1-23 177 A TERRI TORY BUILT BY WATER

dry plain

spring area

wet plain


transitional area


in between the rivers Piave and Brenta

coastal water



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THE EXTREME CITY INTENSIVE PROGRAMME DRY PLAIN HYDRARCHY + Sara King Miguel Vanleene Melisa Pesoa Marcilla Charles Yan Gore Zhang Yingtian Diego Luna Quintanilla Rebeca Perez Castera Nicola Maniero


ACQUA DI FFUSA Andrea Cremasco Takumi Kimura, Ling Chen Fernanda Escayola Tahereh Keimanesh Veronica Saddi Vasiliki Tsioutsiou


WET WET WET Juan Argemi Carlo Pisano Aarti C Sharma Gabriela Secco Michele Girelli


W ATER’ S BOUNDARI ES Francesca Arca Alessandra Cassol Maura Rossi


X TR EM E L AGO ON / RE TREAT RESI ST Jonathan Blaseg Marta Finotello Le Ngoc Linh Miguel Cuellas Giulia Mazzorin Eli Grønn Diogo Pires Ferreira


L AND SCAPE OF EX TREM ES Serena Causin Andrea Curtoni Cecilia Furlan Rana Habibi Kris Huismans Meghal Kodiya Monica Netti Joel Sanabra Barbara Sandra


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the diffuse city could be a model for sustainable living

Global warming

climate change decline of fossil fuel production

Hypothesis 1



social structures, hierarchies, mobility

new policies should be adopted

Hypothesis 2

Reduction of the city re-ruralization new techniques in agriculture

water as a medium

Water as a medium

No distinction between urban and rural area? urban agriculture continuous productive urban landscape expansion of rural area

for ecology for economy for integration for interaction


water as a system should be sustainable

! Diffused City

Agriculture corridors for London (London yield seminar 2009) 1 84

Water structure

the Veneto region

H Y DRARCHY+ Sara King , Miguel Vanleene, Melisa Pesoa Marcilla, Charles Yan Gore, Zhang Yingtian, Diego Luna Quintanilla, Rebeca Perez Castera, Nicola Maniero

Sitting in the geographical context of the dry plain, the global context of climate change, and the urban context of the diffused city, Hydrarchy + is an investigation into how a water system can be used as a medium to create a model for sustainable living. ‘Modern industrial agriculture has been described as a method of using soil to turn petroleum and gas into food’ (Peak Everything by R, Heinberg). Now, with imminent decline of the resources fuelling this industry, the Veneto region offers an ideal canvas to respond to this issue with further re-ruralisation; reducing the extensiveness of agricultural production with smaller circles of transportation, less fertilisation and energy consumption. In proposing to use the diffused city as a canvas – the following issues must be dealt with; mobility, hierarchy and socio- economic structures. Climate change means that the water system in the Veneto region must undergo drastic changes. The implementation of these changes is seen as a possibility of using water as a medium to address the challenges and potentials of the diffused city, resulting in an overall more sustainable structure. Pursuing this vision – the water system must first be sustainable. Largescale interventions are made on the territorial scale to deal with the greater fluctuations in the water system; large areas for storage for dry seasons and drought periods and retention and infiltration structures for flood events. However, the socio-economic structure of the region is comprised of small enterprises and the land ownership mainly of private properties. Sustainable water management begins at property level with smallscale interventions. Thus a 185 ALON G THE VEN E TO P LA IN

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scalar approach is called for to integrate these two through an intermediate scale – where hierarchies can be emphasised. In defining the scales of analysis and design implementation, we look at the transport network. Dispersion of facilities in the diffused city increases journey generation. Therefore, the territory is analysed at the scales of walking, cycling and public transport, which gives an indication as to the programme and land cover distribution. The walking level is the first level of intervention. Here the land cover distribution is homogenous. The water storage must be added at this level, proportional to the land use. This is elaborated in a design study in two different areas. At the cycling level the land distribution is heterogeneous, and land cover densities appear which are translated into icons. These icons may be water spaces, parks, eco-spaces or urban densities. The location of one of these within cycling distance reduces trip generation for one aspect of living. The public transport level is again homogenous, as it is a sample of a unit of the diffused city. This alternation between homogeneous and heterogeneous fabrics defines an inter-dependence between the scales – generating a more cohesive sustainable system. As a mechanism for change at all scales, vested interests are looked for in different land-uses and profit making ventures. The enterprise of gravel extraction by local farmers is expected to continue in the dry plain at a rate of 6,000,000 m³ per year. Two basic methods are employed – ‘pit’ and ‘surface’ extraction. This is seen as an ideal opportunity to create spaces for water storage (pits) and infiltration (lowered surface areas). Here the idea of use density is employed. Extra uses besides water storage in the deep pits may be recreation, fish farming, mobility etc; low infiltration areas for forestry, grazing during drier seasons, and as eco-corridors and tourist trails through the landscape. Thus, the introduction of these multifunctional water spaces make for a more sustainable city in terms of both water management and economy.


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A strategically planned excavation of gravel in the dry plain area is not only important for the local economy, but it can also become the basis of a landscape intervention contributing to a more sustainable water management system.Taking into account the proposed excavation rate, different ways of gravel excavation have been explored. The construction of a new highway in the area has only a limited excavation potential. Digging new gravel pits is less area consuming, however it decreases the purification capacity of the gravel layer. Excavating thinner layers of gravel seems more interesting in that sense, but demands significantly more surface area. A 50/50 combination of both excavation methods is used as a starting point to further explore the strategy.







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Storage for dry seasons Flooding control in wet seasons

1 90






individual adjustments


water management

comunal adjustments


water networks


balance proportions



configuration of hierarchies


water distribution


climate change interventions




Management: sustainable water system

Efficient use drinking and service water. Waste water management. Centralized and decentralized systems. Water source

TERRITORIAL LEVEL Centralized strategy Water extra storage in peak events for infiltration

Water storage

Excess water in year fluctuation

Water Purification Constructed Wetlands

Drinking water storage

PROPERTY LEVEL Diffuse strategy

Drinking Water Suply from Pipes

Catchment area

Service water storage Service Water Consumtion

Rain Water Treatment Constructed Wetlands


Service Water Reuse


Urine Drinking Water Consumtion

Urine for Fertilizer


Black Water



A Service water tank and rain water harvesting at property level. B Drinking water tank C Recycling facilites (Grey and service water storage, Filter)

D Toilet (Urine and feaces separation)

E Urine tank

Black Water Treatment Constructed Wetlands

(For fertilizer)

DISTRICT LEVEL Urban strategy

Service water network

Water extra storage in peak events for infiltration

Water retention

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Dam - Sediment










Flood plain




Energy production

River bank







Grey water

Path / Drive

Black water

Domestic use Tank

Garden wetland



WC Pool / Pond

Living machine Fish farming

Terrace / Balcony

Surface run off

Filtration system/unit Irrigation

Energy production

Irrigation Grassland



Water detention ditch








Fish farming

Wetlands Infiltration ditch


Large Roof Structures


Water basin


Filter beds (reeds)

Sports field


Pools / Ponds

Energy production

Filtration system/unit




PIT EXTRACTION : locations for water storage

FLOW : urban settlements, filtration, storage, irriagtion

SURFACE EXTRACTION : green network

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FLOOD BUFFER : canal and river system 195 ALON G THE VEN E TO P LA IN

FINAL INFILTRATION : by overflowing the full basins into a filtration zone the excess water is infiltrated before the spring line





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FLOOD BUFFER : canal and river system



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Andrea Cremasco, Takumi Kimura,, Ling Chen, Fernanda Escayola, Tahereh Keimanesh, Veronica Saddi, Vasiliki Tsioutsiou INTRODUCTION Dry land is now an under-evaluated element in the regional territory, and is considered as an unproductive land of dispersion where the only economical value is gravel excavation. Our focus is a discussion on the main supports and water management of the study area considering the effects of climate change. The project design concentrates on using natural elements, recognizing the potential water infrastructure, and formulating a cooperative strategy as a guiding tool to structure the cittĂ diffusa. To proceed with a design proposal, two conceptual scenarios (mitigation and adaptation) are merged into one. Open space for water and the densification of the cittĂ  diffusa. The design project is a consequence of the dialogue between two contradictable demands for space in the dry area. The result is a reflection on the nodes of intersection with regard to their potential position in relation to the network of urban flow: the network of water space and the settlement organization. In our vision the main reference for urban density in the site should not be just the individuation of already existing semi-dense agglomerations but the integration between a dense productive landscape, a dense infrastructure of roads, rivers and green and a dense system of water and public spaces covering dry land and the entire region.


ig irr n io at l na ca

water reserve

densification sile river


salty water venice



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ADAPTATION SCENARIO The extreme approach that future climate changes will cause a form of climate immigration, which will introduce a more flexible living model, is the basis of this scenario. In the vision the low plain is the “farmland” of the dry plain in a more regional perception of città diffusa. The very popular Mediterranean tradition, according to which people shift between two settlements, their main one and a secondary one (for agricultural, leisure or safety reasons) is the inspiration for a città diffusa, where people seasonally shift between the low and dry plain, and have even the option of permanently moving to the upper plane if the lower becomes unsafe In the future. In order to design a more coherent dry plain città diffusa, attention was paid to the vertical transportation network, to the existing urban centralities, the intersection of infrastructure and the water network, and lastly the organizing of former pits or quarries as new centralities.



citta∙diffusa citta∙diffusa

citta∙diffusa∙ non intenza

2 02

citta∙densa citta∙densa

New Regional Living Approach

Seasonal living shifts between wet and gravel areas. The existing urban structure of the dry plain indicates the ideal locations for new urbanity.


Seasonal Settlements

Cities and città diffusa formed by permanent settlements, and re-formed by seasonal living and shifting between dense cities and the città diffusa.

citta∙diffusa∙ non intenza

Re-structuring the Città Diffusa

Urban fabric and gravel pits are connected through a “green” belt. The final entity is a new public space structure that will form the centrality of città diffusa and the basis for new settlements.


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MITIGATION SCENARIO Attention has been paid to the concept of the site as a water battery for the region in terms of both water storage and energy production that will limit the flooding events in the area downstream from the spring line. The study of topography, soil conditions and the hydrographic system leads towards the definition of three green belts connected by a slow network system (rivers and green corridors). The first step has been to organize a new way to provide gravel in the site at the plot level, according to a diffuse strategy of water storage, thus creating a seasonal floodplain on a territorial scale. The strategy is more than just a technical device or an economic catalyst. It represents a way to manipulate the landscapeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dynamism. In the longterm the flood events with their provision of sediments will make the floodplain fertile and suitable for different kinds of cultivations and the water movement along the terraced site will represent a new source of energy.



energy zone

energy zone first pit zone

2 06

second pit zone

spring line

High wet land

In this scenario we create 3 zones: The first and the second zone receive water and sedimentation from the Piave and from the irrigation canal; in the event of flooding, this water is stored and purified and contributes to the third zone: the spring line. This zone is seen as a green belt which will be a linear park for the whole region.

Fertilization and providing energy

Water storing and sedimentation help the land to become more fertile, creating an economic value and a new dynamic landscape. The zones in between the floodplain will provide energy via exploitation of the topography.


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THE TWO SCENARIOS COMBINED Site definition The focus featured an attempt to analyze the study area between the city of Treviso and Montebelluna, with an emphasis on addressing the issue on a strategic level as to the problems of water, settlements, as well as managing local mobility and community, in consideration of a future typology of water urbanism. The study of the focused area had the intent of layering out the overall structure line of water and settlements: the water layer in order to reconnect the quarry field as main seasonal water storage space with main ditches; the settlement layer in order to reinforce the vertical connection beyond any economic benefit. Merged Scenarios The strengths of the two scenarios have finally been combined in a vision where a network of slow, natural connections and fast, mobility-related connections is combined with the urban layer and the belts of gravel pits. The physical structure of the cittĂ diffusa and the location of industrial activities create a set of conditions and densities within the two network grids, thus shaping the boundaries of the water belts and defining focus areas where our strategy has been tested. The threshold between the floodplains and the territory is the field of study of our research which focused on the opportunity of discovering not just one solution for or against urban dispersion but a set of possible combinations of integration between the urban tissues with natural, agricultural and water elements, where different hierarchies can create variable settlement conditions



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2 12



2 14



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Juan Argemi, Carlo Pisano, Aarti C Sharma, Gabriela Secco, Michele Girelli

What if we could buy time to adapt by storing water...a territory built by water collection The main characteristic of the wet plain is the impermeable condition of its soil. The landscape is the result of the reclaimed land of an ancient lagoon. The water management is mainly via the ground through the existing system of wells (that hasten the salination of the underground water); the drainage system includes channels that drive the excess fresh water into the sea. The wet plain presents a flood risk in occurrence of peak events. In addition to this and due to climate change, more problems are added with the rise in the sea level. Certainly, due to its position, the area is directly related with the dry plain and to the coastline. We assume the scenario of a better water management in order to control flooding in the dry plain. Likewise we assume the possible coastline scenarios of resilience or resistance. ACTIONS: To solve these problems, we decided to act on three levels: Productive System Assuming an induced process of salinity of the lower areas, nowadays productively inefficient, we propose a gradual adaptation in time of the agricultural structure that will imply new uses of the land. This entails the introduction of â&#x20AC;&#x153;halophytesâ&#x20AC;? for biofuel and food, and aquaculture in the coastal plots. Settlements The process will generate new situations in the area in question. In time the new structures that will appear as a result of the water management will give rise to new settlements as a form of adaptation to the new scenario.


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Infrastructure We intend avoiding the use of the wells. To combat the flood risk, we will provide areas that could take on the excess water should extreme conditions occur. Three main locations are proposed. In the urban areas (for example one being the area of San Doná di Piave). We have also selected some spaces near the rivers such as upstream along the river Livenza, before the rivers Monticano and Meduna join it. And in a dispersed way in the farmland: every plot will have its own “local” storage system connected to the general water system. A new intermediate water level system is to be designed, in addition to the existing network, in order to soften the pumping system. To tackle the process of salination, we would create an ecological corridor or “sponge” connected to the fresh water system. The pressure of this water storage corridor would repel the salinity problems in the first stage. This corridor will also include a natural water purifying system. At the same time, we would take the opportunity of introducing new settlements and uses of the land (eco tourism, etc) to the area. The said corridor is mainly located along an ancient riverbed and introduces the pre-existing courses, channels, paths, etc into the site design. Indeed our proposal has been conceived making maximum use of the site’s existing tracks and dynamics, offering a soft-realistic approach to the set problems.

scenario 0 scenario 1 scenario 2 scenario 3


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Hydrographic system of the Piave and the Livenza. The rivers are composed of a series of secondary and tertiary tributaries.

Groundwater wells system.

Instead of considering the standard approach of the condition of the main branch of the river, we decided to intervene in the second and tertiary tributaries and drainage system.

One of the parameters of the water tax is based on the amount of water discharged in the canals and pumped out from the polder.

Use of wells and the direct surface discharge allow underground salinity infiltration.


In case of a peak event the drainage system discharges a large amount of water into an already turbulent river.

Diffused water storage as an answer to the preceding issues .


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Rooms for the river.

Diffuse water storage and collective buffer zone.

Intermediate water system.

Present day water system with a direct discharge into the river system.

Proposed water system, with a low storage and the use of the existing topography to create an intermediate water system. This system requires less pumping power and enables a direct discharge into the sea in occurrence of a peak event. Section of the diffuse storage in the existing farms.

Section of the sponge zone.

View of the possible landscape created by the diffuse water storage system.


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Balance between salty and fresh water.


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WATER BOUNDARI ES Francesca Arca Alessandra Cassol Maura Rossi

This project is focused on the city of San Donà and the reclaimed area just outside the city, considering the scenario in which the risk comes from the river. The project is divided into two parts, the first one working on a small scale, the second on a large scale. All the existing spaces inside the city, like for example parking areas and green areas, have been planned as water storage spaces when rainfall is normal. All these small patches are to be networked via the reopening of some closed canals. The idea behind our project was to create a new landscape which adapts itself to the extreme events caused by climate change, and the strategy we used for this project was that of “river rooms”. The “rooms” are created in the area using the existing canal network in the reclaimed area just outside the city, this in order to preserve the existing built-up area. Since the territory in which we are working is the cittò diffusa, the strategy to be applied is a diffuse system enabling fresh water storage. In the past the city was protected from the risk of flooding by a system of dykes. By raising the dikes we would offer resistance rather than resilience. In the dyke system our intent is to create some weakpoints which work like the fuse in an electric circuit. Through the ‘fuse dike’ the river water in excess is channelled into the existing canal network and stored in the “rooms” created in the rural area by exploiting the different ground height. The fresh water basin system has to be consistent with the built-up area. In a longterm scenario in which most of the territory of the reclaimed area is covered by water, the filaments of streets and single houses on the top of the new dyke system form the highest level, this in order to maintain the existing infrastructural network and connection between the cities. The new dykes establish dry strips above flood level, filaments along which future city development can be planned.


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high risk

moderate risk

low risk







moderate risk

low risk


new expansion

The new expansion areas















5 2 30





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Hydroelectric stations



Fish Farms



Groundwater wells

Artesian wells

Took surface

water management devices

disused quarries






Water Management devices

" "

wetland areas


river rolling

flood barrier

recalibration of the rivers

dams under construction or planned


pumping station under construction or planned

pumping station

water stress devices

flood zones

slope of the saline wedge

points at risk of erosion

water risk

Water Stress devices



Hydrography - dry land - wet land - water system

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River Piave - wide section - meanders - rectified canal

Reclaimed area

- irrigation network - irrigation network - settlements, water system, pump station, canals


parking with drainage area and water collection system

parks with storage areas

reopen the closed channels

private gardens with storage areas

turn down the sport areas

roofs with storage areas 235 ALON G THE VEN E TO P LA IN

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- 1 meters

+ 7 meters



step 0 play with different height of the ground

step 1 create patches inside the city devoted to store the fresh water

step 2 retain the fresh water in territorial rooms


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X T REM E L AGO ON / R E TR E AT R E SI ST Jonathan Blaseg, Marta Finotello, Le Ngoc Linh, Miguel Cuellas, Giulia Mazzorin, Eli Grønn, Diogo Pires Ferreira

Resist Retreat is a territorial strategy project that tries to address the problems and potentials of the Veneto region in regard to the climate changes. The project focuses on the coastline north of Venice and the Venice Lagoon. The sea is rising and there are already areas in this region that are situated below sea level. The coastline suffers from erosion, and the threat of floods is steadily increasing. The project investigates the possibility of resisting floods as long as possible to then retreat in an extreme situation to a new safe coastline. These two strategies will also need to have a transition stage. This means that the possible retreat phase is prepared for during the resistance phase. We believe it is possible to resist floods, and preserve agriculture and settlements in the region until the sea level rises up to 100cm. Resisting implies reinforcing the existing natural dykes through adding natural sediments from the river and the sea as well as reinforcing and adding artificial dykes. It is necessary to develop a protection system that coordinates the different programs against the actions of the sea. Agriculture, infrastructure or housing will all have to be treated differently in terms of the tool or technical solution that is chosen. At some point, for economic and cultural reasons, the Venice lagoon may have to be partially or totally closed off. One possibility is to close it off when at high tide and open it up at low tide so that seawater circulates in the lagoon. The discussion as to what extent Venice can be protected is an interesting one. To close the island off totally will definitely make Venice into a theme park. The transition phase, from 150 cm and upwards, suggests opening up some parts of the reinforced coastline to let the seawater in. Time and the socioeconomic development of the region will give us the patterns and programs of the projects in this phase. The transition area might consist of flooded areas, dry areas, new agriculture or aquaculture, industry, ecological areas or infrastructure. At this stage we propose moving the industrial area of Marghera, the airport and harbour out of the lagoon. The sea level within the lagoon and that of the Mediterranean in general will differ, a situation that would complicate the logistics of the industry located in the area. There are strong environmental reasons for enacting this program should the lagoon be closed. 241 ALON G THE VEN E TO P LA IN

If the extreme climate change becomes a reality (rising sea level of +1,50 / +3,00 m), we propose to retreat back to a new safe coastline. Everything except some urban islands between the original and new coastline will be flooded. The human settlements and activities would have to be relocated and a new concept for the flooded areas and Venice would be developed. The preserved islands would protect the new coastline from erosion. What are the potentials in the development of this project? We believe that it is in the nature of the human being to resist and protect human settlements. Deciding whether this is good or not is an ethical discussion, but until now it is how history has evolved. Thus we think the project is realistic. It is however important to find good and flexible solutions to such an approach. We see our project as only a start to tackling the whole process, constituting an approach with great future potential for further development.

coast landscape structure

coast land use

today coast structure

possible future structure 2 42




Return Rivers


Accept New Lagoons

Build-Up Dikes Establish New Lagoon Identity

Divert Industry Divert Sedimentation



RETREAT Build-Up Sedimentation

Maintain New Lagoon Islands



2200 c r i t i c a l



l i n e

Ecologic, cultural and economic areas will order the territory. Agriculture will be re placed with new culture related to the lagoon.

2070 Continue to reinforce the natural and artificial dikes. This will effect the ecology of the area.

Natural processes (dune systems), rein force the existing dikes by using sediments from the rivers and the sea. Extra artificial dikes.

The Venice lagoon can be protected for economic and cultural reasons. Reinforce, or even close it. Venice really becomes a theme park. Develop a protection system that regard the meeting between the actual program (agriculture, housing, infrastructure...) and the sea.




2040 0M



Move Maghera, clean and reuse the soil. Possibility for new economies, aquacul ture, fish farms. Maintain the economi cal centre of the region.

The most cost-efficient solution?


R The project implies to resist until the critical moment

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What are the potentials in developing and implementing this strategy? Retreat until a safe new coast line. Main tain structures to pro tect the new coastline from erosion.

All, except some urban nuclei, is flooded, we accept a new concept for Venice and we’ll relocate the human be ings and the activities.

c r i t i c a l Give some old shore area back to the sea. This changes the bio diversity of the area, brings back the marsh land, and starts the transition.

An extreme economic loss for the region.

l i n e











or then to retreat to a new and safe coast line.



Artificial Dikes


Dunes Settlements / Culture Agriculture / Ecology Infrastructure / Economy

Dikes System

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Protect Agricultural Areas

Naturale Dunes System




Infrastructure out of the lagoon

New Agriculture

Protect Agricultural Areas

Dikes System 247 ALON G THE VEN E TO P LA IN


Dunes Settlements / Culture Agriculture / Ecology Infrastructure / Economy

New Coast Line

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Protecting the infrastructure

New Agriculture

new topography/dunes’ landscape

new agricolture’s landscape

buildings/dykes’ landscape

new artificial beaches’ landscape


â&#x20AC;&#x153;What we call the beginning is often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.....â&#x20AC;? T.S. Eliot This verse could express the essence of our work. We start from the end of a system to develop a new physical limit of defence and possibility. The climate change here is seen as a chance to rethink the in between land and sea; a border of ongoing struggle for the landsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; immage definiction.

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WHAT IF ...the lagoon would expand to allow resilience Serena Causin, Andrea Curtoni, Cecilia Furlan , Rana Habibi, Kris Huismans, Meghal Kodiya, Monica Netti, Joel Sanabra,Barbara Sandra 01- SCENARIOS Four different scenarios were considered to deal with climate change and the rise of the sea level. The scenarios were tested looking at the existing topography and waterscape. The first scenario does not counter the rise of the sea level, but lets the flooding happen in various parts of the Venetian hinterland, while a system of dams protects the major cities. The second scenario deals with the protection of the coast and nearby cities against the rising sea level, with a series of sort-of super-dams. In the third scenario a sort-of super dam is created between the delta of the River Po and the Istrian coast to preserve the existing lagoon system. The fourth scenario centres strongly on the problems of climate change: it allows the water in where the territory is below sea level, but protects the areas that are naturally above sea level. A first step in this process would be the formation of new salt marshes associated with the existing lagoons, while in a later stage new lagoons would be connected with each other to create a single large lagoon, almost operating as a stretch of sea. A system of islands, an archipelago, are created that are naturally integrated with the deposition of river sediments, each island would be protected by the continuous rise of the sea level by a system of dams. FLOOD

RESIST: Protect the shores

RESIST: Close the bay








02- CONCEPT The Venice lagoon forms part of a larger system altering the river deltas and lagoons along the Adriatic Coast. As these bodies of water are all related, it is our opinion that these areas also need to be considered to form a coherent vision for the region and its waterscape. Climate change would possibly result in a sea level rise of 108 cm by 2100. As many examples have shown us, choosing a resistant approach would in the end result in failure. We believe that we have to look at the landscape itself to counter the consequences of the rise of the sea level and extreme flooding. The strip of lower lying land along the coast revealed by an analysis of the areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s topography would be the first to disappear. The rivers and their sediments would transform these flooded areas into new lagoons, while the existing lagoon would become part of the gulf and eventually be transformed into new marshlands. The resulting new lagoon system would work as a resilient device, a buffer zone between the existing coast line and the strip of higher land that would be able to absorb the excess of water created by rise in seal level and flooding.


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03- INFRASTRUCTURES The new lagoon includes a new nature of settlements: cities along the coast become new islands, new lidos which need to be connected with the inland. The old rivers would work as navigation canals inside this new system. Other canals need to be designed to complete the waterway system. As a transversal system, a tram connects San Donà di Piave and Jesolo, it becomes “the people mover” of the area. Also the harbours of Tronchetto and Marghera will be moved. The touristic port of Tronchetto would become part of the coastline of the Lido island. The situation of the industrial port of Marghera would be re-examined more on a territorial scale, studying the economic dynamics of the region.





Road Dyke



Fish Farm Dyke (controlled water) 2 58

Reclimed Land

Fish Farm (controlled water)

Fish Farm (controlled water)

River Sile Dyke

River SileDyke

San Donà di Piave River Piave

San Donà di Piave River Piave

San Donà di Piave River Piave

04- TISSUE SAMPLES A resilient approach always goes together with some measures of resistance. The settlements in lower lands that need to be protected could be surrounded by a new system of dykes. This dykescape would not only protect the settlements from flooding, but also form a new opportunity for the existing settlements as it has the potential to become a productive and public place, combined with new typologies of settlements and services. For the tissue samples we zoomed in on 3 places: San Donà di Piave, Bonifica, Lido di Jesolo. San Donà San Donà would transform from a hinterland city to a waterfront city. It would be surrounded by the new lagoons in the lower lying lands and connected by a green park corridor on the strip of higher land. This corridor would connect the city with Lido dI Jesolo and allow place for new settlement typologies in the green areas. Some settlements in the lower lands would be protected by a new dykescape.


2100 (+100)










San Donà di Piave River Piave

River SileDyke


San Donà di Piave River Piave Lagoon


San Donà di Piave River Piave 259 ALON G THE VEN E TO P LA IN

The new lagoon means: protect what should be protected, new canals in the existing towns, new types of extension.







Channel fresh Water


Pamping Station

Small Village






Channel fresh Water


Pamping Station

Small Village







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Reclaimed Land The area between Jesolo and San DonĂ Di Piave, low in density and located in the lower plain, would be flooded subsequent to the rise in the seal level. The higher areas would be gradually transformed into shallows (barena) and lagoon. By 2100 it would be a system of islands, with new infrastructure, landscape, ecology and economy.








Village Channel fresh Water


Village Channel fresh Water



Small Village






Lagoon Channel

Small Village



Fish Farm


Like the coast cities, that will be flooded with a controlled system, Venice and the rest of the islands, could be thought with the same method.



PHASING OF THE COAST LINE: Maps and sections







Sile River





Sile River




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Jesolo Lido Jesolo Lido would transform to become a floating city with platforms which connect different parts of the city together, and sedimentation would cause the shape of lands to change, creating new beaches at the lagoon side of the city. A people mover would connect the city with San DonĂ and the new infrastructure system along the pieces of slightly higher land.












Sile River



Sile River





Barena Lagoon




Aerial Infrared Imagery Bangkok, Thailand 2 66


Brian McGrath Baltimore design team: Mateo Pinto, Jacinto Padin and Victoria Marshall; Thailand collaborator: Danai Thaitakoo

fusing scientific and indigenous water management in territorial design The extreme city workshop tests the resilience of design research when directed towards the vast territory of built and natural systems in the Veneto region. Here the limits and possibilities of disciplinary knowledge confront an inherited landscape of dispersed forms of urbanization and the fragile vulnerability of the Venetian Lagoon. It is in this extreme condition in the context climate change that I present two non-European examples of metropolitan territorial design research, one which represents a science-led practice in transforming the region of Baltimore, Maryland in the US, and the other, an ethnographic-led national territorial design research in transforming the water-based cities of the Chao Phraya River Basin of Thailand, encompassing cities in the Northern mountain, central plain and delta landscapes. The preliminary conclusions of this comparative research point to the role of the architect as translator, calibrator and negotiator between the demands of resistance and resilience, mitigation and adaptation, located between science and ethnography. This puts the architect in between two realms of disciplinary knowledge long separated between science and humanities. Instead of imposing a methodology intrinsic to architecture, in these two projects we found ourselves choosing from an array of territorial methodologies, skills and tool sets from science and ethnography. This shift from acting within the persistent and static architecture of the city, to the dynamic uncertainty of the architecture of the territory in an era of climate change, constitutes a moment in which to finally renounce the autonomy and solipsism of normative architectural practice. 267 ON CC DES IG N

coarse vegetation

fine vegetation




H.E.R.C.U.L.E.S. land cover types


Patch Array: Gwynns Falls Watershed Baltimore County, Maryland 2 68

the baltimore ecosystem study The Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) is one of two urban Longterm Ecological Research projects funded by the US National Science Foundation. ( Steward Pickett, Director of BES, framed the discussion of the recent renewal proposal with the following comments, “Urban systems are undergoing vast changes around the globe. Changes in economic and commercial strategies, human migration, land conversion, household structure, lifestyles, and global climate are among the most conspicuous kinds of change, to which urban systems must respond. These complex urban systems, spanning central cities, old suburbs, new suburban enclaves, edge city business centers, exurbs and the lands beyond, will adapt in part or whole, and to differing degrees. The principal question facing both researchers and managers of urban systems today must be, ‘Is this urban area capable of adapting to the suite of drastic biological, physical, and social changes it is now experiencing?’” The BES is currently beginning its third funding cycle with this principle question in mind. I joined the study as a co-principal investigator in 2004 when ecological research questions led more and more to the question of urban design as a practice located within coupled human and social systems. Over this period, the Urban Design Research Group at BES ( has conducted design studios where post-graduate students have worked in collaboration with BES scientists, (McGrath, et. al., 2007) and the design studio urban-interface ( has conducted two design research projects with scientists from BES. The first project, The Baltimore Patch Atlas, involved the creation of a graphic visualization system and urban atlas for the H.E.R.C.U.L.E.S. high ecological resolution classification of urban landscapes and environments developed by ecologists Mary Cadenasso and Steward Pickett. The design team included Victoria Marshall and Phanat Xanamane. The HERCULES system was developed in order to operationalize the ecological theory of patch dynamics. Building, pavement, bare soil, fine and coarse vegetation are the five basic land cover types identified in the HERCULES method from low altitude aerial infrared imagery. Land cover patches are identified and classified according to the percentage mixture of the various land cover types – either dominated by one type, dominated by a mixture of two types, or heterogeneous patches of several types. The urban design team developed a typology of HERCULES 269 ON CC DES IG N

Baisman Run

Dead Run

Harlem Park

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3D Models of the Case Study Neigborhoods Baltimore, Maryland

patch types and by placing the typology in spatial context, a new morphological understanding of the dispersed city was gained. According to Pickett, “patch dynamics is both an evocative term for interacting with urban design professions, and the shorthand for a well developed theoretical approach to landscape ecology. This theory addresses the structure and function of spatial heterogeneity in ecological systems at any scale. Patch dynamics theory highlights the mosaic or graded structure of spatial heterogeneity, the flows among patches, the role of patch boundaries, and the temporal changes in individual patches as well as the entire mosaic. This ecological theory applies well to human ecosystems, such as the varied areas of urban regions, and can accommodate biophysical, social, buildings, and infrastructural mosaics. These different mosaics are in fact linked and interacting, and the dynamics of each on is important to the others. We present examples of these mosaics, using metropolitan Baltimore, Maryland, USA, as a case study. Furthermore, we present how patch dynamics can be translated to the fields of urban design, where it encourages a connected, systems approach to design, and stimulates designs that recognize the dynamic nature of the urban mosaic.” (http://www.beslter. org/frame4-page_3k_04.html) While patches are bounded for analytical purposes, the work of Cadenasso (2007) examines the role of patch boundaries as highly productive elements which control the flows of materials, species, people and information. Boundaries are therefore both structural and functional elements in urban landscapes that help us understand flows in ecology and urban design. Cadenasso defines a boundary as “a zone of transition delimiting two patches, its three dimensional form extends from below the soil surface up into the atmosphere. Its width may vary depending on the criteria used to define the two adjacent patches. For example a boundary between a forest and a field may be wide for changes in air temperature but narrows for changes in species composition.” (p. 131)




Baisman Run

Dead Run

Harlem Park

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biocomplexity feedback loops An ongoing research project is specifically directed at the ability of different urban patches to perform ecosystem services – particularly nitrogen retention, a key concern in efforts to revitalize the Chesapeake Bay. Funded by the Biocomplexity program at the National Science Foundation, urban-interface is developing multiple design scenarios based an different attributes and variables from which Baltimore region residents will surveyed about their preferences. Neighborhood preferences will be then modeled by the team’s hydrologists to quantify the increased ecosystem services which would result. The collaborative work constitutes a feedback loop between scientific monitoring of subcatchments of the urban watershed, the creation of variable design scenarios, and per formative modeling to inform policy makers. According to ecologist Mary Cadenasso, “The insights can be seen as expanding on the current state of understanding of how urban watersheds work, and can thus contribute to the health of coastal waters. This expansion takes place along three dimensions:1) From a focus on the relatively narrow riparian boundaries to extensive, functional urban land/waterscapes; 2) From engineering to remove water quickly to design that slows water flow and enhances the ecological processes that can retain or convert nitrate; and 3) From emphasis on structural mitigation to include behaviors of humans organized as households, institutions, and agencies.” (Cadenasso, 2008) Both projects represent a shift in the role of architecture in urban design. HERCULES shifts from a building typological approach based on planning norms of land use, to an ecological classification system based on land cover. By focusing on land cover rather than land use, new knowledge about the metropolitan urban system is revealed. The dispersed American city does not conform to expected gradients of densities from urban core to rural fringe, but consists of dynamic patches which have huge variations in vegetation structure and water management. The biocomplexity project allows an architect to move beyond client based work – neither undertaking the impossible task of working for the thousands of individual property owners who populate the regional watersheds, nor the various levels of government and collective organization that establish policies.


2 74

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young delta 8"#$9-7*4%&

old645-7*4%& delta

floodplain /4""534&'$

fan-terrace complex /&$0%*++&1*-2",34*(

intermontane basins )$%*+,"$%&$*-.&('$(

mountains !"#$%&'$(


The Chao Phraya watershed, with the successive capitals of Siam

thailandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s indigenous water-based urbanism Thai studies offer a rich ethnographic archive of the way inhabitants engage in socio-ecological practices. The Cornell-Thailand research project which covered the period between the 1950s and 1970s is especially rich in its focus on one village, Ban Chan, east of Bangkok. (Hanks, etc) Japanese anthropologists have taken up where the American researchers left off, and have consistently focused on rice cultivation and water management practices, notably Shigeharu Tanabe in a string of villages near Chiang Mai and Yosuikazu Takayaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s study of agricultural development in the Chao Phraya Delta. As in ecology, ethnography has taken an urban turn, and even though the numerous anthropological studies remain focused on villages, many of the studies were part of newly urbanizing systems of greater Bangkok and Chiang Mai. For my research with Danai Thaitakoo at Chulalongkorn University, these ethnographic field notes provide rich evidence to begin to reconstruct indigenous urban water management design historically in Thailand as the basis of new design scenarios. The Chao Phraya River basin is central to Thai history and geography. Its headwaters in Northern Thailand nourished intermountain tributary kingdoms such as Chiang Mai and Lampang. The Ping and Yam Rivers in both Kingdoms, were the site of a weir and canal water management system called muang fai which served as an efficient means of agricultural irrigation and flood control and drainage. The headwaters of Lampang has more recently been reforested with a distributive system of small dam construction which can be done by villagers themselves. The proliferation of these micro-management systems attest to the possibility of indigenous water management practices in the contemporary dispersed city. Sukhothai, at the foothills of the Northern Mountains, was the site of the first capital of Siam, when it broke from Khmer imperial sovereignty. The archaeological site of Sukhothai is surrounded by a triple row of moats and earthen walls, and contains numerous lakes within which the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most sacred Buddhist monasteries rise. Ayutthaya is an island city created at the confluence of three rivers. A grid of canals crisscrosses the island. This trading center constructed short cut canals transecting the lower chao Phraya delta as well as long transversal east/west canals connecting the four rivers which form the distributary system of the delta. Terdsak Tachakitkachora has studied 275 ON CC DES IG N

Sukhothai is located at the foot hills of the Northern mountains in a river flood plane.

Ayutthaya is an island city located at the confluence of three rivers at the edge of the old delta.

The historical center of Bangkok is located on three concentric island at a shortcut in the Chao Phraya River and the modern city sprawls among friut orchards and rice paddies in the new delta.

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the network of agricultural market towns and plantations which were constructed in the harsh landscape of the delta before the founding of Bangkok. The historical center of Bangkok occupies three concentric islands created at a short cut through the meandering Chao Phraya at its delta, and the city now sprawls across the entire delta from Ayutthaya to the north, the Mae Klong River to the west, and River to the east. designing the territory between scientific and indigenous practices An ongoing study between Chulalongkorn University and Parsons The New School for Design is documenting the land use change along the newly constructed outer ring road of Bangkok using ethnographic and scientific methodologies. ASTER infrared satellite imagery provides information on land cover transformation over time, while interviews with farmers localizes the macro transformation of the entire region in the micro decisions individual farmers make â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to change from rice to fish or turf farming, or to sell their land for housing estates. In Baltimore we developed design scenarios for scientifically evaluated preference surveys. The preferred designs are then evaluated for their impact on ecosystem services, especially nitrogen retention. Together the Thai and Baltimore projects fuse local practices, both indigenous and scientific with remote sensing, mapping and modeling of design scenarios at municipal, neighborhood and individual property scales. There are no government or management structures that can provide a mechanism for transforming the territorial scale in the US and Thai cities. Instead new models must be developed in line with peoples preferences and diverse and dispersed lifestyles.


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References - Cadenasso M.L., et. al., 2008, Exchanges across land-waterscape boundaries in urban systems: Strategies for reducing nitrate pollution, The year in Ecology and Conservation Biology - Cadenasso M.L., STA Pickett, Schwarz K., 2007, Spatial heterogeneity in urban ecosystems: Reconceptualizing land cover and a framework for classification, - Frontiers of Ecological Environment; 5(2): 80â&#x20AC;&#x201C;88 - Cadenasso M. L., Pickett. S. T. A., 2007, In press., Boundaries as structural and functional entities in landscapes: understanding flows in ecology and urban design, in McGrath B. , Marshall V., Cadenasso M. L., Grove J. M., Pickett S. T. A., Plunz R. and Towers J. eds., 2007, Designing Patch Dynamics, New York: Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University, 2007 - McGrath B. , Marshall V., Cadenasso M. L., Grove J. M., Pickett S. T. A., Plunz R. and Towers J. eds., 2007, Designing Patch Dynamics, New York: Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University, 2007


Iran, Yazd region- Source: 2010 Google - Images Š 2010 Digital Globe, Cnes/Spot Image, GeoEye 2 80

DI ALOG UE WI TH DESIG N Jimena Garcia Galindo, Carlo Pin, Kaveh Rashidzadeh, Philippe Vandenbroeck

The workshop starts with three basic data: a territory (the area between the Piave and the Livenza rivers), an infrastructure (water), and a particular constellation of pressures (climate change). Taking our cue from these boundary conditions we are called, as designers, to construct alternative images of possible futures. Now consider the following story: Qanats are water infrastructures that are used to provide a reliable supply of water to human settlements and for irrigation in hot and arid climates. These ancient Persian man-made infrastructures are still being used throughout the globe in adapted variations. Maintenance and engineering of such long and expensive subterranean water infrastructure was not an easy task. It demanded severe water management system and security over the territory. A security which was provided not just for the cities’ built fabric, but for the whole territory that was served by Qanats. The need for territorial security for hundreds of kilometers just for one city demanded a centralized power and governance. This climatic determinism was providing ground for emergence of despotic governance systems that can also be called ‘Hydraulic Empires’ (i.e. Iran). Where every drop of water had to be used efficiently, water infrastructure technology was bringing enormous power to its stakeholders and was shaping the spatial and political structures of the society. But, this despotism might have been the only choice for survival of people who were living in harsh climatic territories. This story is a reminder that our design practice - particularly when it concerns the systemic confluence of issues such as territory, water and climate - is embedded in a wider field of issues and questions of power and normativity. What the ‘concept group’ tried to do in this workshop was to step away from the immediacy of the design gesture and establish a dialogue with it from three different vantage points: a contextual, a normative and a heuristic, oriented towards understanding, positioning and solutioning, respectively. Our aim 281 ON CC DES IG N

land-based goods + services


pressure on natural resources

quest for growth

decrease in quality of life

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climate change

was to contribute to the reflexivity of the design practice from these distinct positions. The contextual vantage point invites us to consider the wider setting in which the design challenge is embedded and to ask ourselves how our design strategies could be affected by these ostensibly more peripheral driving forces. For a start we need to appreciate that climate change is part of a wider, more fundamental issue. The diagram on this page - a ‘limits to growth’ balancing feedback loop - captures the need for a regime change, away from the relentless quest for growth. Climate change makes this requirement only more acute. In addition, focusing on the Veneto, we need to appreciate that it is home to one of the oldest populations in any of the European metropolitan regions, that the level of unemployment of 55+ workers is amongst the highest in Europe, that the foreign-born population is expected to double in the next 20 years, and that the national debt of the Italian state may soon grow to 120% of GDP. This begs the question as to how our design proposals take these potentially significant socio-economic data into account. Obviously we could cast our net much wider in the contextual environment to identify a much more comprehensive set of relevant drivers. The normative vantage point imposes itself quite naturally when we consider that designers, as human beings shaping futures for and with other human beings, are confronted with moral choices and responsibilities. In the present workshop we are confronted with a very specific territorial condition: the città diffusa, a form of urban sprawl where towns, villages, single houses, single industries and industrial areas cohabit with agriculture [Indovina 1990]. The città diffusa is a controversial model. Some consider it aesthetically unappealing, wasteful, difficult to manage and not resilient to the pressures of climate change. Accordingly, in the Veneto there is a policy-driven movement towards hierarchisation and metropolitanisation of the territory. Furthermore, the centuries old social and institutional fabric that has been shaped by water management practices, bringing together private and public interests, is being dismantled in favour of a more transactional, consumerist approach. Others, however, see the città diffusa as a prototypical form of the 21st century European city which embodies centuries old socio-cultural capital and deeply democratic values. Any design proposal that intervenes in the città diffusa will have to come to terms with its constitutive elements and that implies a normative choice: for or against the città diffusa. The contextual and normative questions can hence be summarized as follows: To what extent does the design take into account the wider systemic pressures the Veneto region is to subjected to? To what extent does it leverage the resilience and relieve the stasis that is 283 ON CC DES IG N

design strategies

contextual normative + questions territory + pressure + infrastructure

heuristic questions

ecology systems economy principles hydrology sociology political urban planning science

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embedded in inherited spatial and governance structures? To what extent does the design align stakeholder interests and how does it empower citizens and communities to protect themselves? What stance – for or against – does the design take regarding the città diffusa? The ‘what if’ questions that are formulated from the heuristic vantage point have the intention to open up a space for discovery and exploration for the design. Of course, there are millions of questions that could serve as a heuristic prompt. But the challenge is to identify those questions that allow us to come to grips with the specificities of this particular territory, infrastructure and pressures. This is also where the quintessentially multidisciplinary nature of the design is in evidence as the questions may be culled from a variety of disciplines. In the setting of the present workshop hydraulic engineering, political science, ecology, sociology and political economy seem to offer promising starting points for formulating heuristic questions. We have selectively focused on a number of issues: - the possibility of alternative economic frameworks (co-production, social ventures, open source business models, steady-state economy) to expand the range of value creation options for this particular region [Grant 2010]; - the contribution of the concept of ecosystem services to offer a substrate for social learning about the appropriation of nature-derived benefits for different actors [Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005, Cork and Proctor 2005]; - the possibility to recast the differentiated relationship between ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ as an integration of biomass, nutrient, water and informational flows; - the possibility of climate change pressure to lead to drastically different patterns of water consumption and associated regimes of micro-management and control; The questions springing from these issues are then: What if we were able to reconceptualise the relationship between economic, natural and social capital and make that the basis for new practices; if we were able to rethink the relationship between urban and rural in terms of flows; if we were able to conceptualise a new ordering of society revolving around the micro-management of a water as a precious resource and leveraging cutting edge surveillance technology?







closing loops


technological agricultural park

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vertical greenhouse

Then there are two meta-questions that have been suggested by our reflections: First we need to come to terms with the fact that as planners we are confronted with ‘wicked problems’ ‘[Rittel and Webber, 1973] and even ‘super wicked problems’ [Lazarus 2008] for which no stable, satisfactory solutions can be found. Every intervention in these macroscopic systems is bound to be fragmentary and lead to unintended consequences. In confrontation with these problems we need steer clear of both the hybris of the masterplan and the fatalism of non-action. In response new concepts of human agency have emerged. For example, ‘Transition Management’ is a theory and practice of change in largescale systems which has adopted the dynamic interdependence between an overarching vision and ‘bounded socio-techical experiments’ as a core element [Rotmans, Kemp and van Asselt 2001]. Hence, the question to what extent designers position their work in the dynamic, evolving field spanned by experiment, vision and emergence. The second meta-question emerges from the observation that many of our heuristic stepping stones and normative positionings revolve around a mediation of a ‘between’ (different value sets, commodification and protection of nature, consumption and surveillance, urban and rural, vision and designshaped experiment, città diffusa and metropolis). This mediation will always be a matter for human beings, meeting face-to-face to make sense of the issues and collaboratively deliberate on the way forward [Hoebeke 1994]. Hence the question as to how our designs stimulate reframing and reflexivity and to what extent they create places and conditions for social learning. Hence, there is hope, and in many aspects. Climate change brings uncertainty and with it a faster frequency of changing contrasts to reoccur, such as the possibility of having summer in winter. This new climatic condition can become a motivator for other fundamental changes. As designers we are invited to come to grips with this encompassing change, take a stand and show our fellow citizens possible ways forward and the choices embedded in them. In peri-urban areas of sprawl the interaction between the urban and the rural are increasingly difficult to conceptualize. The Veneto is a case in point [Ferrario 2009]. In order to help systematize these interactions as a starting point for a typology of ‘rurban’ morphologies, we propose to think in terms of interactions of biomass, water, nutrient, energy and information flows. Four dimensions have been identified that characterize these interactions: their spatial footprint (ranging from ‘small’ to ‘big’), their geographic enmeshment (from ‘local’ to ‘global’), whether the logic for their interaction is ‘spatial’ 287 ON CC DES IG N

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collage: ‘Il Tempesta’ by Giorgione and ‘pool-2’ by d.hockney

or specifically focused on ‘closing loops’ (so as to avoid exchange of matter and energy with the environment), whether the approach to their integration is ‘technological’ or ‘discursive’. These dimensions allow us to distinguish in a fine-grained way between different manifestations of urban or peri-urban agriculture. For example, a ‘vertical greenhouse’ is a manifestation of a technological rationale that is focused on closing energy and material loops. Its footprint as a building is small, but it likely stands at the confluence of global supply networks of technology. Similarly it may produce for regional or global markets. On the other hand, an urban area devoted to allotment gardens has a larger spatial footprint, does not reach beyond local networks of supply and demand, exhibits a spatial logic and rests on a discursive approach to the extent that is a vehicle for community building. This framework is tentatively proposed as the onset towards a comprehensive typology of contemporary and future urban-rural interactions. Since the 1950’s Iranians are being introduced to tap water infrastructure. This technological change with other patterns of modernization that were imposed to the territory and culture has drastically changed the patterns of water consumption. A sudden break has happened between the sustainable old consumption regime and the new modern one. In recent years, people of Iran are being told in TV advertisements again and again not to waste the precious water. This could be the case for many developing countries. Modernity and technicity have increasingly become capillary. Traces of daily life are increasingly registered: everything we buy, everywhere we go, websites that we visit, whom we call, TV that we watch and et cetera is being recorded in detail and therefore can be monitored. Technologies enable control, and we choose or allow this control. References - Cork S.J., Proctor W., 2005, “Implementing a Process for Integration Research: Ecosystem Services Project”, Journal of Research Practice, Volume 1, Issue 2, Article M6 - Ferrario V., 2009, Agropolitana. Dispersed City and Agricultural Spaces in Veneto Region, The 4th International Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IfoU), Amsterdam/Delft - Grant J., 2010, Co-Opportunity, Wiley, Chichester - Hoebeke L., 2004, Making Work Systems Better, Wiley, Chichester - Indovina F., 1990, La città diffusa, Daest, Venezia. - Lazarus R.J., 2008, “Super Wicked Problems and Climate Change: Restraining the Present to Liberate the Future”, Cornell Law Review, 94, 1153 - MILLENNIUM ECOSYSTEM ASSESSMENT, 2005, Island Press, Washington DC. - Rittel H. W. J., Webber M., 1973, Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning, 4 POL’Y SCI. 155, 160–69 - Rotmans J., Kemp R., van Asselt M., 2001, “More Evolution than Revolution, Transition Management”, Public Policy, Foresight, vol. 3, nr .1


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Lifelong Learning Programme Questa pubblicazione è stata realizzata con il contributo della Commissione Europea. Gli autori sono i soli responsabili di questa pubblicazione e la Commissione declina ogni responsabilità sull’uso che potrà essere fatto delle informazioni in essa contenute This publication has been created with the contribution of the European Commission This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

European postgraduate Masters in Urbanism UPC Barcelona, TU Delft, KU Leuven and Universitá IUAV di Venezia

Università Iuav di Venezia

S C U O LA DI DOTTORATO dottorato in urbanistica Palazzo Badoer San Polo 2468 30125 Venezia, Italy

pubblicato da / published by: © June 2010 Università Iuav di Venezia Via Tolentini, S. Croce 191 30135 Venezia, Italy

ISBN 978-88-87697-43-8

S C U O L A DI DOTTORA TO dottorato in urbanistica Palazzo Badoer San Polo 2468 30125 Venezia, Italy

pubblicato da / published by: © June 2010 Università Iuav di Venezia Via Tolentini, S. Croce 191 30135 Venezia, Italy

ISBN 978-88-87697-43-8

Extreme City. Climate change and the transformation of the waterscape  

Lorenzo Fabian, Paola Viganò eds. published by © June 2010 Università Iuav di Venezia Via Tolentini, S. Croce 191 30135 Venezia, Italy www.i...

Extreme City. Climate change and the transformation of the waterscape  

Lorenzo Fabian, Paola Viganò eds. published by © June 2010 Università Iuav di Venezia Via Tolentini, S. Croce 191 30135 Venezia, Italy www.i...