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Living with water: Intertidal engine

The proposal for Living with Water for the city of Hull aims to make the site more resilient to flooding which means to put in place socio-ecological systems that are able to (1) absorb stresses coming from flooding and maintain function and (2) adapt, reorganize, and evolve into more desirable configurations that improve the sustainability of the system, leaving it better prepared for future flooding impacts. With its large complex of historic industrial docks next to the Humber estuary, the project site: Kingston upon Hull is also one of the large communities predicted to be largely sunk in every high tide in the next 80 years. This condition requires to radically reconsidering the future of Hull and the systems that will define the city; requiring ecology led urban design as a substitute of infrastructure led urban design. 

This new ecology is constituted by layered flood protection systems; some provide long term protection from rising sea levels and others short term systems that create social, environmental, and economic benefits for the people of Hull. 

The spaces are activated with water based on the principles of “natural flood management” which consist of using green spaces to hold then slowly release water following an extreme event. This new ecology is designed following four principles: 

Activate the intertidal habitat, Managed retreat or managed realignment is a coastal management strategy that allows the shoreline to move inland, instead of attempting to hold the line with structural engineering. Managed retreat (also managed realignment) allows an area that was not previously exposed to flooding by the sea to become flooded by removing coastal protection. This process is usually in low-lying estuarine areas and almost always involves flooding of land that has at some point in the past been claimed from the sea. 

Absorb by using green pockets and permeable surfaces. 

Store by allocating water ponds and reservoirs. 

Divert by establishing flood pathways. 

The proposal includes elevated waterfront parks and an elevated network system above the expected high-tide level in 2100. A system of floodable pathways improves the connection between the existing neighbourhood and the shoreline. Site amenities have the potential to enhance the public realm, social equity and economic opportunity. The soft dike cluster is an absorptive undulated terrain designed to allow tidal waves gently flood in and be partly absorbed, while nurturing the productive tidal ecosystem where recreational spaces are installed within. The terrain is consisted of five phases; elevated recreational plateaus (up to +7 m), green slope corridors, “sponge” greens (beside ponds), rain storage ponds (west side), and intertidal ponds (riverside). Varieties of UK’s large forest trees will also be planted along the site boundary and the ridge of the top recreational plateaus. While the mass of leaves will significantly reduce storm wind against the prospected extreme weather, the mass of underground root matrix reinforce the dike structure and drastically reduce erosion throughout the many centuries into the future. The whole terrain is covered with three types of ecosystem thrive in three conditions according to the frequency of exposure to tides; tidelands (mudflat and sandflat ecosystem), threshold between lands and tidelands (salt marsh ecosystem), and on the land (fresh lakes and forest ecosystem). 

  • [status] Ideas
  • [location] Europe, Hull
  • [program] Masterplanning
  • [date] 2019
  • [area] 5000m2
Living with water: Intertidal engine

The proposal for Living with Water for the city of Hull aims to make the site more resilient to flooding which means to put in place socio-ecological systems that are able to (1) absorb stresses coming from flooding and maintain function and (2) adapt, reorganize, and evolve into more desirable configurations that improve the sustainability of the system, leaving it better prepared for future flooding impacts. With its large complex of historic industrial docks next to the Humber estuary, the project site: Kingston upon Hull is also one of the large communities predicted to be largely sunk in every high tide in the next 80 years. This condition requires to radically reconsidering the future of Hull and the systems that will define the city; requiring ecology led urban design as a substitute of infrastructure led urban design. 

This new ecology is constituted by layered flood protection systems; some provide long term protection from rising sea levels and others short term systems that create social, environmental, and economic benefits for the people of Hull. 

The spaces are activated with water based on the principles of “natural flood management” which consist of using green spaces to hold then slowly release water following an extreme event. This new ecology is designed following four principles: 

Activate the intertidal habitat, Managed retreat or managed realignment is a coastal management strategy that allows the shoreline to move inland, instead of attempting to hold the line with structural engineering. Managed retreat (also managed realignment) allows an area that was not previously exposed to flooding by the sea to become flooded by removing coastal protection. This process is usually in low-lying estuarine areas and almost always involves flooding of land that has at some point in the past been claimed from the sea. 

Absorb by using green pockets and permeable surfaces. 

Store by allocating water ponds and reservoirs. 

Divert by establishing flood pathways. 

The proposal includes elevated waterfront parks and an elevated network system above the expected high-tide level in 2100. A system of floodable pathways improves the connection between the existing neighbourhood and the shoreline. Site amenities have the potential to enhance the public realm, social equity and economic opportunity. The soft dike cluster is an absorptive undulated terrain designed to allow tidal waves gently flood in and be partly absorbed, while nurturing the productive tidal ecosystem where recreational spaces are installed within. The terrain is consisted of five phases; elevated recreational plateaus (up to +7 m), green slope corridors, “sponge” greens (beside ponds), rain storage ponds (west side), and intertidal ponds (riverside). Varieties of UK’s large forest trees will also be planted along the site boundary and the ridge of the top recreational plateaus. While the mass of leaves will significantly reduce storm wind against the prospected extreme weather, the mass of underground root matrix reinforce the dike structure and drastically reduce erosion throughout the many centuries into the future. The whole terrain is covered with three types of ecosystem thrive in three conditions according to the frequency of exposure to tides; tidelands (mudflat and sandflat ecosystem), threshold between lands and tidelands (salt marsh ecosystem), and on the land (fresh lakes and forest ecosystem).