In the regional LafargeHolcim Awards, four projects in each region receive an Acknowledgement prize. In North America, these prizes all went to authors in the United States. A team from the University of Arkansas Community Design Center in Fayetteville, AR, developed an urban watershed plan to improve an entire region in Conway, AR. LEVER Architecture andproject^ in Portland, OR, designed a prototype high-rise completely made of wood for their city. Johnston Marklee in Los Angeles plan to renovate and expand the UCLA Graduate Art Studios in Culver City, CA, exclusively using sustainable materials and methods; and Terreform ONE in Brooklyn, NY, developed a modular-design farm for edible insects in New York City.Read more »
This project reconstructs the wetland corridors lost to a previous generation of urban expansion. The new zones of green connectivity act as flood management and water filtration zones. The project crosses city boundaries, involving local and regional governments. To address different regulatory frameworks, it is structured as a toolkit of possible interventions. Each governing body can work within the kit of parts to implement the framework plan within existing policies. The water design aims to slow, soak, and spread urban runoff through landscape systems. It does so through retrofits to the existing urban fabric such as permeable paving and lakeshore stabilization.
The jury commended the project’s approach to a common problem: the loss of coastal permeability. Working here with a freshwater site, the project’s group of collaborators has developed a highly transferable approach. The project is seen more as common-sense additions to existing patterns of development. For example, its suburban areas remain suburban but do more to treat water and foster habitats than development as usual. As such, the project trades radicality for applicability, generating a toolkit of possibilities that could be implemented quickly with real, local impact.See more
Developing sponge city
More a rhizomatic plan than a master plan, soft infrastructural retrofits are value-added to conventional hard engineered infrastructure to remediate the city’s five polluted and flood-prone headwater streams. The Urban Watershed Framework Plan’s adaptive infrastructure components include green streets, water treatment art parks, urban eco-farms, conservation neighborhoods, parking gardens, lake aerators, vegetative harvesters, floating bio-mats, and a city greenway to improve riparian corridors. They combine the six ecologically-based water treatment technologies to create new rain terrains. Given funding challenges, political will, and complexity, the plan operates evolutionarily through modulated retrofits that are incremental, contextual, redundant, and successional, the vocabulary of resilience.
A transferable urban design vocabulary for resilience
The project’s design tools and planning vocabulary provide communities with a transferable resilience framework to restore urban watersheds though urban design. The challenges in implementing resilience or risk-based decision-making in urban systems include the lack of a common language of assessment, and design and management for the characteristics that makes those systems resilient. We need a language of resilience design and management that aligns with the language of city ordinances and policies. The plan employs the Ecosystem System Services Concept and the 17 ecological services provided by healthy ecosystems to improve the ability of communities to remedy stressors that adversely affect the resilience of urban systems.
Design that enables stakeholders to steward urban watersheds
The three-year collaborative planning process with the City was supported by resources and technical assistance from Metroplan (Central Arkansas’ regional planning authority) and Arkansas government agencies including its Game & Fish Commission, Natural Resources Commission, and Department of Environmental Quality. Additional funding came from the Arkansas General Assembly, Lake Conway Property Owners Association, and area institutions like the University of Central Arkansas that built demonstration projects. A critical capacity-building goal involved founding of the Lake Conway-Point Remove Watershed Alliance in 2015. LCPRWA is a multicounty stakeholder coalition with elected officers and bylaws to administer water management projects and the plan throughout the larger watershed.See more
Urban watershed framework plan, Conway, AR, USA - This project reconstructs the wetland corridors lost to a previous …