Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, developed an efficient water management system for favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Rainwater is collected, and wetlands and septic tanks for filtration are introduced. A key part of the comprehensive concept is public participation in the development process. “By making water treatment local and visible, the proposed scheme creates an active relationship between water management and the community,” stated the jury.Read more » más información (Spanish) »
This project localizes water treatment, cleaning wastewater where it is produced. Rainwater harvesting, septic tanks, and wetlands are introduced in informal settlements to manage the wastewater now flowing through the neighborhood as open sewage. The improvement in public health also reduces CO2 output and stabilizes the ground, helping to prevent landslides. Implementation is envisioned as a fractal approach, from the grouping of several residences, to schools, to whole neighborhoods.Read more » más información (Spanish) »
Closing the loop: turning linear flows into cycles
As all resources on the planet are finite, real sustainability can only be achieved through restoring the cyclical processes of nature. Água Carioca focuses on the resource water: local streams, rainwater and waste water. It closes the loop at the local scale, seeing waste water as a resource and leveraging natural processes to meet local needs. It uses constructed wetlands as an effective and proven treatment to clean waste water. Natural processes remove pollutants in a subsurface flow system with no standing water bodies. This guarantees little chance of human contact with waste water and no breeding places for mosquitoes. There is no need for large scale infrastructural work such as lengthy and costly sewers, no transportation of dirty water and 50% less transportation of clean water.
Making processes visible, beautiful and enjoyable
People generally find it hard to relate to the term sustainability as it is something very abstract. Sewage in particular is perceived as dirty and unworthy of design, although it is precisely this stigma that prevents innovation in this field and has led to the current situation. Água Carioca challenges the common idea that sewage needs to be hidden underground. Instead it makes processes of the urban metabolism visible, understandable and part of a system. In this way each project becomes an educational tool. It combines technical solutions with persuasive communication strategies that enhance acceptance and agreement among residents and other involved parties. Citizens engage during the process and become aware of the water cycle and water recycling.
A fractal structure, an incremental method of implementation
Change of large scale structures and engrained habits requires a development strategy that combines thinking on multiple scales, time horizons and that enables actors to implement and test small steps towards a credible long term vision. Água Carioca uses a fractal structure to approach the implementation of sustainable sanitation: from our body to a house, a community to the whole of Guanabara Bay. Due to their fractal nature, constructed wetlands are applicable in a variety of scales and spatial situations. They have the ability to grow and adapt to various contexts. Água Carioca uses this quality to lead a transition to a more sensible use and management of natural resources. The fractal structure is the model for implementation as well as for building trust to take next steps.See more
Sanitation system in informal communities: This project localizes water treatment, cleaning wastewater where it is …