Wat is community management eigenlijk? en hoe zorg je voor verbinding onder je leden op een campus? Wat zijn de succesfactoren en waar te starten? Aan de hand van een aantal cases en kennis uit het Campus Amsterdam netwerk gaan we dieper in gesprek over dit hot topic. Bij niemand minder dan H20 e-sports.
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This is the 12th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. This post deals with the question of how nature itself can help to deal with excessive rainfall and subsequently flooding of brooks and rivers, although these disasters are partially human-made.
Until now, flooding has mainly been combated with technical measures such as the construction of dykes and dams. There are many disadvantages associated with this approach and its effectiveness decreases. Nature-inclusive measures, on the other hand, are on the rise. The Netherlands is at the forefront of creating space for rivers to flood, where this is possible without too many problems.
An important principle is to retain water before it ends up in rivers, canals, and sewers. The so-called sponge city approach can be incorporated into the fabric of new neighbourhoods and it creates sustainable, attractive places too. A combination of small and large parks, green roofs, wadis, but also private gardens will increase the water storage capacity and prevents the sewer system from becoming overloaded and flooding streets and houses. Steps are being taken in many places in the world; [China is leading the way](https://www\.dropbox\.com/s/47zxvl3kgbeeasa/Tale of two cities.pdf?dl=0) (photo top right). However, the intensity of the precipitation is increasing. In 2023, 75 cm of rain fell in Beijing in a few days. Under such conditions, local measures fall short. Instead, nature-inclusive measures must be applied throughout the river basin.
In new housing estates, water basins are constructed to collect a lot of water. Their stepped slopes make them pleasant places to stay in times of normal water level. The pictures on the left are from Freiburg (above) and Stockholm (below). The top center photo shows the construction of a retention basin in Lois Angeles.
Wadis are artificial small-scale streams in a green bed with a high water-absorbing capacity. In the event of heavy rainfall, they collect, retain and discharge considerably more water than the sewer system (bottom center photo). Green strips, for example between sidewalks, cycle paths and roads also serve this purpose (photo bottom right: climate-adaptive streets in Arnhem).
Green roofs, roof gardens and soils
Green roofs look good, they absorb a lot of CO2 and retain water. The stone-covered urban environment is reducing the water-retaining capacity of the soil. Sufficiently large interspaces between paving stones, filled with crushed stone, ensure better permeability of streets and sidewalks. The same applies to half-open paving stones in parking lots.
Refrain from building in flood-prone areas
Up to the present day, flood-prone parts of cities are used for various purposes, often because the risk is underestimated or the pressure on space is very great. London's Housing and Climate Crises are on a Collision Course is the eloquent title of an article about the rapidly growing risk of flooding in London.
Hackney Wick is one of 32 growth centers set to help alleviate London's chronic housing shortage, which has already been repeatedly flooded by heavy rainfall. However, the construction of new homes continues. Measures to limit the flood damage at ground floor level include tiled walls and floors, water-inhibiting steel exterior doors, aluminum interior doors, kitchen appliances at chest height, closable sewers, and power supply at roof-level. Instead, floating neighbourhoods should be considered.
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This is the 11th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. In this post, I wonder whether nature itself can tackle the environmental problems that humans have caused.
According to environmental scientists, ecosystems are providers of services. They are divided into production services (such as clean drinking water, wood, and biomass), regulating services (such as pollination, soil fertility, water storage, cooling, and stress reduction) and cultural services (such as recreation, and natural beauty). In case of nature-inclusive solutions ecosystems are co-managed to restore the quality of life on the earth in the short term and to maintain it in the long term, insofar as that is still possible.
The green-blue infrastructure
The meaning of urban green can best be seen in conjunction with that of water, hence the term green-blue infrastructure. Its importance is at least fourfold: (1) it is the source of all life, (2) it contributes substantially to the capture and storage of CO2, (3) 'green' has a positive impact on well-being and health; (4) it improves water management. This post is mainly about the third aspect. The fourth will be discussed in the next post. 'Green' has many forms, from sidewalk gardens to trees in the street or vegetated facades to small and large parks (see collage above).
Improving air quality
Trees and plants help to filter the water itself. They have a significant role to play in managing water and air pollution. Conifers capture particulate matter. However, the extent to which this occurs is less than is necessary to have a significant impact on health. Particulate matter contributes to a wide range of ailments. Like infections of the respiratory system and cardiovascular disease, but also cancer and possibly diabetes.
Countering heat stress
Heat stress arises because of high temperature and humidity. The wind speed and the radiation temperature also play a role. When the crowns of trees cover 20% of the surface of an area, the air temperature decreases by 0.3oC during the day. However, this relatively small decrease already leads to a 10% reduction in deaths. Often 40% crown area over a larger area is considered as an optimum.
Reduce mental stress and improve mood
According to Arbo Nederland, 21% of the number of absenteeism days is stress-related, which means approximately a €3 billion damage. A short-term effect of contact with nature on stress, concentration and internal tranquility has been conclusively demonstrated. The impact of distributing greenery within the residential environment is larger than a concentrated facility, such as a park, has.
Strengthening immune function via microbiome
The total amount of greenery in and around the house influences the nature and quantity of the bacteria present. This green would have a positive effect on the intestinal flora of those who are in its vicinity and therefore also on their immune function. The empirical support for this mechanism is still rather limited.
Stimulate physical activity
The impact of physical activity on health has been widely demonstrated. The Health Council therefore advises adults to exercise at least 2½ hours a week. The presence of a green area of at least ¼ hectare at 300 meters from the home is resulting more physical activity of adults in such areas, but not to more activity as a whole.
Promoting social contact
Well-designed green areas near the living environment invite social contacts. For instance, placement of benches, overview of the surroundings and absence of traffic noise. The state of maintenance are important: people tend to avoid neglected and polluted areas of public space, no matter how green.
Vegetation dampens noise to some extent, but it is more important that residents of houses with a green environment experience noise as less of a nuisance. It is assumed that this is due to a mechanism already discussed, namely the improvement of stress resistance because of the greenery present.
For years buildings made people sic. A growing number of architects want to enhance the effect of 'green' on human health by integrating it into the design of houses and buildings and the materials used. This is the case if it is ensured that trees and plants can be observed permanently. But also, analogies with natural forms in the design of a building
The 'Zandkasteel', the former headquarters of the Nederlandse Middenstandsbank in Amsterdam, designed by the architects Ton Alberts and Max van Huut, is organically designed both inside and outside, inspired by the anthroposophical ideas of Rudolf Steiner. The (internal) water features are storage for rainwater and the climate control is completely natural. The building has been repurposed for apartments, offices and restaurants.
Worldwide, there is a direct correlation between the amount of greenery in a neighborhood and the income of its residents. Conversely, we see that poorer neighborhoods where new green elements are added fall victim to green gentrification over time and that wealthier housing seekers displace the original residents.
The challenge facing city councils is to develop green and fair districts where gentrification is halted and where poorer residents can stay. Greening in poor communities must therefore be accompanied by measures that respect the residential rights and aim at improving the socio-economic position of the residents.
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This is the 9th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Casualties in traffic are main threats to the quality of the living environment. ‘Vision zero’ might change this.
Any human activity that annually causes 1.35 million deaths worldwide, more than 20 million serious injuries, damage of $1,600 billion and is a major cause of global warming would be banned immediately. Except for the use of the car. This post describes how changes in road design will improve safety.
The more public transport, the safer the traffic
Researchers from various universities in the US, Australia and Europe have studied the relationship between road pattern, other infrastructure features and road safety or its lack. They compared the road pattern in nearly 1,700 cities around the world with data on the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Lead researcher Jason Thompsonconcluded: <em>It is quite clear that places with more public transport, especially rail, have fewer accidents</em>. Therefore, on roads too public transport must prioritized.
The growing risk of pedestrians and cyclists
Most accidents occur in developing and emerging countries. Road deaths in developed countries are declining. In the US from 55,000 in 1970 to 40,000 in 2017. The main reason is that cars always better protect their passengers. This decrease in fatalities does not apply to collisions between cars and pedestrians and cyclists, many of which are children. Their numbers are increasing significantly, in the US more than in any other developed country. In this country, the number of bicycle lanes has increased, but adjustments to the layout of the rest of the roads and to the speed of motorized traffic have lagged, exposing cyclists to the proximity of speeding or parking cars. SUVs appear to be 'killers'and their number is growing rapidly.
Safe cycling routes
In many American cities, paint is the primary material for the construction of bike lanes. Due to the proximity of car traffic, this type of cycle routes contributes to the increasing number of road deaths rather than increasing safety. The Canadian city of Vancouver, which doubled the number of bicycle lanes in five years to 11.9% of all downtown streets, has the ambition to upgrade 100% of its cycling infrastructure to an AAA level, which means safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities. Cycle paths must technically safe: at least 3 meters wide for two-way traffic; separated from other traffic, which would otherwise have to reduce speed to less than 30 km/h). In addition, users also need to feel safe.
Vision Zero Cities such as Oslo and Helsinki are committed to reducing road fatalities to zero over the next ten years. They are successful already now: There were no fatalities in either city in 2019. These and other cities use the Vision Zero Street Design Standard, a guide to planning, designing, and building streets that save lives.
Accidents are often the result of fast driving but are facilized by roads that allow and encourage fast driving. Therefore, a Vision Zero design meets three conditions:
• Discouraging speed through design.
• Stimulating walking, cycling and use of public transport.
• Ensure accessibility for all, regardless of age and physical ability (AAA).
The image above shows a street that meets these requirements. Here is an explanation of the numbers: (1) accessible sidewalks, (2) opportunity to rest, (3) protected cycle routes, (4) single lane roads, (5) lanes between road halves, (6) wide sidewalks, (7) public transport facilities, (8) protected pedestrian crossings, (9) loading and unloading bays, (10) adaptive traffic lights.
Strict rules regarding speed limits require compliance and law enforcement and neither are obvious. The Netherlands is a forerunner with respect to the infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians, but with respect to enforcement the country is negligent: on average, a driver of a passenger car is fined once every 20,000 kilometers for a speeding offense (2017 data). In addition, drivers use apps that warn of approaching speed traps. Given the risks of speeding and the frequency with which it happens, this remissing law enforcement approach is unacceptable.
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