Urban Fallow

URBAN FALLOW

There is a growing sensibility that what is needed are more open, evolutionary and adaptive approaches to manage human activities and to design in conjunction with the environment that surround us. Ecology is about this. Architecture and urban development are part of the natural ecosystem. Although we should not make any difference between natural and artificial we need to synchronize the human actions with the environment that sustain us. The city of Brno has now the opportunity to formulate a new relationship between the natural and the urban ecosystems.

The waterscape:.
Among the many tracks of the area, there is no doubt that the traces of water will condition its future urban development. But not only from the point of view of protection against floods but as an opportunity to design a new urban waterscape. Although the presence of water has been diluted over the centuries it continues to be present.   During floods the water becomes more visible but the rest of the time remains hidden.
We propose a new relationship between city of Brno and water. On the one hand, it will recover water as an urban structure and on the other hand it will promote a natural ecosystem. This new relationship with water is a shift from the flood control to the flood management. There is no doubt that it is necessary the flood control, but not exclusively with protective elements or barriers. We should design a more efficient management of all the water cycle: rain water, the storm water, the swallow groundwater, the deep groundwater, the river, the sewage water and the polluted water.
So this new urban model is based on the water potential to create a natural ecosystem integrated with future urban ecosystem. Around the water the vegetation will grow together with a vibrant urban life. People and vegetation are two inseparable parts of the same ecosystem.

From flood control to flood management.
We propose to stop channelizing the Svratka river. Not only is this process ecologically destructive to the fragile edge conditions of the riparian areas, but it is also culturally and historically against the tradition of the city of Brno.
The new relation with water begins with making more visible the flood plain and the shallow groundwater. Though digging cavities of various depth a system of ponds will be created. The ponds adjust homogeneously the water level through the storage of storm water.

The waterscape ecosystem.
The wetlands and the flood plains not only buffer the floods but also help to depurate water using plant systems to treat polluted soil. Around water it will grow natural and urban life. Adaptive vegetation communities together with adaptive citizen communities will create a natural-urban ecosystem.

Emergence of urban life: the natural-urban ecosystem.
Architecture and life will "grow" depending upon future requirements. The pond typology and the future architectural typology will adapt to the waterscape. The ponds resilience allows its adaptation to the complex environment. The ponds deform topologically depending on the contacts with the limits and borders.

Evolutionary and participatory system.
The ponds are prospective systems. They represent the beginning of a long and slow process. The ponds are potential places to bring out the urban life. Versus the rapid growth and speculative urban development, city identity can only be created with citizen participation and slowly over time. The citizens cannot be ignore anymore and they should become a really important part of the city evolution and transformation.

Urban management.
We propose a participatory model and an evolutionary urban management that can involve all the city actors: citizens, politicians, multidisciplinary team of expers (architects, landscape architects, urban planners, hydrologists, ecologists, mobility engineer...), political scientists, developers...

Information and future development.
All open and evolutionary systems must be supported by a management and information model that could ensure its objectives. From this point of view we have established some structural stability in the urban development process. Growth must be open and flexible but never chaotic. For this reason we need to define an information system to contol de future evolution and transformation.

Each one of the phases should ensure the appropiate density to support the urban structure and city life. We consider that all the stages could become a coherence urban structure.
Urban prototypes.

The urban prototypes are adaptive typologies depending on the location in the waterscape. There are some generic prototypes that can be hybridized between them to enhance intensity and variaty of the urban life. Each one of the prototypes has an approximate percentage of programs and hybridization.
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