We have a perfect storm upon us. We continue to urbanize our natural landscape at a rapid rate. This dramatic change from natural to urban results in the loss of natural landscape area and increased impervious surfaces that cannot absorb storm events. That, in turn, contributes to an increased urban heat island and less protection against storm surge and flooding. Much of our existing “gray” storm drainage infrastructure built during the last century is already breaking down and/or is undersized to handle the frequency and intensity of even “normal” storm events. Add to the equation that the world is rapidly feeling the effects of extreme weather events as a result of climate change, and we have a situation of dire urgency to respond with green infrastructure awareness, research, design preparedness, and disaster response.
Landscape change, a term developed by Kevin Robert Perry, studies the purposeful and rapid alteration of the natural landscape when developing cities and towns resulting in loss of landscape cover, increased impervious area, and eventual impairment of natural hydrological systems. While climate change is still, amazingly, being debated at multiple levels, the effects of landscape change are quite tangible, measurable, recent, and have shown to have significant negative social, economic, and environmental consequences.
The 2019 IPBES Assessment Summary for Policymakers report states "The rate of global change in nature during the last 50 years is unprecedented", and "The goals for conserving and sustainably using nature cannot be met by current trajectories." This is a sobering look into the future and a call to action for the design community.
Urban Rain Design is committed to work with dedicated project partners to study and develop innovative green infrastructure design solutions to combat the effects of both landscape change and climate change.