Posts Tagged ‘Drainage systems’

Marshalls and the Athletes Village


Kym Jones, MD of Applied Landscape Design, talks about the delivery of the Athletes Village public realm and her work with Marshalls on the project.

Marshalls on

Applied Landscape Design


Guest post: Floods crisis: Government indecision and delay “must stop now”


Alex Stephenson, Director of Hydro International UK’s Stormwater Divison, explains why the implementation of the Pitt Review needs an injection of urgency, and why that ought to draw upon engineered SuDS technologies.

Flood image

As Britain is gripped by a floods crisis, Government indecision and inertia is seriously delaying vital work to protect thousands of homes and properties in the UK.

Devastating flooding is causing millions of pounds worth of damage in scenes reminiscent of the 2007 floods that prompted a groundbreaking Government review by Sir Michael Pitt. Yet how much real progress has been made? (more…)

Designing swales


Swales are incorporated into sustainable drainage systems for small developments or in rural locations, to provide a limited amount of stormwater or run-off storage. They are typically grassed, or can be vegetated with reeds or other aquatic plants that will absorb or treat contaminated water before discharge to a watercourse.


Lake Superior, a resource from Duluth, Minnesota, offers a swales toolkit that covers this drainage feature in some detail. (more…)

Getting it right: water management and landscape design


Guest post: Claire Thirlwall is the director of landscape architecture practice Thirlwall Associates. She specialises in river restoration and water management, and also works on more traditional landscape architecture projects. Here, Claire outlines the pitfalls and opportunities presented by water in landscape design and construction schemes.

Water, and more precisely how you manage that water, can be make or break on a construction project. From the water falling on the roof of each building to flood water rising up through the drainage network, dealing with water within your site can be a real challenge.


SUDS resources and publications for designers


Designing sustainable drainage systems, whether urban or rural, requires a flexible approach. As with most construction projects, there is no formula. Rather, it is down to the skill and creativity of the designer to come up with a solution to each problem.

As landscape architect Sam Shaw of Ian White Associates advised me: “there is no one definite way to do a sustainable drainage system, as the design will depend on site location, the capacity of the scheme overall, ground conditions and other site-specific factors. There are a range of solutions, from fully urbanised below-ground storage to open, purely rural designs”.

Rice Park (oblique aerial)


In England and Wales, the requirement for sustainable drainage systems is now part of byelaws and other legislation – in particular, the Building Regulations Part H, which requires that where practical surface water drainage from any building development be drained, preferably to a soakaway or infiltration system. If this is not possible then the next preferred option is to drain to a watercourse, with connection to a sewer as the last choice.


Water in Chicago – 2106 – a sustainable future

UrbanLab - growing water in Chicago

UrbanLab - 'growing water' in Chicago

UrbanLab presents ‘growing water’, a sustainable vision of how Chicago could develop a more holistic relationship with water, which is what, UrbanLab argues, will become the world’s most precious resource within the next hundred years.

Can Chicago recycle and retain its water resources, instead of constantly depleting them?

ESI references:

Green streets


Landscape+Urbanism reports on the construction of green streets in Salem, Oregon.

– Narrower: reducing construction costs
– No kerbs: gravel and green verges increase infiltration
– Porous asphalt road surfaces
– Integrated stormwater management system

ESI references:

Natural models for flood defence



The Dirt looks at large-scale flood defence schemes, and some counter-intuitive designs to help with damage reduction.

In Houston, slow-flowing, meandering, natural bayous have been proposed as alternatives to direct concrete channels. They are expected to provide a more effective means of flood control, and have been accepted by both engineers and local neighbourhoods.

ESI references:

Defra’s Flood and Water Management Bill


The Government has published a draft of the ‘Flood and Water Management Bill’ for consultation.

– Update flood and coastal erosion risk management
– Update reservoir safety legislation
– Need to adapt to climate change
– Integrate legal obligations arising from the EU Floods Directive
– Enhance some of Ofwat’s powers

ESI references:

Green roofs and SUDS


Fred Sonnenwald’s paper on the use of green roofs as part of sustainable urban drainage schemes (SUDS). Part of the 2009 unsheffield conference on ‘future users of cool technology’.

Includes real-time display of run-off from the University’s test site.

ESI references: