Could “Sponge Cities” Be The Answer To Australia’s Flooding
For most Australians, “wet” is a word they’d use to describe their summer. With parts of the Northern Territory experiencing the ongoing impacts of devastating floods, and Far North Queensland is again bracing for heavy rainfall from the currently developing Tropical Cyclone Kirrily.
These weather events are nothing new – they follow a long list of devastating floods that have plagued the country over the last few years. But could a sponge city be the best way to tackle future flooding nationwide?
Today on The Briefing, Simon Beaton speaks with Swinburne Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Marcus White, to find out whether these design principles could be better utilised in Australia.
“We need to rethink the way we design urban and suburban areas to be more suited to the conditions – with less asphalt and concrete, more water retention areas including bio-retention swales, and more permeable ‘spongey’ surfaces. There is a movement across the world for these kinds of treatments; in Australia, we call it WSUC (water sensitive urban design), but in China, it has a more fun name – ‘sponge city’,” Marcus said.
Also known as water-sensitive urban design, these building principles involve using soft materials like plants or water catchment techniques instead of hard surfaces like concrete to absorb water rather than repel water. On this episode of The Briefing, Simon Beaton speaks with Swinburne Professor of Architecture and Urban Design Marcus White to find out whether these design principles could be better utilised in Australia.
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