Mainstreaming Water Retention within Right-of-Ways with Ecosystem Services: Meandering Blue Parkways as Building Blocks of Amphibious Transportation System

Dr. Hope Hui Rising presented “Mainstreaming water retention within right-of-ways with ecosystem services: Meandering blue parkways as building blocks of amphibious transportation system.” for the urban design track at the 2017 Council for Educators in Landscape Architecture Conference.

ABSTRACT
Many cities have sought to retain water through place-making in order to better adapt
to the impacts of climate change. However, such water-coherent urbanism has largely been
proposed for parcels containing developments or public spaces rather than right-of-ways. Water
retention within right-of-ways lends itself to an interconnected system and widespread
applications because it typically does not directly involve private properties. However, introducing
water into right-of-ways often encounters public resistance due to people’s dependence on traffic
lanes and parking.

Ecosystem services have been found to contribute to human wellbeing, a correlate of place
attachment. This study intended to identify significant relationships between ecosystem services
and the two interdependent facets of water-based place attachment, water-based place identity
and water-based place dependence. When engendered from water-based place identity,
water-based place attachment had a significant positive influence on people’s openness towards a
more water-coherent approach to urban design.

The author sampled 60 participants from eight water cities. Waterscape mappability and
identifiability were obtained from cognitive mapping and photovoice as indicators for water-based
place identity. Water-based place dependence was derived from interview results on waterscapes’
capacities to help reduce stress and to facilitate self-orientation. Water-based place attachment
was measured by the extent to which participants would miss waterscapes if they were to leave
the city tomorrow. Structured interview questions were created based on the results of expert
interviews for identifying 22 design parameters as ecosystem services that could potentially be
provided by waterways.

Stepwise regressions were conducted to identify design parameters that significantly improved
the model fit. For water-based place identity, the extent to which a waterway meanders was the
only significant independent variable. The abilities of a waterway to support floating traffic lanes
and to infiltrate stormwater were the only significant independent variables for water-based place
dependence. The findings suggest that the aesthetics of meandering waterways is instrumental
for introducing water-coherent urbanism for public acceptance. However, to contribute to
water-based place dependence, such meandering waterways also need to accommodate floating
traffic lanes and continuous waterfront parkland to facilitate stormwater infiltration. The advent of
mass-produced amphibious vehicles may eliminate the need for straight floating traffic lanes.
When meandering amphibious blue parkways are interconnected into a network, such
systems-based approach to water retention can provide a more diverse range of ecosystem
services than parcel-based water retention.

KEYWORDS
Controlled Flooding; Ecosystem Services; Meandering; Blue Parkway; Amphibious
Transportation; Place Attachment.

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