Urban Water: Seeking Cultural, Economic, and Environmental Connections
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Water is an essential element for human life, not only is it a biological requirement of the human body, it is also an inherent part of our everyday lives. It is so common in everyday life that it is being overused. Due to existing urban development and stormwater management practices, fresh water is being polluted and is unable to recharge underground aquifers. If this approach to design continues, there will soon be situations of undrinkable water and dried up aquifers within the urban city. Currently “70 percent of water pollution in our country comes from non-point sources such as urban runoff (USEPA 2005a)” (Echols & Pennypacker, 2008). This research seeks to address this problem through a design that focuses on the stormwater runoff in an urban area. The design addresses the challenge of creating a sustainable design for urban stormwater that incorporates the three pillars of sustainability: economy, environment, and society. These three pillars create an opportunity to generate a unique design for a specific site. They are the touchstones; the guide that assists through the process of design: addressing any environmental issues the site may have, looking for the best economical solutions for the site, and creating a strong cultural connection between the site and the people who will use it. Positioning these three pillars as the touchstones in the design will enable other design elements to be revealed through the function, and form of the design, elements such as aesthetically pleasing views, recreational activities, and education for the people who interact with the design. Through this lens an advantageous design will be shaped and transform current urban stormwater practices into a functional urban water management site, which educates the public on the ecology of water while beautifying the environment around them.