New guidebook highlights resilient urban design

How should cities be built to become resilient against heavy-handed natural disasters? A new online tool shows it’s all about working with nature, not against it.

A new guidebook details how cities can strengthen their resilience through landscape planning and design.

The online guide, published by the American Society of Landscape Architects, offers tips for mitigating the impacts of drought, fire and other natural disasters. Each category features dozens of examples of relevant projects and resources.

The guide urges city planners and developers to work with nature — rather than against it — to strengthen resilience. That means not building in areas prone to hazards such as floods and landslides. It also means minimising sprawl, which can leave cities more vulnerable to manmade and natural shocks, the guide says.

Jared Green notes here on the ASLA’s The Dirt blog that the goal of resilient design “is to retrofit communities to recover more quickly from extreme events.” The guide recommends multi-layered, scalable defenses over “heavy-handed infrastructure projects.” That’s because multi-faceted systems feature backups that remain functional even if some defenses are compromised.

By comparison, if a single flood wall is breached, an entire neighbourhood or city will be under water.

Click here for the entire guide. 

This story was published with permission from Citiscope, a nonprofit news outlet that covers innovations in cities around the world. More at

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