Christina hansen – synergies

An investigation of innovative and widely applicable urban and architectural design propositions in response to environmental challenges in coastal cities.

SYNERGIES is a response to the global quest for adequate urban living solutions under current threats and challenges through flooding caused by climate change. Rising seawater levels and severe storm water occurrences cause infrastructure failures, social and economic disruptions, environmental disturbances and create safety and health risks. Entire coastal regions are endangered, and potable water for their inhabitants are at risk.

SYNERGIES is a studio to investigate of how societies deal with this current threat and how planners and architects, together with engineers, scientists and politicians develop different measures of mitigating this situation.

The Great Lakes Region faces similar conditions and especially Detroit is in need of adequate storm water and planning solutions. Through thorough understanding of the subject and conditions, students will propose a thesis utilizing water management as a key tool for the creation of innovative strategies and new exploratory urbanism for Detroit.

SYNERGIES is promoting innovation in strategic planning, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture and will ultimately seek a discourse with local and regional entities in discussions and presentations.

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Student Work

Zhong Li – “Green Synergies”

The neighborhood of Delray is a former incorporated village located in the southwest of Detroit. Developed into a highly industrialized neighborhood, it became a representative victim of air pollution and storm water management issues, which lead ultemately to the decay of the neighborhood. Starting by investigating the challenges and opportunities of Delray, this project aims to reactivate the neighborhood by alleviating those environmental challenges. The introduction of various green buffer systems of different scales and qualities resulted in an innovative zoning scheme of interactions and performances.

Yining Yuan – “Sponge City Detroit”

Climate change causes increasing and intenser precipitation every year. The outdated and overburdened combined sewer system results in frequent, uncontrolled and unfiltered outfalls. This serious pollution resembles a threat to Detroiter’s health and properties. Sponge City Detroit aims to provide an alternative system of blue infrastructures as an accessible and affordable solution for this issue. The principles of the interventions are to propose not only a natural storm-water treatment but also a sustainable system that roots in the community. A manual of sponges for examplary sites in the Midtown area are developed through playful, interactive pilot projects.

Rachel Williams + Amelia Linde – “A Symbiotic Landscape: Watershed + Community”

The aspiration is to prevent wastewater outfall into the Detroit River and simultaneously create interactive community spaces through the restoration of Detoit’s natural hydrology. Like a watershed, the intervention is scalar: Layers of landscape elements such as water retention ponds and wetlands restore the flow and filtration of water, underground rivers and creeks are daylighted to capture and transport the water to the Detroit and Rouge Rivers. Additionaly pathways, functional art installations, and communal programs aim to strengthen neighborhood activities, accessibility, and economic growth.

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