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Assessing the Application of Sponge City to Downtown Guelph

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Title: Assessing the Application of Sponge City to Downtown Guelph
Author: Zhang, Junyi
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Landscape Architecture
Advisor: Paine, Cecelia
Abstract: “Sponge City” is a concept already applied in many cities around the world. The aim of this new concept is to create a city that absorbs rainfall and releases rainwater when required – similar to a sponge. The goal of this research was to understand whether the concept can be effectively applied to medium-sized cities in Canada, with a particular focus on Guelph, Ontario. Design strategies were gleaned from precedent analyses of well-known stormwater management cases. Case studies were investigated, demonstrating three different applications of the Sponge City concept, including waterfront design, community planning, and urban rooftop garden design. Principles derived from the three case studies were applied through the conceptual design of part of a recent intensification proposal for Downtown Guelph, Ontario. Data, including site areas and annual precipitation, were collected through geographic information systems. A comparison of collected precipitation data and calculation of water absorption was used to verify the absorption ability of the proposed design. Results indicate the benefits and limitations of applying this concept. Redesign recommendations for Downtown Guelph are provided to assist landscape architects and urban planners interested in implementing the Sponge City stormwater management concept.
Date: 2017-05
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