Urban Flooding : surface conversion sites

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This design research uncovers the relationship between surface and subsurface conditions to select a series of site locations to alleviate urban flooding. On the left is a dot density map of high impervious conditions overlying permeable soils. The image on the right incorporates flooding to identify a series of locations for design action.

The project aims to address an under-explored area of rainwater design, organizing a series of urban surface conversions to promote infiltration of rainwater into the geologic substrata of the Chicago coastal realm. Such a project would be the first, large scale landscape project that infiltrates water where it falls, diverts water from the over-taxed combined sanitary-sewer system, and promotes groundwater recharge and restored water flow to Lake Michigan. 

The target soil areas are the locations of the former dune ridges of the Chicago lakeshore that were paved over during urbanization. This project would tap into those soils as an ecological infrastructure of the city, and celebrate Chicago's natural heritage which is currently invisible to the people of Chicago.