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Friday 10 Nov 2017Improving the Implementation of Sustainable Drainage Systems to Enhance Urban Settlements' Adaptive Capacities within the Veneto Region (North East Italy)

Dr Riccardo Pasi - IUAV University of Venice, Italy

Harrison 170 14:30-15:30

Abstract: Soaring temperatures and extreme weather events are having significant impacts on cities. The reduction of green spaces and urban water corridors are arguably among the main drivers, especially in highly urbanised low-lying areas such as the Venetian plain. Urbanisation processes alter the rainfall-runoff natural response, pushing conventional storm water systems beyond their drainage capacity. As a result, frequent and highly damaging urban floods occur. Since more than a decade, Veneto Region authority has tackled the issue, requiring the implementation of an ‘Hydraulic Compatibility Assessment’ (HCA) for any urban development. Through HCAs, measures for ensuring the ‘Hydraulic Invariance’ (HI) – namely the control of peak runoff rates at the greenfield conditions – have to be foreseen and sized. The burden of these measures falls on land developers, who are free to choose the hydraulic mitigation/compensatory measures. As a result, almost only underground concrete storage tanks and rainwater oversized sewers are envisaged, both being grey hard permanent and mono-functional infrastructures not delivering any additional benefit to the urban environment. Understanding potential effects of urban development on storm water drainage is a crucial issue to support city planners in the design of sustainable urbanisations and climate proof adaptation strategies. Urban planners and water engineers should work together in order to consider how urban water management measures can be better integrated with built-up and green areas, thus making cities more habitable and resilient. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are the key object of this multidisciplinary field. Given the poor implementation of SuDS within the Veneto Region, a lack of know-how and expertise among the local governance framework, the professionals and the construction sector can be inferred. The research project, involving both a local civil&structural design studio and some local building material manufacturers, aims to foster the spread of sustainable urban drainage systems within the Venetian professional practices and businesses, bringing to market climate relevant knowledge and services.

About the speaker: Riccardo has a background in urban and regional planning (BA at Polytechnic University of Turin, MA at IUAV University of Venice). Starting from his MA thesis in 2010 – throughout a postgraduate course, a research grant, some academic collaborations and a PhD – he has dealt with spatial planning, water management, flood risk and climate change adaptation. In particular, his PhD research was focused on flood risk and urban vulnerability assessment (also exploring the potential of GIS and remote sensing technologies), with the aim of encouraging prevention policies and approaches within municipal spatial planning practices. Riccardo is research fellow at IUAV University of Venice - Department of Design and Planning in Complex Environments - Planning Climate Change research group (scientific coordinator: prof. F. Musco) and a visiting research fellow at the University of Exeter.

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