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  • Floodscape urbanism: architectural design strategies for Manila at risk

Zaide, Paolo, 2018, Thesis, Floodscape urbanism: architectural design strategies for Manila at risk PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This thesis develops design-led flood adaptation strategies for the city of Manila. With much
ground already covered on cross-disciplinary approaches in flood risk management, this thesis
considers the discussion of flood adaptation through the lens of ecological urbanism and
architectural design. The issue is the fluid edge between city and water and is captured in the
term ‘floodscape’, to give definition to a cityscape affected by fluctuating water levels. The thesis
argues for the importance of urban design as the key driver to integrate the environmental and
social concerns of the city in a holistic and critical way. Floodscape Urbanism therefore can be
understood as a potential bridge between urbanism and hydrological cycles, with design providing
a crucial framework within which to think about and act on environmental, technical, economic
and socio-cultural challenges. Manila, as an extreme case of a flood-prone city, presents the
challenge of having to balance vital flood management with creating places suitable for urban life
that many cities in the global south are facing or will face.
The focus of the design research is the exploration of how holistic flood adaptation approaches
can be applied and translated to the particular context of Manila, both as a strategic design
process on a master plan level and as architectural design propositions at a neighbourhood scale.
The written thesis establishes the theoretical framework for design-led flood adaptation and in
the main chapters reflects on design from the scale of the city to the neighbourhood, and on the
possibilities and limitations of architectural intervention. If architecture is to engage with the
dilemma of cities at flood risk, the starting point is for architects to view flood adaptation not as a
solution, but as an essential restructuring of assumptions in the way we live in flood zones, and
the conditions that are necessary to support that life.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Architecture > K400 Planning (Urban
School or Centre: School of Architecture
Funders: AHRC
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2018 13:52
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2018 13:52
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3457

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