Spatial analysis exploring the influence of stream daylighting in building resilient urban form: A study of Zürich, Switzerland’s ‘Bachkonzept’ for stream daylighting
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Cities face several risks that jeopardize their adaptability as the effects of climate change and urbanization on our ecosystems intensify. Recognizing the potentially disastrous outcomes of inaction, local governments and organizations are developing climate-adaptive strategies to preserve and restore our ecosystems sustainably. Stream daylighting, an example of Nature-based solutions (NbS), has the potential to provide long-term solutions to climate change while also providing numerous health, cultural, and recreational benefits to humans. Despite the numerous benefits of stream daylighting, limited research exists on how or if stream daylighting can boost urban form resilience. As a first step towards filling this knowledge gap, this study takes an experimental case study approach to analyze the impacts of stream daylighting on the urban form to enhance climate resilience in the City of Zürich following the implementation of ‘Bachkonzept’ or ‘stream concept’. As such, this study examines the urban form of three daylighted districts in Zürich using spatial statistical tools and readily available open data sources. The emphasis is on feature-based urban form attributes that drew empirical connections between Kevin Lynch’s ‘fit’ dimension of Good City Form and Ian McHarg’s concept of ‘ecological determinism’ or ‘fitting’ to judge the district’s climate performance. Urban form attributes such as compactness, population and employment density, diversity of land uses and lot sizes, and the spatial arrangement and distribution of urban open spaces are examined and analyzed. The empirical evidence from this research supports the theory that stream daylighting, when perceived as a city-wide policy, paves the way for a highly manipulable, resilient, and adaptable urban form. The findings from this research show that the urban form in the areas surrounding daylighted sections of the stream support moderate levels of density along with an appropriate mix of land uses and a good supply of urban open space. These conclusions strengthen the notion that stream daylighting, as a Nature-based solution, holds a lot of potential in enhancing the overall urban resilience in a city, in addition to bringing nature back into dense urban neighbourhoods.
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Harshitha Damodaran (2021). Spatial analysis exploring the influence of stream daylighting in building resilient urban form: A study of Zürich, Switzerland’s ‘Bachkonzept’ for stream daylighting. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17166