Rainwise – Changing Landscapes and Behaviours

Rainwise – Northumbrian Water’s surface water management programme was established to address the goal of reducing the risk of future flooding to 7,200 properties across the North East of England by the end of 2020. It is a proactive approach to flooding – working in collaboration with stakeholders and local communities.

Following the flooding event in June 2012, when Tyneside received over 3-inches of rain in just over an hour, a pilot ‘Tyneside Sustainable Sewerage Study’ was set up – a national first where Northumbrian Water joined forces with other risk management authorities to share information, find benefits and identify projects to construct together to deal with catchment wide flooding mechanisms.

The principles of partnership working were expanded across the North East to create the Northumbria Integrated Drainage Partnership (NIDP). This provides a framework for multiple agencies to look for the best and most sustainable solutions to flooding and allows costs & benefits to be better understood and prioritized on a like-for-like basis.

The partnership projects share common characteristics and themes. They addressed catchment wide flooding and flow management, valuing SuDS and natural systems. All projects include scenarios which no single agency could have addressed alone or without detrimental effects to others. They have all been delivered with capital efficiency to the parties, primarily through jointly sourcing engineering consultants and contractors.

A key message of Rainwise is to raise awareness of SuDS and encourage people to make changes around their home that reduce the amount of water entering the sewer. By taking action communities can collectively affect their own resilience to future flooding.  Local communities are involved in the planning stages of projects allowing better  information and better solutions, providing context sensitive designs which are right for the business and the community.


Loss of parks & green spaces disproportionately impacts disadvantaged and underrepresented communities

A new research report released by Fields in Trust – an independent charity with over 90 years’ experience protecting parks and green spaces – finds that parks and green spaces save the NHS at least £111 million a year in prevented GP visits. The report, ‘Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces’  forms part of a new strategic approach by the Trust to change perceptions by establishing a baseline for the value that parks and green spaces contribute to health and wellbeing.


Compiled using HM Treasury approved research methodology, ‘Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces’ demonstrates National Health Service savings of at least £111 million per year – a figure based solely on prevented GP visits and not including savings from non-referrals for treatment or prescriptions.

Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said: “This report clearly demonstrates the economic and wellbeing benefits that parks and green spaces bring to people across the UK. At a time when parks and green spaces are under threat this is valuable evidence that the loss of green space is hugely damaging to people’s welfare.”

The Fields in Trust report calculates that parks provide a total economic value to each person in the UK of just over £30 per year and that the value of parks and green spaces is higher for individuals from lower socio-economic groups and also from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. This means that any loss of parks and green spaces will disproportionately impact disadvantaged and underrepresented communities.

The Fields in Trust Strategy Green Spaces for Good is available to download

The ‘Fair Society Healthy Lives’ (The Marmot Review) 2010, recommended that improving the availability of good quality green spaces across the social gradient would help reduce health inequalities.


The 2010 report concluded that reducing health inequalities would require action on six policy objectives including  creating and develop healthy and sustainable places
and communities. The report recommended prioritising policies and interventions that reduce both health inequalities such as:

  • Improving the availability of good quality open and green spaces across the social
  • Improving the food environment in local areas across the social gradient


Managing flood risk: new model formats inform future flood-risk management

Source: Schneeberger, K., Huttenlau, M., Winter, B. et al. (2017). A probabilistic framework for risk analysis of widespread flood events: a proof-of-concept study. Risk Analysis. DOI: 10.1111/risa.12863.

Contact: klaus.schneeberger@uibk.ac.at


Effective flood-risk management requires accurate risk-analysis models. Conventional analysis approaches, however, are based on the evaluation of spatially homogenous scenarios, which do not account for variation in flooding across a river’s reach and catchment area. Since flood events are often spatially unevenly distributed modelling may be inaccurate and invalid. A novel framework for risk analysis that accounts for varied flood outcomes has been developed, and it successfully demonstrated the accuracy of the approach when it was applied to a proof-of-concept exercise in Vorarlberg, Austria. By facilitating improved prediction and quantification of flood events, this model is likely to inform future flood-risk management and related decision-making.

Floods can significantly impact on the lives and livelihoods of populations in affected regions. For this reason, the European Union Floods Directive stipulates that Member States must design and implement risk-oriented flood-management approaches aimed at minimising the negative consequences of flooding. However, conventional analysis models are limited in their ability to accurately assess and evaluate flood risk in large-scale study areas. Tools that can provide information on possible flood scenarios, including their likelihood and potential consequences, are required to enable effective planning.

One reason that conventional flood-risk analysis approaches are limited is that they are based on the evaluation of spatially homogeneous flood scenarios, whereas flood events tend to be spatially heterogeneous. This is especially true when one is considering large study areas or mountainous regions. To solve this problem, Austrian scientists have developed a new framework for the probabilistic risk analysis of river flooding that accounts for the spatially heterogeneous nature of flood events.

The model is composed of three modules:

  • A hazard module (HM) that evaluates potential flood hazard. After analysing observed flood events, it generates a large set of possible future events across the river network and determines flood risk for specific sections of the network.
  • An impact module (IM) that characterises the potential negative consequences of flooding. It examines three impact indicators — unit of flood hazard (the number of sites affected by flooding); potential affected buildings; and potential direct monetary building damage — to ascertain the impact on specific areas or communities along the river network.
  • A risk-assessment module (RM) that combines and statistically analyses the results of the first two modules to quantify the expected annual flood impact (in terms of expected annual damage) and calculate the probability that various levels of loss will be exceeded.

To demonstrate the applicability of this new framework and its suitability for mid-to-large-scale applications, researchers used the model to quantify flood risk in Vorarlberg, an Austrian province in the Eastern Alps that is vulnerable to flooding. Although flood-risk estimations are generally based on extremes, and so are associated with large uncertainties, for most individual components, the simulated flood risk for Vorarlberg matched well with observed data.

This new approach, which considers flood events as spatially heterogenous, has the potential to improve the prediction and quantification of flood risk in regions of interest, facilitating the more realistic flood-risk estimations required for advanced flood-defence planning. As such, this research is likely to be of interest to stakeholders involved in flood-risk management, including policymakers, risk analysts and insurance providers.



Kingston School of Art Degree Show 2018

Paisaje Transversal present at Kingston University

“We advise, design and coordinate urban innovation projects with the participation of all stakeholders and interested citizens to improve the quality of life of residents and the sustainability of the environment.” 

Paisaje Transversal 


2 of the Paisaje Transversal team joined us here at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University – taking part in day-long crits as guest critics, Pilar Díaz Rodríguez and Iñaki Romero Fernández De Larrea and then presenting a review of the work and projects that the Paisaje Transversal practice has developed.

The ethos of the practice is to achieve success in their projects by incorporating the following four principles:

  • Transdisciplinarity urban projects must be comprehensive – we introduce a coordinated perspective of the main issues that affect the city: sociology, geography, landscaping, law, urbanism, ecology, economics …
  • Civic involvement – we grant an irreplaceable role to citizens in the transformation of their environment, to generate ownership of projects and transparency in processes.
  • Digital tools – information and communication technologies and technological development allow us to develop projects more efficiently, reducing costs and times.
  • Ecology of means – we operate from the ecological perspective in all its dimensions so, the processes that we drive are supported by reversible interventions, tests and tests that allow us to assess the improvement of the investments to be made in order to optimize costs.

Pilar and Iñaki described how their horizontal, inclusive and ecological working approach combines the technical assessments of sites with community opinions. The practice has developed tools called Participatory Indicators (INPAR) allowing them to create a complete image of a project or proposal thus generating a momentary picture of an environment or site.  This allows further assessment of those aspects of a proposal in need of improvement, those which require development and actions and those that require further thought and options. 

Following the presentation a podcast of conversations with Kingston University tutors Christoph Lueder and Íñigo Cornago plus Pilar Díaz Rodríguez and Iñaki Romero Fernández De Larrea was recorded and will be added to ‘Register’ once final edits have been made –  Register is a series of podcasts where we speak with practitioners, planners, developers and others who visit our school about their motivations and methodologies. To listen to a Register audio podcast click here.

Projects featured in Paisaje Transversal’s presentation:

  • Sant Miquel, Olot, Catalonia.

The neighborhood of Saint Miquel-Les Tries, Olot had been abandoned in the last decades, losing public space to infrastructure and commercial and industrial uses; this in turn caused rents to drop which attracted a large immigrant population. Thus, the neighborhood suffered from a negative image and was unattractive to many Olot residents. Despite this loss of value of resources in Sant Miquel, there was much value in its location: rich with old industrial spaces that could be taken advantage of for new creative uses, situated along on of the main access points to the city, and nestled between two volcanoes along the Fluviá River which provided tourism opportunities. The mixture of immigrant groups, a network of community associations, and the diversity of buildings and landscape provided a great opportunity for regeneration, enrichment and improved quality of life.


The project took place in two consecutive phases: the first phase identifying problems and areas of urban, social, economic and environmental potential; the second phase where the focus was on prioritization, construction, collaboration, and visualisation of proposals for temporary activation of disused spaces. This project also offered the opportunity for the Paisaje Transversal practice to develop and apply their Participatory Indicators (InPar). To read the full story click here 

  • #ParqueJH: Collaborative design for the renovation of JH Park, Torrelodones.
In 2012, the local government of Torrelodones, in collaboration with the Architecture Chamber of Madrid, announced a design competition to renovate three of the municipality’s parks. Their goal was to enhance these parks through reforestation and re-planting actions, while rehabilitating some of the existing buildings in theses publics spaces. These improvements would boost and complete these spaces with with new equipment and furniture, offering a renovated and higher-quality service to the community. One of these three parks was the Parque JH.
Paisaje Transversal began a collaborative design project with the local City Council to reform the JH Park public space in Torrelodones. Paisaje Transversal developed a technical analysis of the park and a series of  community participatory events to assist the selection of proposals with the greatest capacity to improve the site. 
The first phase included a technical analysis of the problems affecting the park in relation to issues such as accessibility, equipment, comfort, vegetation, activity. This analysis was developed together with the stakeholders and residents most directly linked to the park creating a first map of proposals to improve the image and uses of the park.  Proposals were grouped according to the improvements they generated in relation to the cost involved to asist with the final selection.


Applying creativity in the design process, in parallel with the community involvement has permitted a broader approach to achieve a good quality design. The renewal of the JH Park is a perfect example of how a collaborative process with community involvement proves to be a great approach for any public space’s design development.

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All images sourced: Paisaje Transversal


Postgraduate Landscape Open Event – June 20th, 2018. 5-7pm

Student project: Elena Alvarez – MA Landscape + Urbanism

In the first semester of the 2017/18 academic year, initial design briefs explored London’s lost rivers to help understand the city, its development and urban history, its relationship to natural systems, but also to cultural, social, political, and economic environments. The particular focus was London’s lost River Tyburn, the rich historical and contemporaneous urban layers and spaces that it runs underneath and alongside, including the gated squares at the heart of London’s Great Estates and privately owned public spaces. Sites and themes for the semester one design project were identified through site research.

A field trip in December 2017 to Ahmedabad, India took the form of a “local studio” set up  in collaboration with CEPT University, formerly the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology in Ahmedabad. In this contrasting setting, students were asked to revisite and reframe themes common to both London and Ahmedabad.

The following images form part of a site analysis undertaken by Elena Alvarez who is a student on the MA Landscape + Urbanism course. The site, the Hostel Ground, University Road, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad covers an area of approximately 100,000 sq. m.

Elena Alvarez POPS_Hostel Ground_Page_06

The site is most active on Sundays when people from all over the city come to play cricket games. On Sundays it is mostly active in the mornings with cricket activities which also attract a few vendors. The space is shared between cricket players, vendors and vehicle parking during the active hours.  Afternoon, the ground is mostly empty except for occasional passers by using it as an alternate / shortcut to avoid the traffic on drive-in. Other users are people from neighboring societies using the vast empty space to learn car-driving. After sun down, some people use it to gather and hang-out.
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