ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0155.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: green infrastructure; urban; multi-functionality; retrofitting; sustainability; neighborhood level; Costa Rica
Online: 7 September 2020 (04:08:13 CEST)
Green Infrastructures (GI) are considered key to reconcile ecological and social benefits by providing multiple functions. The concept is increasingly promoted and guidelines for its implementation have been developed in many countries and regions of the Western Hemisphere. However, for other parts of the world, especially for countries with less developed infrastructures, promotion, guidance for decision-making and manuals for GI are often lacking. But the state of infrastructure development and often unplanned character of settlements in the Global South differ and result in specific constraints as well as demands to GI that need to be addressed explicitly. This study presents a methodological approach to explicitly address the specific conditions and physical limitations to GI development in urban areas of the Global South. A four step methodology was developed to assess the implementation potential for retrofitted and multifunctional urban green infrastructure in public areas. An initial site analysis (1) and the definition of design criteria as well as general strategies (2) to achieve the different dimensions of multi-functionality are the basis to derive spatial typologies (3) for GI elements and finally the spatial suitability assessment for potential placements (4). An application of the methodology to a study area in the metropolitan region of San José, Costa Rica, shows exemplarily that the potential to improve the hydrological conditions (up to 34% of surface runoff reduction), ecological conditions (increase of green space by 2,2 %, creation of 1500 m length of roadside greenery and two new habitat types), and social conditions (2.200 m of road type upgrading) of multi-functionality of the site through Green Infrastructures. These assessment results of different multi-functionality dimension can serve as a guidance for GI promotion and implementation in urban areas of the Global South.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0233.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: urban rivers; ecological status; ecosystem services; developing countries; Nicaragua; nature-based solutions; green infrastructure
Online: 20 May 2019 (09:07:23 CEST)
Natural rivers in urban areas bear significant potential to provide ecosystem services for the surrounding inhabitants. However, surface sealing by houses and street networks, urban drainage, disposal of waste and wastewater resulting from advancing urbanization usually lead to the deterioration of urban rivers and their riparian areas. This ultimately damages their ability to provide ecosystem services. This paper presents an innovative methodology for a rapid and low-cost assessment of the ecological status of urban rivers and riparian areas in developing countries under data scarce conditions. The methodology uses a combination of field data and freely available high-resolution satellite images to assess three ecological status categories: river hydromorphology, water quality, and riparian land cover. The focus here is on the assessment of proxies for biophysical structures and processes representing ecological functioning that enable urban rivers and riparian areas to provide ecosystem services. These proxies represent a combination of remote sensing land cover- and field-based indicators. Finally, the three ecological status categories are combined to quantify the potential of different river sections to provide regulating ecosystem services. The development and application of the methodology is demonstrated and visualized for each 100 m section of the Pochote River in the City of León, Nicaragua. This spatially distributed information of the ecosystem service potential of individual sections of the urban river and riparian areas can serve as important information for decision making regarding the protection, future use, and city development of these areas, as well as the targeted and tailor-made development of nature-based solutions such as green infrastructure.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0680.v1
Subject: Engineering, Other Keywords: Urban Drainage Systems; Sustainable Stormwater Management; Costa Rica; Place-based research; Transition Stages
Online: 27 November 2020 (09:02:24 CET)
Green Infrastructure promotes the use of natural functions and processes as potential solutions to reduce negative effects derived from anthropocentric interventions such as urbanization. In cities of Latin America, for example, the need for more nature-sound infrastructure is evident due to its degree of urbanization and degradation of ecosystems, as well as the alteration of the local water cycle. In this study, an experimental approach for implementation of a prototype is presented. The experiment took place in a highly urbanized watershed located in the Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica. Initially, understanding the characteristics of the study area at different scales was achieved by applying the Urban Water System Transition Framework to identify the existing level of development of the urban water infrastructure, and potential future stages. Subsequently, preferences related to spatial locations and technologies were identified from different local decision-makers. Those insights were adopted to identify a potential area for implementation of the prototype. The experiment consisted on an adaptation of the local sewer to act as a temporal reservoir to reduce the effects derived from rapid generation of stormwater runoff. Unexpected events, not considered initially in the design, are reported in this study as a means to identify necessary adaptations of the methodology. Our study shows from an experimental learning-experience that the relation between different actors advocating for such technologies influences the implementation and operation of non-conventional technologies. Furthermore, the perception of security associated to green spaces was found as a key driver to increase the willingness of residents to modify their urban environments. In consequence, those aspects should be carefully considered as factors of designs of engineering elements when they are related to complex socio-ecological urban systems.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201709.0045.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Interoceanic Canal; Nicaragua; environmental impact; water availability; land use classification
Online: 11 September 2017 (16:57:08 CEST)
Nicaragua is preparing the construction of an interoceanic canal that will be the longest and largest canal on earth. An environmental and social impact assessment has been published in 2014 supporting a general viability of the canal. Nonetheless, several scientist and societal actors raised serious concerns regarding the social, economic and ecological sustainability. Despite an open dispute within the Nicaraguan society, no independent, transparent and scientifically sound assessment has been carried out. Only the environmental and social impact assessment, charged by the canal constructor, has so far been realized. The aim of this study is to contribute to an open scientific debate through an objective and independent quantification of land use and hydrological impacts. This article presents a transparently documented and comprehensible impact assessment investigation of the West Canal Segment of the Nicaragua Canal. Based on publically available data and scientifically sound and recognized methods land use, hydrological (water availability) and socio-economic impacts (streets, population) are described, quantified and compared with official declarations in the impact assessment. While some results support official declarations other do not. The number of affected population and the water use of the Brito Lock resulted much higher in this study, for instance. Hence, society and water availability could be affected much higher than estimated in the impact assessment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0107.v2
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: green infrastructure; transdisciplinary; water systems; Costa Rica; co-design; prototype
Online: 27 December 2022 (01:55:16 CET)
The management of urban water has evolved from single-function systems to more sustainable designs promoting society and nature as inputs to engineer novel infrastructure. In transdisciplinary research, co-design refers to a design thinking strategy in which people jointly frame a problem-solution. This article presents a conceptual framework to assess a case study focusing on the process of co-design and implementation of green infrastructure as a prototype for stormwater management. The evaluation is carried out from a self-reflective post-implementation perspective. Research activities are translated into the framework to evaluate conditions shaping the trajectory of the prototype. As a result, key aspects driving the research regarding levels of stakeholder participation and dimensions of power are identified. Planning resilient co-design strategies to retrofit urban spaces is necessary to avoid unintended consequences, especially at the initial experimental stages. This study aims to contribute to the continuous improvement of pilot strategies in urban spaces by providing a framework for a structured evaluation of research experiences.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0704.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: Green Infrastructure; urban flooding; SWMM; stormwater; neighborhood level; high resolution; Costa Rica
Online: 31 August 2020 (05:07:43 CEST)
Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI), a sustainable engineering design approach for managing urban stormwater runoff, has long been recommended as an alternative to conventional conveyance-based stormwater management strategies to mitigate the adverse impact of sprawling urbanization. Hydrological and hydraulic simulations of small-scale GSI measures in densely urbanized micro watersheds require high-resolution spatial databases of urban land use, stormwater structures, and topography. This study presents a highly resolved Storm Water Management Model developed under considerable spatial data constraints. It evaluates the cumulative effect of the implementation of dispersed, retrofitted, small-scale GSI measures in a heavily urbanized micro watershed of Costa Rica. Our methodology includes a high-resolution digital elevation model based on Google Earth information, whose accuracy was sufficient to determine flow patterns and slopes, as well as to approximate the subsurface stormwater structures. The model produced satisfactory results in event-based calibration and validation, which ensured the reliability of the data collection procedure. Simulating the implementation of GSI shows that dispersed, retrofitted, small-scale measures could significantly reduce impermeable surface runoff (peak runoff reduction up to 40%) during frequent, less intense storm events and delay peak surface runoff 5-10 minutes. The presented approach can benefit stormwater practitioners and modelers conducting small scale hydrological simulation under spatial data constraint.