This week we concluded our analysis on ecology. The system, I felt, was a little rushed but turned out to be a success. Our process, as outlined below, looked at the vacant areas in the Doan Brook Watershed. We proposed a solution to the ecological problems in the area by looking at a variety of scales. We grouped the vacant areas based on density and location.
Our group proposed a series of stages for the evolution of a vacant site into an urban ecological solution. As noted above, there are different "types" of vacancy based on the ecology and land use / land type. The first process which I looked into was Deconstruction.
After deconstruction, we looked into an eco land base and the succession of a forest. The stages of succession evolve from initial land cover: grass and shrubs, to a young woods, a moderate woods, a maure woods, and finally, a climax point.
Our design interrupts this process at the young woods stage. We are trying to control the waste and the improper use of the land by taking care of it. Our solution was to turn the land into a tree nursery. To do this, some initial planting and maintenance is required. We looked at the different vacancy types and how we could possibly apply different layouts and designs based on the ecological system. Maintenance will be required, and at this point we recommended community involvement. The difference between our definition of market ecology and traditional ecology is the community involvement initiative.
I spent time looking at tree nursery layouts. I noticed different elements such as shading devices, storage sheds, and placement of plants that I didn't have time to get to. It should be noted however, that these elements were investigated.
Our model attempted to make relationships between the three strategies for vacant land in terms of ecology. I believe it was successful but could have ben further developed. Time again was an issue on this project, but for the time we had, I believe we proposed a rational and strong solution.
The Dugway Brook Watershed (Cleveland, East Side) is approx. 9 square miles and contained within the cities of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland and University Heights. Most of the watershed has been culverted, meaning it runs underground through storm sewer pipes. This was done in order to make room for urban development. Approximately 94% of the watershed has been developed. In only a select few areas is the watershed developed: Forest Hill Park in Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland Heights, and Bratenahl before entering Lake Erie.
Nine Mile Creek is the same story. Only small pockets of the watershed are exposed. Nine Mile Creek runs through the communities of University Heights, South Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Cleveland and Bratenahl. It drains approximately 18 square miles and is 11 miles long.
The question I asked while doing my research was: Why was their such a need to enclose these valuable watersheds? After further reseach, I found out that urban development was in fact, the primary concern. In 1912 the Ohio Board of Health approached the City of Cleveland with concern for the contamination into the watershed. Today, the watershed experiences nutrient overflow and stormwater drainage through pipes. This project we will be looking more into the impacts of stormwater and stormwater management and how people and development are affecting ecology.
Whether large or small, virtually all design and planning efforts should evaluate likely project effects on living systems. Failing to routinely do so risks damage to those systems. Broad planning should explicitly incorporate living systems, from research and collection stage to the analytical stage and finally, to the project planning and implementation. Planning should be evaluated to determine if stated goals are accomplished as well as if the aftermath of projects includes unexpected consequences.
Brandon E. Young