WRRC Brown Bag - Innovating the Urban Water System: The Architecture of a Decentralized Future
Courtney Crosson, Assistant Professor, UA School of Architecture
Globally, cities are facing increased water stress under growing populations, degrading infrastructure, and changing climate patterns. This imbalance between available water resources and projected urban water demands presents tremendous challenges for water resource management, necessitating novel planning and design strategies and tools. Rainwater harvesting (RWH) has been pointed to as one partial answer; however, the capacity of such a solution to address urban water deficits had been largely untested. This talk will investigate two components of decentralized water infrastructure’s ability to meet urban water stress: network capacity and regulatory restriction. First, the talk will discuss recent research that evaluates the capacity of Tucson, AZ to become water independent using rainwater. Remote sensing, localized daily rainfall, and municipal water meter data were used to construct a dynamic model of the city’s potential passive and active RWH network. Second, the talk discusses the regulatory hurdles to make such infrastructure a reality at a commercial scale.
Courtney Crosson is a licensed architect and Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona. She has worked for Foster + Partners, UN Habitat, and BuroHappold Engineering. Her current research advances decentralized water systems to address pressing problems facing cities – whether water scarcity in the US Southwest or safe and affordable water access in informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya.