Climate Adaptation Consultancy

Urban Hydrologics is a consulting services practice that specializes in blue-green infrastructure and climate resilience for tropical cities. The group offers two primary service delivery arms: 1. a consulting services arm, which advises on nature-based solutions for inland and coastal infrastructures, and 2. a technology arm, which delivers innovations for water-sensitive communities, cities, and urban regions.

Penang South Islands Consultancy

Pedro Santa served as the Lead Consultant for Coastal Resiliency and Blue-Green Infrastructure input for Bjarke Ingels Group’s Penang South Islands (PSI) 4500 acre Masterplan, from 2020-2021. The “Penang BiodiverCity” proposal was awarded first place in the international competition, out of 124 submissions from 26 countries. During the competition stage in Q1-Q2 2020, Pedro was appointed as the lead consultant to provide input to BIG while still serving a Senior Associate position at Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl Singapore. Once the full awarded consultancy was launched in Q4 2020, Pedro Santa was seconded by Ramboll and joined the Bjarke Ingels Group’s Landscape & Planning team to serve as the Local Project Manager in the Malaysian Time zone. His scope was to lead client engagement and direct Input for Stormwater Management and Nature-Based Solutions for Inland and Coastal Resiliency.

Project Credits: Bjarke Ingels Group, Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, Hijjas, Gamuda Land, AJC, Walrus

Image source:, archdaily

Conference in Australia – Invitation to Present Urban Hydrologics Climate-Tech

On November 4th, 2019, Urban Hydrologics was welcomed to a conference in Sydney, Australia to present software innovations. The paper and presentation showcased Urban Hydrologics climate-tech platform from their December 2014 white paper. Due to work commitments, Pedro Santa was not able to attend the conference in Dec 2019 to deliver the presentation. Urban Hydrologics is honored for the welcome invitation from conference organizers, and we look forward to presenting our climate-tech software in the future.

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INDA Site Presentation Kampung Admiralty

In March 2019, Pedro Santa, Senior Associate at Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, brought visitors from Chulalongkorn University’s INDA program to Kampung Admiralty. During the site visit and walkthrough presentation, Pedro explained the project’s performance landscape, ecology, and water management concepts. Kampung Admiralty is an award-winning project (by WOHA Architects) that received the Building of the Year Award in 2018 at the World Architecture Festival. Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl is the Landscape Architect and ABC Waters specialist of the project. In 2013, Pedro Santa participated in the concept stage of Kampung Admiralty, developing stormwater management concepts and strategies of ABC Waters Features integrated into WOHA’s building design.

Photos by PJ Santa on day of site visit, March 2019.

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United Nations – Climate Action SDG Jury

In Q2 2018, Pedro Santa was nominated and selected as a jury panelist for Climate Action SDG in a United Nations event held in Singapore. Titled – “Innovation Lab 2018 UNLEASH” – the event served as a Global Innovation Program for all United Nations SDGs. It hosted talents from across the world to collaborate on solutions incorporating UN SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals). As part of the Jury Panel for Climate Action SDG, Pedro Santa focused on nature-based solutions, blue-green Infrastructure, climate policy, design-engineering-ecology, and interdisciplinary problem-solving.

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Blue-Green Lead for Punggol Digital District

Starting Q3 2017, Pedro Santa was appointed at Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl as the Project Manager for the blue-green infrastructure consultancy for Punggol Digital District. Working in partnership with diverse project consultants and WOHA Architects (the Qualified Professional, Architect, Masterplanner, and Lead Consultant of the Project), Pedro Santa fostered innovative strategies which incorporate building-integrated landscape systems, nature-based solutions, ABC Waters engineering procedures, and urban design principles, to form a 21st Century Industrial Estate, that cultivates education, technology, environment, and innovation. Project Credits: JTC | WOHA Architects | Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl | Diverse Consultants

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Monitoring Surface Water from Space

The journal “Reviews of Geophysics” has published a seminal paper that reviews the use of optical remote sensing to observe surface water in relation to ecological and hydrological studies: “Remote sensing data have been integrated with in situ river flow to model Spatio-temporal dynamics of surface water. Recent studies have proved that the river discharge can be estimated using only optical remote sensing imagery. This will be a breakthrough for hydrological studies in ungauged areas.”

Image: Detecting, Extracting, and Monitoring Surface Water From Space Using Optical Sensors

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Ecological landscape-scale sensor network

The journal Ecological Research has recently published an article covering the new opportunities for ecological monitoring. The article titled: “Listening to ecosystems: data-rich acoustic monitoring through landscape-scale sensor networks”, provides phenomenal insights on the use of newly-initiated acoustic monitoring networks to collect data from ecosystems and use these space-time data to better understand ecosystem dynamics. The team’s insights highlight the potential utility of remote acoustic monitoring practices that, in combination with other methods can provide a holistic picture of biodiversity.

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Urban Areas & Natural Hazards

Urban areas are especially prone to natural hazards, and combined with the fact that people increasingly live in urban areas—with a projected 6 billion by 2045—the potential for devastation will only continue to grow. By 2030, without significant investment to improve the resilience of cities around the world, climate change may push up to 77 million urban residents into poverty, according to Investing in Urban Resilience, a new report by the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).

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Blue-Green-Data Economy of the Future

Urban Hydrologics stipulates there will be a rise in virtual platforms to optimize water infrastructures. The White Paper authored by Urban Hydrologics depicts an increase in use case applications of virtual twin models to optimize the design and orchestration of nature-based solutions across urban settings, unleashing unprecedented digital services and applications. Urban Hydrologics has coined the phrase: “Blue-Green-Data Economy of the Future” to embody and describe the emerging spectrum of goods and services related to Blue-Green Virtual innovations on the horizon.

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UHS Strategic Adaptation Framework

The Urban Hydrologics Strategic Adaptation Framework for Tropical Watersheds has been developed from extensive research and practical experience, aiming to enhance the resilience, performance, and co-benefits for communities within the pan-tropics. The framework consists of the following components: Two contexts for Strategic Integration, Three Key Strategic Scales, and Four Key Variables.

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Towards an Urban Hydrologic Digital Twin

Urban Hydrologics embarks into Digital Twin Technology. In December 2014, we have begun drafting a white paper outlining hydrologic climate adaptation software, which links the real world to the virtual world. Our objective is to build a data foundation that optimizes the design, planning, operation, management, and financing of blue-green infrastructure. We are calling this technology – “Urban Hydrologic Digital Twin” platform. Further details will not be shared at this time, as we look to protect our Intellectual Property (IP) until we can deliver such a solution to the market in the following decade, 2020-2030. Pedro Santa will continue to give shape to the technology during his free time, on nights and weekends, as an extra-curricular endeavor that is separate from day-job arrangements with employers, companies, and academic institutions.

Urban Hydrologics, 2015

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Your Building is the River

The Urban Hydrologics approach considers all urban surfaces as an interconnected network that receives, captures, detains, and conveys rainwater from the top of roofscapes and façade surfaces down to the ground level and ultimately to downstream waterways and river corridors. This reinterpretation and redefinition of the city as not a series of objects but of a series of surfaces defines the Urban Hydrologics approach. Each surface has a role to play in managing rainwater on it’s way to rivers and streams – giving light to the phrase – “your building is the river” UHS, 2015. This idea concept was articulated by Pedro Santa during explanations of the Urban Hydrologics approach to diverse contacts in tropical cities.

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State of the Climate – Author-Collaborator

In 2011-2012, Pedro Santa served as a collaborating author in “Puerto Rico’s State of the Climate 2010-2013 – Assessing Puerto Rico’s Social-Ecological Vulnerabilities in a Changing Climate”. He supported the PRCCC by providing content on water resources and climate change impacts to surface water, groundwater, and subsurface water resources, with accompanying island scale maps of PR. The text provided outlined the extent of PR’s island-wide water resources and how they would be impacted through sea-level rise, rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, the increase of heavy storms events, coastal erosion, and environmental degradation.

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Singapore’s Resilient Coastline

Achieving a Resilient Coastline is Singapore’s peak blue-green infrastructure project. Living and working in Singapore since 2011, Pedro Santa of Urban Hydrologics has noticed that Singapore has mastered the application and implementation of blue-green infrastructure networks throughout its inland waterways, communities, and reservoirs. The coastline has yet to receive the same attention concerning using Nature-Based Solutions for coastal resilience and sea level rise adaptation. Pedro Santa states that the Coastline will be Singapore’s crowning achievement as the world’s leading blue-green resilient island. It holds massive potential as a culmination project for an island nation that strives for water resilience and ecological vibrancy. The coastline’s design and engineering can incorporate diverse natural elements. Urban Hydrologics’ has composed a menu of coastal defense ecologies most compatible with Singapore’s context, industries, and future-proofing aspirations. The hybrid coastal networks can incorporate recreational amenities, such as the Round Island Route, which Singapore plans for execution in the coming years. We are excited to be a part of Singapore’s Resilient Coastline transformation as a group focused on Holistic Water Resilience – inland and coastal.

Managing Urban Runoff Handbook

Developed for the Singapore Public Utility Board, the “Managing Urban Runoff” handbook serves as a holistic stormwater management solutions guide for developers, designers, planners, and engineers. During employment at Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl Singapore, Pedro Santa served as the project manager, lead author, and content coordinator – providing leadership in WSUD, ABC Waters, Stormwater Management, conducting inter-agency meetings, and delivering presentations to the client-agency PUB throughout the production of the document. Project Credits: PUB, Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl.

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Lead of WSUD Proposal for Kallang Riverside

In 2012, Atelier Dreiseitl was awarded first place for Kallang Riverside Landscape and Urban Hydrology Masterplan, where Pedro Santa served as the design lead for the competition proposal and subsequent consultancy. He crafted and sketched the visionary concept argument – that developers should avoid the “old paradigm” of urban development – where buildings impose themselves onto the landscape – and embrace a “new paradigm” – where ecological landscape, & resilient infrastructure are prioritized.

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Presenter at PUB Center for Water Excellence

In 2013, Pedro Santa presented the Seminar Course on Constructed Wetlands: Design, Construction, and Maintenance of Cleansing Biotopes, as part of the Singapore ABC Waters Programme. The Certification Program of Active, Beautiful, and Clean Waters Professionals, was instituted in Singapore to increase industry knowledge, competencies, the proliferation of ABC Waters Features, and water-sensitive urban design tools. The Elective Module EU2 had two courses presented by colleagues of Atelier Dreiseit Asia, where Pedro Santa presented the constructed wetlands/cleansing biotope portion of the course at the PUB WaterHub Academy Center for Water Excellence.

Prof. Tony Wong CRC Water Sensitive Cities

In February 2013, Pedro Santa met Professor Tony Wong at Singapore’s Waterhub Academy Center for Water Excellence. Professor Tony Wong is the chief executive of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities. Tony is internationally recognized for his research and practice in sustainable urban water management, particularly Water Sensitive Urban Design. He has also been an important intellectual and technical contributor to the formation, establishment, and roll-out of the ABC Waters Programme in Singapore. Meeting Prof Tony Wong at the PUB Waterhub has been an excellent opportunity to connect and be in contact for future collaborations.

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ABC Waters Professional Courses in SG

The ABC Waters Professionals Courses has been instituted in Singapore to increase professional competencies in water-sensitive urban design. Training courses to improve knowledge and skills of integrated water management is an essential step to integrate vital professional sectors involved in delivering climate-resilient infrastructure and urban stormwater management. The development and accreditation of professionals with formal training in the concept design, design development, and implementation of water-sensitive urban design will increase high-performance landscape infrastructure throughout the city. This climate adaptation infrastructure will increase the proliferation of co-benefits for people, water quality/quantity, ecology, and economy.

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Urban Hydrologics Thematic Lecture

In May 2012, Pedro Santa presented the first Urban Hydrologics thematic lecture at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. The presentation covered the principles, concepts, and technical strategies needed to develop Water Sensitive Urban Design Masterplans and climate-resilient urban regions, focusing on transdisciplinary designs, blue-green infrastructure configuration examples, and implementation alternatives for nature-based solutions in tropical cities. The Lecture was hosted by the INDA Design Program of Chulalongkorn University.

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In Conversation: Beatley, Newman, Dreiseitl

In February 2012, Pedro Santa shared a stimulating conversation with formative influences: Timothy Beatley, Peter Newman, and Herbert Dreiseitl. The meeting took place at the newly built Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, and it was a fascinating discussion and meeting of the minds. The conversation also covered how decentralized water-sensitive urban design maximizes co-benefits for society, economy, and ecology.

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Water Sensitive Urban Design Conference

This upcoming February 21–23, 2012 the Seventh International Conference on Water Sensitive Urban Design will be held in Melbourne, Australia. Dealing with integrated urban water management concepts and water sensitive urban design measures, the conference will cover themes such as: Drainage and Flood Mitigation, Climate Responsive Design, Urban Water Economics, Social Capital, Urban Landscape Architecture, Urban Ecosystems, among others. The focal point of the conference: “Understanding the nexus between sustainable urban water management and the vitality, livability and prosperity of urban communities is one of the most significant challenges of the 21st Century.” Registration for WSUD 2012 is now open.

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Meeting Herbert Dreiseitl

On March 4th, 2011, Pedro Santa met Herbert Dreiseitl for the first time. We discussed a diversity of subjects related to water in cities, from large river scales and riversheds to small building-integrated LID features. The common denominators and compatibility were evident from this first meeting, and we established a foundation for continuing discussion of ideas to expand water-sensitive cities. Herbert Dreiseitl is the Founder, CEO, and Office Director of Atelier Dreiseitl, a company with diverse companies located in Germany, the USA, China, and Singapore. I was delighted to meet a formative professional and intellectual influence in the space of stormwater management, landscape, and water-sensitive urban design practice. I am looking forward to additional meetings and the possibility of professional work collaboration with Herbert Dreiseitl.

A Pantropical WSUD Stormwater Company

Urban Hydrologics aims to become the world’s first Pantropical Blue-Green Infrastructure consultancy services firm registered both in SE Asia and the Caribbean Tropics. In his interdisciplinary research at Harvard University, Pedro learned that Singapore is a leading nation in water cycle management, stormwater, and blue-green solutions. For these reasons, Pedro is exploring opportunities to relocate to the City State to acquire advanced strategic and implementation knowledge on nature-based solutions for urban resilience. Participating in the emerging Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters Programme (ABC Waters, launched in 2006) will provide vital knowledge on how to design, plan, and implement water-sensitive urban design features (WSUD) in the tropical climate context. These unique skills will be essential to foster climate-resilient cities, and Pedro looks to develop a pantropical business model for Urban Hydrologics — a technology and consultancy services firm that provides climate adaptation solutions to tropical cities worldwide.

Map of Urban Hydrologics Target Market and Headquarters — SE Asia (SG) + Caribbean Tropics (PR)

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Singapore’s Green Infrastructure

In a recent article featured in the news section of eco-business, Lin Zhaowei from the Straits Times highlights a study conducted by the consultancy firm — Solidiance — that looked at the economic, environmental and social factors that determine how eco-friendly Asian-Pacific cities have become.  Because of their economic growth and rapid population increase, many of these Asian-Pacific cities have turned to green infrastructure projects to ensure environmental sustainability and among them Singapore is ranked no. 1  in water management and green building policy. According to Lin Zhaowei: “Singapore is among the top four in a new study ranking Asia-Pacific cities in terms of their ‘greenness’. This is the first comprehensive study of this kind in the region.”

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World Rivers in a State of Crisis

By looking at a series of maps focused on 23 different stress factors facing rivers — from livestock density to potential acidification, from river fragmentation to aquaculture pressure — the research team found that 65% of the world’s river habitats are in danger of losing biodiversity because of these stress factors, not to mention the problem of human access to sources of clean water and energy. There is a lack of data for issues such mining and pharmaceutical pollution, so the situation is likely even worse than observed.

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Holistic Resilience – Inland & Coastal

Urban Hydrologics proposes that all Tropical Islands Nations strive to achieve Holistic Resilience. This approach considers the integration of inland and coastal adaptation to achieve high-performing results that stand the test of time. Global surface temperatures will exacerbate the storms and weather impacts on small islands and coastal watersheds. The Urban Hydrologics approach states that Holistic Resilience becomes a priority for planning adaptation solutions for Inland & Coastal communities and that existing hydrological networks begin to employ green infrastructure, coastal SLR/storm surge protection, and water-sensitive urban design elements in coastlines, rivers, corridors, ecological patches, parks, streetscapes, and plot/building scales.

Design Language of Fluvial Geomorphology

Urban Hydrologics derives its inspirations and design language from the unique characteristics of fluvial geomorphology. The movement of water in nature creates inspiring forms. Scientific research within fluid mechanics helps us understand the mathematics of water, revealing the geometries and formal expressions which give us the inspiration to generate performative designs. Diverse reactions and interactions of water, from chemical, biological, and physical, all the way to molecular structures, are well understood by scientists. We propose to use these elegant forms to generate a unique language for urban systems, landscapes, networks, and products at diverse scales.

Holistic Stormwater Management: Unlocking Financing for Livable Cities & Solving Multiple Issues

One of Urban Hydrologics’ core arguments is that Holistic Stormwater Management is the key to unlocking financing towards solving, directly and indirectly, many of the issues of the contemporary city. Many agendas, such as connectivity, pedestrianization, alternate mobility, urban safety & health, business improvement, innovation, biophilia, tourism revenues, property value increases, and other livable city measures, can all be unlocked, in one way or another, through increased investment in stormwater management solutions that employ nature and blue-green elements for quantity and quality management. This idea and conceptual framework is one of the key arguments that set the foundation of the Urban Hydrologics Approach when the group was launched in 2009.

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Emphasizing the Blue.

At Urban Hydrologics, we sustain that Watershed Based Planning is crucial to executing resilient cities in the 21st Century. For us, climate adaptation requires new tech innovations that visualize interactions between the urban and the hydro. Urban Hydrologics’ invention is to develop a network of data-collecting sensors that allow watershed communities to access blue-green data. We argue this data is essential because it enables decision-makers to prioritize nature-based solutions where needed the most. Our emerging start-up was launched to execute work within two primary arms – a consultancy services arm, and a technology arm that aims to develop software and a sensor network of patented products that collect water quality & quality data in real-time. Our current list of patents includes sensors designed for integration into bioretention basins, detention ponds, swales, waterways, and drains. Ultimately, our goal is to generate an Urban Hydrologic Sensor Network that gains data from a city’s blue-green infrastructure network

Stormwater Management is central to the design of cities in an age of climate change. We are committed to developing solutions that shape new technologies and providing consultancy services for urban hydrology and water cycle management. This is the Urban Hydrologics manifesto. We look forward to a bright future that emphasizes the blue.


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WSUD Advocacy Through Visualization

Urban Hydrologics + ae.i.ou research & design collective, have collaborated to create advocacy through visualization scenarios, portraying the impact of inaction. If tropical cities and nations continue to underestimate run-away climate change and how weather extremes are projected to overwhelm conventional stormwater infrastructure – which lacks nature-based solutions – then flooding events are expected to occur more frequently – impacting property, economy, ecology, and society. In collaboration with ae.i.ou, Pedro Santa from Urban Hydrologics led the ideation and creation of diverse scenarios depicting how IPCC climate projections will impact urban infrastructure, sea-level rise, economy, society, inland and coastal ecosystems. The scenario below is titled “Flooded”.

Leveraging Technology for Blue-Green

Urban Hydrologics has been launched while Pedro Santa studies at Harvard University. He aspires to create a software-technology company equipped to provide data-driven climate adaptation consultancy services. After graduation from Harvard, Pedro Santa looks to gain in-depth professional practice experience in stormwater management, best management practices, blue-green infrastructure, and water-sensitive urban design concepts worldwide — with a particular interest in Singapore as the key nation that’s prioritizing stormwater management in urban design. His objective is to gain unique implementation expertise and to understand how software can play a role in advanced climate adaptation. Gaining industry experience is the first step to developing an Urban Hydrologic Software applicable worldwide. With unique knowledge gained in Singapore, Urban Hydrologics will be ahead of the curve in creating digital tools to meet the emerging needs of governments, industries, communities, and consultants. Experience is critical to successfully creating a software platform that provides recommendations for mitigating weather extremes and climate adaptation in future cities.

The Urban Hydrologics manifesto was written in November 2008, and the organization was officially launched on January 15th, 2009. Since interdisciplinary climate adaptation technology companies are rare and water-sensitive urban design is still an emerging discipline, the objective is to acquire advanced practice and implementation competencies to ensure Urban Hydrologics develops novel software technology to foster climate adaptation mitigation efforts and planning with more precision. We see a rise in data-driven design practices emerging, and we are committed to developing tools that mirror the world in a digital platform to predict climate impacts before they occur.

After graduation from Harvard, Pedro Santa will embark on a ten-year professional experience journey to gain unique experience in water management, interdisciplinary design, climate adaptation, nature-based solutions, environmental planning, and hydrology-engineering companies. This objective requires Pedro to work abroad and interact with engineering teams around the world, to gain the most advanced blue-green infrastructure implementation knowledge. Pedro firmly believes these experiences will qualify and empower him to lead software engineers and a panel of interdisciplinary professionals in the future. Urban Hydrologics aims to pioneer a new business model in an era of climate adaptation – becoming the world’s first tropical climate-based company to combine software, consultancy services, and blue-green monitoring sensor products to improve the financing, planning, design, engineering, operation, and management of nature-based solutions in the cities of tomorrow.

Urban-Hydro-Logics – Official Launch

Urban Hydro-Logics is a group that studies the intersection of water management, urban resilience, technology, and climate change adaptation. It proposes that water should become the driver of urban form to achieve high-performing sustainable networks for people, ecology, economy, and progress.

The group explores:
1. Community needs through scientific data
2. The integration of ecology-design-engineering
3. The use of innovative nature-based solutions
4. All aspects of water in cities, from coastal to inland

Urban Hydrologics: Manifesto

Urban Hydrologics proposes that water is central to the design and planning of climate-resilient cities. Climate Change is an imminent threat caused by human activities and excess greenhouse gas emissions. The increase in terrestrial and ocean surface temperatures will create a compounding effect and accelerate weather extremes. The runaway climate effect will reach a tipping point, accelerating the melting rate of ice caps, affecting the hydrologic cycle, and displacing vulnerable populations due to floods, drought, famine, forest fires, and rising coastal sea levels. Climate adaptation requires a transdisciplinary urban-hydro-logics approach, with new hybrid professionals equipped to strategize, plan, design, build, and manage nature-based solutions at diverse scales – from coastal to inland ecosystems.