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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.