An integrated water management system that simultaneously serves agriculture, urban design, and aquatic ecosystems.
Wash station, urban drainage system, and balcony agriculture kit. The devices are intended to be robust, low-maintenance, and inexpensive.
The urban systems and public space are planned for upgraded informal settlements. The project develops safe public spaces around functional purposes like communal clothes washing.
Current BT resident with personal garden. The project seeks to implement space saving growing techniques like vertical planters, green walls, and roof gardens that also contribute to the environmental quality of the household.
Current BT resident using excessive fresh water to maintain micro-garden, however the project proposes to use recycled and treated greywater to limit the demand on water sources.
Current BT resident using a government supplied tap stand. The greywater produced from these stands either moves straight into the sewer system, placing a large strain on municipal systems, or it is spilled on the ground causing open puddles of contaminated water. The project proposes to capture this water, recycle it, and reuse it for irrigation.
The project forms a cycle of water management, considering all possible inputs and outputs of water and food. (Img credit: Isidima Design and Development)
EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA
Connecting the concepts of landscape, hydrology and sanitation, this project aims to create an integrated, multi-functional and optimised system of greywater management and urban agriculture for informal settlements in South Africa. Built from a systematic combination of landscape features, public furniture elements, and playground devices for creating safe and welcoming community space, constructed wetland sewers and filtration beds will effectively capture, handle and clean grey and storm water. The filtered water can then be re-used for irrigation of those same landscape elements for a complete cycle of water management.
The primary goal is to combine sustainable infrastructure with functional public space. Ecological water treatment systems like reed beds, pollution absorbent plants, and rainwater capturing devices will be combined with landscape architecture elements like public seating, children’s playgrounds and vertical farming to improve the quality, safety, and functionality of public space (i.e., a playground roundabout as a pumping station, a bench that doubles as a water filtration bed, landscaping plants that both provide outdoor shade and absorb, hold, and distribute stormwater).
The main objective is to foster self-reliance of the local BT community (70 households) through sustainable, well-functioning, and dignified solutions. They are located in Khayelitsha, a township of Cape Town, South Africa. The project also will inform local and national governmental planning authorities in organising the delivery of appropriate services.
HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?
The project, when constructed, will specifically manage all grey-water from washing clothes, bathing, and cleaning as well as rain and stormwater. The amount of dirty water reaching the municipal drains or aquifers will decrease significantly. Prior to reaching the drains, this now-clean water can be recycled into landscape elements to increase the productivity of resident urban-farmers and enliven the public spaces within the community. The volumes of water entering the stormwater drains can be measured precisely to record the proposed results. After several workshops with the community to engage functionality and adaptability, it is clear that the systems will easily integrate within the community and larger housing upgrade. The project’s relevance and results are reasonable and realistic, understanding the current municipal systems already in place in this specific settlement. The project can be built within the current structure and timeline of the overall EMPOWER SHACK housing project (http://u-tt.com/project/empower-shack/), ensuring deliverable results on schedule.
As with the EMPOWER SHACK project, this is meant to be seen as a prototype to be implemented in other sites across the Western Cape. The BACKYARD BIOPONICS project will not only create a functioning water and food management system within BT, which will continue to provide recycled water, quality public space, and food security, but create trained residents and experts alike to further implement the project in surrounding sites and provide entrepreneurial opportunities.
Yes, for two or more years
I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for at least two years
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) is an interdisciplinary design practice dedicated to high-level research and design on a variety of subjects, concerned with contemporary architecture and urbanism. For Backyard Bioponics we are collaborating with Isidima Design and Development and OKRA Landscape Architects.