Project description by jury
Located in a dry region in southern Iran, Bandar-e Kong receives 130 millimeters rain each year, concentrated over winter into intense rainfall that leads to episodes of severe flooding. This environmental criticality is exacerbated also by the lack of adequate agricultural infrastructure and green spaces in the city that could mitigate urban flood risks. To face these problems, this project suggests the restoration of an indigenous ecological system that would help the city mitigate stormwater runoffs and harvest rainwater for drinking and gardening purposes.
The sophisticated infrastructure consists of flood paths that allow rainwater to be distributed across the city – a system used until the middle of the last century and abandoned by recent urban practices. Flowing through 35 hectares of date and palm tree gardens, the rainwater channeled by the flood paths reactivates local agriculture and expands urban gardens. Water is also collected in the historic reservoirs of the city or injected into the aquifer for further use during the dry season. The system is able to harvest more than 65,000 m3 of annual rainwater, resulting in considerable financial and energy savings compared to alternative water supply systems such as desalination via reverse osmosis.
The proposal is based on a simple but very valid concept that has been the mainstay of stormwater management and irrigation techniques in the region for centuries. The Holcim Awards jury Middle East Africa admired the multilayered narrative of the project which, through a gentle infrastructural operation, is able to provide a number of environmental, economic and social benefits to the city of Bandar-e Kong. Traditional elements, such as flood paths and water reservoirs, are salvaged and restored to adapt to the actual urban fabric thereby making precious pieces of the city’s history visible again to its inhabitants.See more
As a Main category prize winner in the regional Holcim Awards 2020, Inundation Harvest in Iran automatically qualified as a finalist in the Global Holcim Awards 2021.
Bandar-e Kong receives just 13 centimeters of rain a year – in downpours that cause heavy flooding in the city. At the same time, the city lacks urban green spaces and adequate agricultural infrastructure. This project aims to solve both of these problems by restoring an indigenous ecological system. “Our project also addresses the social issues of sustainability by preserving dying traditional ecological knowledge and integrating it into the urban planning and design processes,” explains prizewinner Ghazal Rahebof the Road, Housing & Urban Development Research Center, University of Tehran, Iran. The jury admired the multilayered narrative of the project which, through gentle infrastructural interventions, is able to provide a number of environmental, economic, and social benefits to the city of Bandar-e Kong.Read more »
Saving Fresh Water Mission
Saving every drop of rare tropical rain from returning to the saltwater of the Persian Gulf had been a historical mission of the people of Kong. The sophisticated ecological structure, which had been developed over centuries to accomplish this mission, was dismantled during recent context insensitive development of the city. As a result, we now have 35-hectare dried palm gardens, dozens of empty flood-water reservoirs, and a severe water shortage in the growing city. Recent projects have tried to deal with this water crisis with hundreds of kilometers of pipelines and huge water desalination plants. This project aims to revitalize this ecological structure to save increasing rainwater for developing the agricultural sector and urban green spaces.
Making Flood-Gardens Green Again
If you look at a 1950s aerial image of Kong, you can identify 35 hectares of palm gardens, which more or less remained until the present time. The only difference is that they are no longer green and fruitful, and almost all of them have been abandoned. This unfortunate phenomenon has been the result of the destruction of the ecological structure that had irrigated these gardens for centuries. The recent development has vanished the flood paths, emptied the flood-water reservoirs, and raised the underground salted water. This project aims to revitalize these palm gardens through a series of planning and design actions and make them a source of revenue for local citizens again as it had been for centuries.
Making Peace between Traditional Wisdom and Expert Knowledge
Despite some improvement, the city of Kong has environmentally, economically, and socially suffered a lot from turning its back to its rich ecological wisdom on how to live in this environmentally sensitive area, where their livelihood depends on the sea water for sailing and fishing and their life depends upon the scarce fresh water for drinking and farming. Ecological wisdom has been able to create a balance between these two critical aspects of living in Kong. The expert knowledge that has been translated in different urban and regional plans in the last half a century has overlooked this wisdom and upset this balance. In this project we aim to bridge the gap between these two apparent swear enemies through providing opportunities for dialogue towards mutually defined goals.See more
This project aims to harvest urban floodwater to revive palm tree gardens and expand urban green spaces. The calculations show that more than 65,000 cubic meters of floodwater can be harvest annually and 35 hectares of gardens can be revived with this water. The production of this amount of water through reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plants (the main source of water for the city) produces 435.5 tons of CO2. Moreover, palm gardens absorb 2,240 tons of carbon dioxide and produce about 630 tons of oxygen annually. In total 2675.55 tons of CO2 will be reduced annually, which equals the amount of CO2 produced by 446 cars.
A project for urban flood mitigation in Bandar-e Kong through the restoration of ancient flood management and irrigation systems.
Author comment by Ashkan Rezvani-Naraghi, University of Tehran and Ghazal Raheb, Housing & Urban Development Research …
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