Thames Gateway

The English office Baca Architects design plans, which contain a central role for the adaptation to climate change (Baca Architects, 2007). The analyses, they produced for the Thames Gateway illustrates that in an estuary with tidal processes a serious percentage of the newly built houses is at flood risk (Fig. 7.7). Strengthening the dikes and fortifications only moves the problem upstream (Fig. 7.8). Moreover, one breech in the single defence line may lead to a catastrophe.

Therefore, the design for East Tilbury proposes to incorporate a floodable zone in the design for the location instead of a single dike. This floodable zone is used for a combination of new dwelling types, water storage and nature development. The fact that water is allowed to flow out of the river basin prevents the water from being pushed upstream. In the design the dike is positioned as far from the Thames as possible (Fig. 7.9) and the buildings in the floodable zone can be lifted above flooding water, which makes them safe (Fig. 7.10). New small dikes protect the existing buildings. Furthermore, the water system in the urban design functions as a secondary storage for high tidal water, which will flow back into the Thames after the flooding is withdrawn (Fig. 7.11). In the urban green space the flooding water -as long as the quality is good - is infiltrated in the soil.

Fig. 7.4 Room for natural processes and storage of surpluses of rain in three steps in Delfzijl (Source: Klap, 2007)
Fig. 7.5 Possibilities to increase the flexibility of the urban water system (Source: Baca Architects, London, 2007)

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