PoroCity proposes to build resiliency within communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change through the design of integrated networks of information and green infrastructure. Much like a smart energy grid, which uses information networks to more efficiently distribute renewable energy, PoroCity capitalizes on existing digital and physical networks to create an adaptable, decentralized, and neighborhood-based strategy for urban climate change resilience. The project employs digital networks to improve communication of predicted and experienced climate change impacts, and spatially targets opportunities to integrate emergent green technologies with existing urban infrastructure. These technologies can be strategically applied to multiple urban development patterns in cities facing the complex socio-spatial impacts of climate change.

PoroCity begins by combining crowd-sourced information on experienced climate change impacts, municipal infrastructure data, and mapping and spatial analysis to locate existing opportunities to develop an integrated network of green infrastructure. Networked communities provide opportunities for local agencies to share information on anticipated climate change impacts (such as storm events, air quality, and/or extreme temperatures), while community members share experiences of these impacts via geo-referenced photos, tweets, and posts. This effort will increase the connection between experienced and predicted environmental conditions, build a fuller understanding of vulnerable neighborhoods, identify strategic locations for design intervention, and build community capacity to manage their own experience of climate change impacts. The initial phase of the project was launched in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2014 in collaboration with various community-based organizations and funded through the University of California Humanities Research Institute. Through a series of participatory workshops and local exhibitions, a preliminary resiliency network has been developed with community youth to collect and analyze experiences of climate change impacts on the neighborhood scale. The latter phases of PoroCity includes identifying strategic opportunities for applying multiple green infrastructure techniques to address the impacts of climate change and in response to the digital communication tools developed in the first phase. This includes urban landscape systems to address stormwater management, urban heat island effect, air quality, rising sea levels and storm surges, and food insecurity. Design strategies already exist to address many of these emerging urban needs (green roofs, rain gardens, constructed wetlands, and urban agriculture). These green infrastructure projects are already being employed in numerous cities internationally. However, the impact of any isolated project is limited, as individual efforts are rarely coordinated to operate as an integrated system for holistic urban resilience. PoroCity develops connections between existing and new projects, utilizing digital tools to communicate the quantifiable value of their impacts.


Brett Snyder, N. Claire Napawan, Brett Milligan, Kevin Perry, Emily Schlickman, RAFT Landscapes

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