Sustainable Landscapes

Trina Jashari Masters-Student 

The Rena oil spill has seen New Zealand facing one of the largest environmental maritime disasters, better yet; it’s also heard an enormous amount of criticism on clean up and management efforts. What we don’t realise though is that everyday we are also contributing the same type of pollution to our waterways, and that’s through stormwater contamination. 

Auckland is set to face a nearly 10 billion-dollar tag to upgrade and manage sustainably stormwater networks for next 50 years.

Stormwater contains extremely harmful chemicals from the transport network such as zinc, copper and obnoxious oils, it also contains rubbish, and many other pollutants that severely degrade water habitats.

Auckland’s waterfront contains one of the most serious stormwater problems in the country.

What you may not be aware of when you visit one of the trendiest waterfront development in Auckland, “Wynyard quarter”, is the contamination and the environmental degradation that takes place underneath you.

Under Wynyard Quarter a large and historic urban area, is drained, where more than 80% of stormwater is left untreated, that approximates to 13 football fields put together with a depth of 1 meter, which is poured into the sea. 

Unnecessary investments are being made on projects that are only temporary; we need to plan towards the future and not just temporarily fixes. Methods to remove contaminants from stormwater have included the creation of artificial wetlands, grassy swales; vegetated filter strips and many others. However it has been noted that these methods not only limit the amount of water that they can treat at one time, but at times they lack to embody aesthetics, learning environments, public engagement and so on.

With the Rugby World Cup this year we have all seen how the waterfront has manifested it self into the number one destination zone. All around the world Waterfronts are some of the most desirable and celebrated places and some leading waterfronts display best practice through the use of green technology to integrate multiple uses.

In this research project I will study ways in which stormwater can be remediated through sustainable design, and ways in which it can add value to waterfronts and create a multi layered landscape . 
In Auckland there is potential to incorporate green technologies mixed with current stormwater management methods to possibly day light pipes, which would create efficient state of the art places that cater for multiple functions such as sustainable and resilient environments, economies, culture, education, and much more.

Today, our seas are faced with more and more devastating pollution, and we should no longer tolerate these places. Our world is facing a crisis in so many ways and we need to make a stand and better plan and manage the wellbeing of our environment for the future.