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Porous Futures

Site. Hassett, W. Unit 17. 2020.

Wade Glenn Hassett



Gregory Katz, Nico van Loggerenberg




This thesis investigates flooding in South Africa due to the unique rainfall of the country. I investigate the impact of the rush and pressure of stormwater on our streams, rivers, and existing infrastructure, ultimately affecting our economy and, more importantly, our ecology. I observed sites affected by flooding in South Africa with a critical eye on the existing stormwater infrastructures. Ready to criticise the maintenance of the sites, I soon realised that large impermeable surfaces on higher ground were to blame, contributing to the mass water runoff, resulting in crisis points on lower ground.

A trip to the Wilds Houghton Nature Reserve emphasised the unique topography that Johannesburg was built upon, highlighting the valleys, mountains and slopes around and within the city. The rocky stormwater attenuation system at the Wilds was a valuable precedent study for this thesis going forward.

I propose a solution to our water crisis through a responsive landscaping intervention in the city that would act as a social infrastructure made up of both porous and permeable building materials, methodologies, or technologies that will form part of a detailed toolset of small interventions in an attempt to reduce flooding and at the same time activate the nature of the city through a process of landscape engineering and rewilding.