Johana
Sanabria

Project: Agua Urbana V&B: verde y biodiversa

Agua Urbana V&B: verde y biodiversa (which means Urban water: green and biodiverse) aims to provide a digital planning tool used by urban planners, local suppliers of green solutions such as green walls-roofs, rain gardens, etc, and by local associations in order to accelerate the implementation of green infrastructure in cities by visually simulating changes at the neighbourhood scale. 

Through the tool, urban planners receive a nature’s impact analysis where suggested types and locations for green solutions are selected according to heat and flooding issues of each neighbourhood and most importantly, according to the needs and desires of the citizens. 

The tool allows planners to see the benefits of green solutions, such as temperature reduction, water runoff reduction, carbon sequestration, biodiversity support and increase of urban space quality. 

Additionally, the tool allows citizens and planners to simulate different scenarios by placing the most common green solutions in the map. This feature creates a communication channel between decision makers and the city; citizens suggest and vote for published scenarios, ensuring a participatory component. Finally, initiatives from citizens that increase the benefits of implemented solutions can find funding through the tool.

About Johana Sanabria

Johana has been interested in water management since her first job as field engineer treating the wastewater of different industries at her home city Bogota, Colombia. However this experience gave her a frustrating feeling after realising that even if industries comply with legislation, the efforts were not enough to protect our surface waters. 

A couple years later, she joined the university of San Francisco in the United States where she developed an interest in urban planning, specifically in management of urban rainwater. Johana did an internship with an eco-district in the city of San Francisco to see where it was appropriate to implement green infrastructure to reduce flooding risks. 

This experience was the source of inspiration for Agua Urbana V&B, her project. This experience showed her three things: 

  • Local associations are able to organise themselves to ensure decentralization of water management,
  • Green infrastructure should be implemented in a faster rate given that benefits are well identified and local providers exist in almost all major cities
  • Public areas are targeted by the government and private areas depend on all of us, the implementation of green infrastructure is the opportunity to act at a local scale and build better adapted neighbourhoods to climate change and to our cultural challenges.
     

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