Several water initiatives, including The Changing Town Park, Decentralized Water Purification Strategies in Haiti, Multipurpose Public Space, and City River Restoration at its Best, were chosen for further investigation throughout the previous year because of their unique approach at addressing water management issues. All had unique objectives, but they all used similar overarching strategies to successfully implement their purpose. These commonalities are important to highlight so that future projects can utilize similar strategies for success.
One of the noticeable trends was that the projects were all able to adopt low cost, natural filtration capabilities, creating low overhead and little complication for their development game plans. This does not include the Haiti project in its entirety but doesn’t count them out, because filtration was done with solar and UV light rather than chemical or filter additives. They were all also able to employ simple infrastructure features as well for effective treatment of their water problems. There were no superfluous structures in their designs, which leads to more effective budgeting of resources.
All of these projects engaged the public in thoughtful and successful ways, which I believe also makes them function properly. With a majority of public acceptance and input on larger water works projects, this helps support initiatives which often get little coverage in the media and every day life. This played a major role in the South Korea management plan from the beginning, often getting many officials and local residents on board. There seemed to be very little pushback because of this initiative, leading to a relatively speedy restoration project considering its magnitude. I believe success in the Haiti project could also be due to the multiple investor interests funding their initiative, giving them a broad and stable support system to gauge project potential.
They tackled issues which are main water problems needing to be addressed in their communities. These water issues impacted public health on a more basic level. In South Korea, this district became a slum and traffic center often leading to respiratory issues for a lot of citizens. In Portland and St Albans, they experienced widespread flooding in the spring months, leading to infrastructure issues and lack of use in the area. In Haiti, probably the most dire situation, the countryside villages needed drinking water year round and were not living well without it. All of these case studies addressed water issues of significant importance to their communities and therefore were not slowed because of lack of enthusiasm.
Design concepts also incorporated multiple initiatives or layers which, I believe, helped move their projects forward. For example, the South Korea project was about river restoration but also business development. The Portland park was about storm water management but also about historical restoration. St Albans was about storm water management but also community education of their local flora. Dlo Haiti was about drinking water needs but also the growing problem of centralization of utilities in the country. All of these dual initiatives keep the priority on them, for when one cause is diminished for various reasons, there is a secondary cause which can keep the steering committee focused. I belief these multiple initiative projects are the key for future project efficiency in the environmental industry.
These projects were chosen because of these common themes, ultimately leading to their success and coverage in the media. I believe if other water initiatives take some of these themes into consideration as part of their development plans, they will be embraced by similar success.