November 4, 2013
Alternative ways to rebuild after flooding will be explored at Buildex Calgary
PHOTO COURTESY SEAN SOMERS
Six months after flooding of disastrous proportions swept through Calgary, Andree Iffrig will host a panel at Buildex Calgary that will discuss how to rebuild in alternative ways that are good for everyone.
Venice on the Bow: Rebuilding Calgary After the Flood panelists include Craig Applegath, principal with DIALOG, Gian-Carlo Carra, Ward 9 councillor in Calgary, and Iain McCorkindale, president of M2i Development Corporation.
Iffrig, a sustainability leader with DIRTT Environmental Solutions is moderating the panel discussion.
Her company figured out how to create building interiors that are resilient, agile, and that can change as technology or tenants change, she said.
Thus, it’s not a huge jump for her to imagine resilient design on a large, city-sized scale.
“We’re going to be encouraging people to think differently about how we respond to this,” she said.
Through resilient design, Calgarians could maintain livable conditions in the event of natural disasters.
It’s about being flexible, adaptable and agile.
“If the houses, the roads, the infrastructure are always going to be wet, you need to change how you build,” Iffrig said.
“If we build in a resilient way, it means we create infrastructure and buildings that can deal with being wet some of the time.”
In other parts of the world, where rising water levels are a problem, they do take resilience into account.
There are hard-engineering approaches like in New York, which has approved $20 billion in storm protection measures including flood walls, levees and bulkheads along its 520 miles of coast.
In areas where earthquakes are a concern, like San Francisco, resilience is seen in the building codes and seismic regulations, where structures must resist seismic forces during earthquakes.
“Maybe cities in flood-prone areas need to adopt building codes specific to floods, much as cities in seismic zones have seismic codes,” Iffrig said.
“I thought we needed to rethink this idea of living in a flood plain. We need to be building in a way that we’re prepared for the next flood.”
In June, the Bow River flowed at about 1,740 cubic metres per second, a rate multiple times higher than previously recorded high water levels.
“Maybe we need to pull back and look at this from a regional perspective,” Iffrig said.
“We need to look at watershed planning and better management of water resources for times of flood and drought.”
For Iffrig, the discussion is about changing how people think about building.
It’s all about ending up with something that’s agile, that can deal with being wet.
Venice on the Bow: Rebuilding Calgary After the Flood, takes place Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 8:30 a.m.\
..i220b.jpg ..pCITY OF CALGARY ..cMichael Komarnicki of Calgary's corporate properties & buildings department shows the flood water level surrounding an electrical vault in the city's Municipal Complex.
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