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POP-UP CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION

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THIRD NATURE releases a groundbreaking solution to major cities’ challenges with flooding, parking and lack of green spaces. By stacking water reservoir, parking facility and urban space, the project POP-UP solves three challenges at once. As heavy rain falls, stormwater fills the underground reservoir and the parking structure will pop up in the cityscape, highlighting the adaptation to the forces of nature.

Project information
Partner-in-charge: Ole Schrøder
Employees: Sofie Askholm Ibsen, Lars Vinther Christensen, Tom Fairley, Iryna Tsioma, Christian Kuczynski, Johan Kure-Biegel, Mathias Sander Thomsen and Thomas Hobbs
Project: Water reservoir, parking structure and urban space
Place: Globally (the project is illustrated in New York)
Type: Innovation project
Team:  COWI (structural models) and RAMBØLL (financial calculations)
Period: 2016- 

How do we restrict the amount of parking on streets and squares? How do we secure our cities against the growing numbers of cloudbursts? How do we make room for more urban spaces? And how do we finance climate adaptation? Most major cities are currently struggling
with finding answers to these questions. THIRD NATURE now comes with a combined answer to all of them. A climate adaptation solution where they tackle apparently unrelated challenges in one concept.

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CLIMATE CHANGES AS DRIVING FORCE
By 2050, the Earth’s population is expected to grow to over 9 billion people. The migration to cities is on the rise and urban spaces are under preassure from the growing numbers of cars and traffic in the streets. With the quest for green, livable and human-scale cities cars and car parking have become an increasing challenge fighting for m2 in the dense cities – often at the price of urban areas and parks. At the same time, climate changes require cities to handle huge amounts of stormwater generated by more and more powerful cloudbursts – 


this by building large water reservoirs under roads and squares. The situation calls for a rethinking of the way we establish parking, storage of stormwater and new urban paces.

The project has been developed in cooperation with the engineering companies COWI and RAMBØLL, which contributed to the project with structural models and financial calculations. 

Cities are in extreme situations where billions need to be spent on climate mitigation solutions and the equivalent amount on handling densification of the cities, especially the conflict between cars and urban spaces, so for us it is natural to think of the solutions together. It is a serious game with the infrastructural systems that provide real viability and completely new types of experiences back to the city’s users “- Flemming Rafn Thomsen, partner at THIRD NATURE

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3 CHALLENGES IN 1 SOLUTION
Today car parking, water reservoirs and urban spaces occupy three functions independent of each other. As opposed to using resources to establish three individual features needed by the city, we propose a single solution that can maximize the usage of m2, user value and minimize the overall construction- and operating cost. Instead of constructing a rainwater reservoir that will be empty 99% of the time,


a monofunctional parking facility – often too expensive to build underground where it does not occupy space, and an active urban space fighting for m2 in the dense cities, we suggest POP-UP. An climatic, vibrant and innovative solution that meets all three needs in one solution.

With POP-UP, we have a humane response to man-made problems, combining three challenges in one overall solution showing the world how climate adaptation, mobility and urban development do not have to be each other’s opposites in the viable cities of the future” – Ole Schrøder, partner in THIRD NATURE.

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THE PRINCIPLE IS SIMPLE
POP-UP combines a large water reservoir with a parking structure that moves up and down as the reservoir fills and empties with water. Like stated by Archimedes principle of flotation POP-UP works because the buoyancy of parking structure corresponds to the weight of the displaced water – just like a piece of cork in a glass of water.

“POP-UP is an example of a radical thinking, where design and complex engineering is applied to face challenges imposed by climate change and the need for sustainable urban living” – Tommy Olsen, Project Director, Tunnel and Underground Infrastructures, COWI.

On a normal day, the water reservoir below the parking facility will be empty, and the parking structure functions as a regular underground carpark with access via a ramp on groundlevel. In the event of heavy rain, cloudbrusts or rainstorms, the rainwater is led through the sewers overflow system into reservoir, and by means of hydrostatic buoyancy from the water the parking structure rises up and perforates the terrain. The hydraulic/mechanical lifting- and steering bearings balances the


weight ratios from parked cars in the structure and ensures that the structure moves securely and evenly up and down with the changing waterlevels. The two lowest levels in the parking structure are closed and always remain underground to ensure buoyancy and stability. The parking system’s retaining walls and supplementary guide tracks mean that the structure moves steadily and safely when the water level increases and decreases in the reservoir. The round shape of the parking structure and of the water reservoir makes the parking facility lighter and thus helps the buoyancy, while the reservoir with help from the ‘hoop’ effect of the circular form of the retaining wall protects against water- and earth pressure. As the parking structure rises, the docking guarantees that the structure remains accessible for cars and pedestrians alike, regardless of the water level in the reservoir. Once the sewage system subsequently has capacity to handle the rainwater, the water is slowly returned to the sewer network, after which the parking structure is lowered back into the ground.

POP-UP will be a temporary but visible player in the cityscape and in a positive way illustrating how our cities can change characters and function as the weather changes.

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AN OVERALL ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE ON THE CITY
There are many parallel public, municipal and private initiatives dealing with climate adaptation, but rarely ones that think about the intersection of problems, function and economics. Instead of using resources, in this case to establish three individual functions, the office suggests a single solution that can maximize the utility value and minimize the overall construction and maintenance costs. From an overall economic perspective, it is clear that one will be able to create more space, capacity and an attractive economy by building the project from a holistic view of a city in growth.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “POP-UP” AND “TRADITIONAL PARKING + WATER RESERVOIR”
The POP-UP is estimated to be three times as expensive as a traditional parking house above ground. This is a conservative approach to ensure that POP-UP is not unfairly favored in the economic modeling. However, the sale of the lot makes up for the extra costs. All prices are presented as Present Values calculated over a 10 year lifespan with a 4% discount rate.

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STRONG BUSINESS CASE
For at five story building, the project becomes profitable at a building square meter price of 3,500 USD or above. This corresponds to a square feet price of 325 USD. Depending on the available size of the building height (number of stories) the project becomes profitable for a seven story building at 2,500 USD per square meter, corresponding to a square feet price of 250 USD.

There is a battle for urban space. Often the choice comes down to financials and open spaces loose to developments. By combining several solutions into one, the POP-UP enables cities to ensure the economic vitality of the city whilst becoming resilient. They can maximize the economic return by creating dense and vibrant neighbourhoods, and ensure resilient and liveable urban spaces for the local population” – Jonathan Asbjørn Leonardsen, Senior Consultant at Rambøll

Notes on the economic model:
• All prices are in Danish and based on turnkey contracts.
• Prices for POP-UP as well as the baseline cost for traditional underground parking includes all underground work (incl. dewatering), reestablishing urban space and a 25% risk reserve.
• Price for the water reservoir is based on HOFOR’s price point from St. Annæs Plads in Copenhagen.
• All prices are presented as Present Values calculated over a 10-year time horizon with a 4% discount rate – as represented by the Danish Ministry of Finances official guidelines for infrastructure projects.
• With a higher discount rate (representing higher yield rate demands), the POP-UP project becomes more profitable and lower square meter/feet prices are necessary to break-even

MAPPING OF POTENTIAL CITY AREAS
By overlaying mappings of naturally low-lying areas where the water will concentrate,  with a map of existing parking places, areas can be identified where there is climatic and economic potential for decen-
tralized POP-UP solutions to contribute to a greener city. POP-UP shows how nature’s circuitry can become a sensory, pragmatic


and meaningful focal point for life in the dense city. It’s not just about making more parks, parking spaces or buildings, but looking at the quality of the places in the city, where we stay and move most of the time.

We sat down with a map showing where the biggest problems with water handling will occur and another map showing where there are the biggest problems with parking. When you put the two maps on top of each other you can see some places where there is potential for solving the two problems with the same concept. “- Ole Schrøder, partner in THIRD NATURE

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AN INTERNATIONAL AND SCALABLE SOLUTION
In September 2015, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the City of Copenhagen’s Technical and Environmental Administration signed a cooperation agreement to develop innovative climate adaptation solutions. THIRD NATURE, together with COWI and RAMBØLL, have participated in a number of workshops in New York, with the aim of developing scalable solutions based on experiences from Copenhagen’s climate adaptations.

POP-UP has the inherent potential to be scaled and adapted to other big cities facing similar issues of climate adaptation and parking  


challenges. The project has been developed and refined for locations in Copenhagen and St. John’s Park in New York (where the illustrations are from). POP-UP can therefore contribute to the development of a compact metropolitan area based on a decentralized and design-integrated climate adaptation strategy. The co-operation between THIRD NATURE, COWI and RAMBØLL shows how we can integrate design and climate adaptation into a strong business case, with optimized investments that make space for more buildings and attractive urban spaces.
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