Landscape architects are progressively grappling with more complex site issues and the digital realm facilitates access to landscapes that are increasingly vulnerable, with complex site conditions and webs of stakeholders. Through the development of a series of tools and workflows, we are investigating the possibilities of applying landscape architectural ideas to the flood-prone and degraded Ciliwung River, which bisects Jakarta, Indonesia.
Cross-section annotated with information collected during local resident interviews and measurements based on point cloud obtained using a terrestrial laser scanner.
We position ourselves between the clinically-precise description of the landscape provided by surveyors and the loose-reality of hyper-landscapes created by the designer. Our data capture-driven research method relies on the curation of both analogue and digital acquisition techniques. Extensive field interviews and studio driven measured drawing methods focus on the understanding of the cross-sectional relationship of the river landscape to the urban site. Precision laser-scanned datasets and close-range photogrammetry captured spatial information are geographically referenced within UAV derived point clouds. From these various acquisition techniques we geographically nest the information collected as point clouds into a single digital 3D environment.
These digital doppelgängers are semantically classified to decode in situ landscape elements for further design action. Vegetation and topographical elements can be isolated from the buildings found on site, using height and colour information which is decoded from the massive point cloud data and studied alongside results from interviews with community leaders and residents. Simultaneously, information collected during interviews with local residents is embedded into the digital point cloud cross-sections (Figure 1). The scale and resolution of information gathered is then clarified through the diverse potential use of the dataset for design purposes.
Collecting, digitally revisiting and decoding these reality- sourced point cloud models is the first descriptive step which paves the way for a prescriptive step in which informed interventions can be embedded back into the model. To do this we created a comprehensive set of tools which are able to assist in the modification of the underlying point cloud model, the representation of designed interventions in a point cloud format and the ability to feed these interventions into qualitative models. Being able to cut into and replace existing points with those that are user-generated opens up the possibility of embedding flood mitigation and design scenarios directly into the 3D geo-referenced context ready to be evaluated through hydrodynamic simulations.
Flood simulation results can be imported back into the 3D environment to visually study them.
With the help of the team’s hydraulic engineers, we integrate these scenarios with advanced hydrodynamic simulations to test the efficacy of our designs (Figure 2). Changes in the bathymetry, riparian vegetative cover and course of the river can all be taken into account. The results of the flooding simulations are then projected back into the underlying 3D point cloud model for further analysis. This allows us to step away from the trapezoidal cross section, often used in the design of channel conveyance, towards one which looks to a more sensitive approach using vegetation and topography. As such, addressing not only the immediate issue of flooding, but extending to ideas of ecology, land use, and culture and society.
The tools and methods developed within this case study show potential value for other increasingly vulnerable and complex sites. This approach is, however, not without its challenges, which include managing the increasingly complex information gathered from the site. Additionally, the implementation of the results of this study is confronted by the speed of change within a developing city, such as Jakarta, and the numerous stakeholders involved. At present, the promising results obtained — which provide designers greater insight into the workings of a complex site demonstrate unprecedented rigour in both the understanding and spatial representation of urban landscape challenges.