NATURALLY DIVERSE RIVERSCAPES
Natural riverscapes are highly dynamic systems with complex process-form relationships. Rivers are particularly sensitive to landscape alterations and are continuously responding to internal and external disturbances, making them naturally resilient to change. Traditional flood control approaches involving rigid channel structures of ageing gray infrastructure are progressively failing to remain stable against increasing climate related stress and human-induced disturbances while reducing the valuable ecosystem services naturalness provides.
Research focused on topographically diverse riverscapes of complex geomorphic forms may encourage strategic opportunities for nature-based flood prevention strategies with more resilient green infrastructure design solutions derived from our understanding of fluvial processes. Innovative high-resolution GIS applications are advancing, providing new opportunities to quantify topographic diversity as a data-driven restoration objective for riverscape design planning.
Topographic diversity is also linked to ecological microclimate conditions and biodiversity potential, including ecosystem function, vegetation structure, soil composition, thermal properties, and species distribution, with additional social implications relating to the perceived messiness of naturally complex landscapes. This makes topographic diversity research highly interdisciplinary and valuable for developing novel landscape architectural designs which are more resilient to future changes in the Anthropocene.
Maintaining resilience of wet landscapes and their interconnected hydrological systems in face of urbanisation pressures is a key component the GIPL's applied design research.