Saturday, April 3, 2010

design guidelines

The following is a list of design guidelines, compiled from the collection of case studies brought in the previous posting. These are similarly divided into three categories: Water, Energy and Controlled Environments.


1. Use existing topography and gravity forces.

2. Provide basins to capture runoff water from expansive catchment areas

3. Provide auxiliary reservoirs for water needs (both domestic and agricultural) for minimum 2 rain seasons.

4. Allow interconnectivity between reservoirs to optimize water availability (communicating vessels).

5. Take advantage of air born moisture (dew), rain collected from rooftops and reclaimed wastewater.

6. Invest in long term aquifer recharge- enhance water table by releasing cleansed water back to the wadi.


1. Plan a system compatible with existing electrical grid, ready for incremental deployment

2. Select energy production technology according to site context, orientation, topography, community size, solar radiation available, climate data etc.

3. Allow for two way transmission- the inverted grid

4. Plan adequate storage for down times

5. Enable system modularity for future upgrades

6. Integrate smart grid capabilities: web communication, networking, monitoring and responsive feedback loops


1. Study the physical and cultural context, in multiple scales

2. Acknowledge the limitations of the closed system- plan imports and exports to be in healthy equilibrium

3. Work with the site conditions and natural processes of the system

4. Encourage self organization and emergence patterns

5. Synthesize effective water, energy and agricultural systems with urban place making.