• May 2019

    Siting and Strategies

  • Feb 2019

    Mapping and Scale

    //Preventing the wildland-urban interface (WUI) fire and green infrastructure implementation in California

  • Feb 2019

    Case Studies

    //Preventing the wildland-urban interface (WUI) fire and green infrastructure implementation in California

  • Jan 2019

    Literature Review

  • Dec 2018

    Wildfire prevention and town renovation after wildfire in California

    California’s wildfires are getting bigger, lasting longer, and causing more damage to homes and property. The research will start with the causes and effects of wildfire in California – Paradise or Malibu, along with risk assessments of possible locations for town renovation. Besides, the planning framework and strategies for the wildland-urban interface for future wildfire prevention will be developed.

     

    California’s wildfires are getting bigger, lasting longer, and causing more damage to homes and property. The Woolsey Fire and the nearby Hill Fire have forced the evacuation of nearly 250,000 residents from their homes near the Pacific Coast in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. At least two deaths have been blamed on the fires, which have burned across more than 80,000 acres, destroying more than 150 homes in the past few days[1]. And the fire in Paradise is also the most destructive fire in California history, with more than 7,100 structures destroyed, most of the homes. Those two are quite different communities in terms of population and economy, and the possibility of rebuilding is still undecided. [2]

     

    The wildfires have left us a lot of questions to answer. What caused the fire and how? How did it expand so quickly? Did we locate those towns in the wrong places? Some areas may simply be too high risk to live in. How do we prevent and control wildfire through urban design? It is a great opportunity for urban designers to work with planners, foresters, and arborists to design natural defenses against fire that protect individual homes or communities.

     

    First, it is to find out the possible causes of wildfire in either Paradise or Malibu, including mega-region analysis of forestry, wind and fire-threat evolution. Second, the mechanics of wildfire and reasons why it rapidly expands of it will be studied and testes through materials and models. Next, strategies for the wildland-urban interface will be developed to prevent and manage the future fire. Last, detailed urban design for town renovation after wildfire to achieve fire-resilient communities, as well as firescaping - landscape design for wildfire defensible and survivable space are supposed to be proposed and tested.

     

    There are a lot of related studies and designs about wildfire across the US and worldwide, including Planning Tools to Reduce Montana’s Wildfire Risk[3], How Will Chile Rebuild Its Informal Communities After the Wildfires[4], Exhibiting the Ground: Applying Fire as a Design Element for the Stapleton Community (ASLA 2009 Student Honor Award)[5], Fire Management in National Parks and Prescribed Burns of High Park in Toronto[6]. The methodologies they apply in those projects are pretty useful, including quantitative and qualitative research.

     

    At the end of the thesis work, the project is supposed to include large-scale analysis and research of wildfire in California, medium-scale town urban design schemes, and small-scale wildland-urban interface design.

     

    [1] Fuller, Thomas. “California Wildfires Updates: 48 Dead in Camp Fire, Toll Expected to Rise.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 Nov. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/us/california-fires-updates.html.

    [2] Fuller, Thomas. “California Wildfires Updates: 48 Dead in Camp Fire, Toll Expected to Rise.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 Nov. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/us/california-fires-updates.html.

    [3] “Planning Tools to Reduce Montana's Wildfire Risk.” Headwaters Economics, 5 Dec. 2018, headwaterseconomics.org/wildfire/solutions/montana-wildfire-planning/.

    [4] “After the Wildfires: How Will Chile Rebuild Its Informal Communities?” ArchDaily, 17 Apr. 2014, www.archdaily.com/497793/after-the-wildfires-how-will-chile-rebuild-its-informal-communities.

    [5] “Exhibiting the Ground: Applying Fire as a Design Element for the Stapleton Community.” American Society of Landscape Architects, www.asla.org/2009studentawards/200.html.

    [6] “Prescribed Burns.” High Park Nature | Explore / Black Oak Savannah, www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Restore.PrescribedBurns.

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