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Design Disrupted

What Houston Is Learning About Underground Tunnels To Mitigate Flooding

Professor Mary Pat McGuire was recently interviewed by NPR’s Houston bureau about the flood mitigation tunnels in Chicago and alternative approaches.

“Too often there’s a sense that you meet the big storm with big infrastructure. And, the bigger the better […] so, tunnels, they speak to, I would say, an old thinking about how to use infrastructure to deal with natural systems. And, unfortunately, it’s still a kind of leftover paradigm of thinking that controlling water these ways is still productive.”

McGuire said she doesn’t believe the city should be relying on the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) to the degree it is. Instead, they should build on ideas like retrofitting the city with green infrastructure, and encouraging things like permeable pavement, which could have added benefits. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) also acknowledged that additional flood control measures are important.

Read the article here.