by Junpei Asai
University of California Berkeley
Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate 2018
1. Academic Work
1.1 Reduce the flood risk by Housing Development
In this semester, I designed a residential area at the downstream of a river that is defined as flood hazard zone (Figure 1). The neighborhood has lower income and higher insurance fee due to the flood risk. Historically, the meandering creek was changed into a typical concrete channel. (Figure 1&2) Therefore, we (this is a group project) tried to design a new neighborhood that takes a flooding risk and turns it into an advantage. Furthermore, the site will be also affected by sea level rise. So, the proposal should be very flexible about the fluctuating water level and storm conditions.
This has been done by excavating the area down to ground water level. Then we proposed placing water tolerant designed housing including floating houses (Figure 4). Proposed high density buildings create more spaces for the storm water storage, recreations and natural habitat.
During storm event, the pond can take 189 acre feet of storm water, which is about 80% of flood zone when we assumed 1-foot deep flood water for the whole area. The diagram shows how the site accommodate the storm water within the residential area without expensive structures (Figure 3).
1.2 Wining a Prize in Urban Public Space Competition
In addition to the school works, I joined a competition about ‘urban public space’ in Japan as a group. Fortunately, our proposal was chosen as a finalist from more than 100 entries and I will have the final presentation on March 12th. It is a great honor and would like to mention here to show my appreciation to the support from this scholarship. The link is here. (http://www.japan-architect.co.jp/public/jp.html)
2. Off campus activities
In addition to the academic work, I enjoyed various activities. On weekend, I often went bike trips with my classmates (Figure 5). It is a good way to understand cities, natures, food, and cultures in San Francisco bay area.
Also, I joined a creek rehabilitation project which aims to replace invasive plants with California native plants as a volunteer (Figure 6). The project has just started and we are planning to remove invasive plants and create a small garden, by organizing other students.
I would like to thank Ito Foundation U.S.A. and Friends of UTokyo, Inc. for supporting my study. I always feel supported and that makes me brave to seek my own goal. I cannot thank enough for it and would like to give back to the society step by step.