Aqua + Culture: Intergrating Fish, Farming, and Flood-control Systems on Four Mile Run


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Virginia Tech


This thesis begins with the study of a highly integrated agricultural system called dike-pond system in Pearl River Delta, South China. From the study, two aspects of dike-pond system are found interesting. One is the material flow in the system which makes full use of the by-products. The other is the function of preventing flooding by protecting crops on the dike and increasing water storage capacity with ponds. Duplicating the system to other parts of world seems impossible because of the weather conditions, technical requirements to operate the system and its intensive labor requirement. However, in a broader view, it seems possible to apply the concepts of reusing "waste" and preventing flood to other places.

With the inspiration of this system, this thesis studies how the concept might be adapted to Washington Metropolitan area. Several specific questions are critical to the inquiry: How to integrate different components into a system according to local situation? How to produce multiple products that feedback into the flow of materials and resources just like dike-pond system? How to reuse 'waste' or forgotten resources? How to prevent floods without using an engineered flood wall? How to create a place that people can have different fishing experiences in urban region? How to provide a habitat for urban wildlife?

My thesis addressed these questions through a design for a public space along the downstream of Four Mile Run in Arlington, Virginia. With design criteria derived from case studies and literature review, this project aims to control floods, cycle organic matter in wetlands, ponds and farm fields, provide fishing places, fish habitat, open spaces... All in an integrated system with little waste and a wise reuse of the "waste" water.



Reuse, Aquaculture, Agriculture, Fishing, Recreation, Flood Protection, Circulation, System