Floodable exploring resilience remembrance in cedar rapids, iowa
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RESILIENCE + REMEMBRANCEexploringin CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA
RESILIENCE + REMEMBRANCEexploringin CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA
PROJECT GROUNDINGsite location and approach
THE BUY-OUTcurrent plans to buy out property in the floodplain
TIME CHECK HOMES STANDINGTime Check neighborhood remaining homes
PARCEL PATCH PARKTime Check neighborhood shifting to open space
FLOOD OF 2008the damage done
FLOOD STAGES50 yr, 100 yr , 500 yr, 2008
WATERSHED CHARACTERISTICSlocation of city within the watershed and channel characteristics that influence flooding
SUPER-EFFICIENT LANDSCAPEimplications of a hyrdologicly efficient landscape on flooding
RIVER INTERSECTIONScurrent places where city meets river
CONSTRICTION POINTSregional effects of using levees and dams
CURRENT FLOOD RECOVERY PLANcurrent and historical paradigm regarding flood control
CITY + RIVER HISTORYsettlement of Cedar Rapids along the river
GIS DATA INVENTORY
FLOODABILITYbuilding resiliency through floodability
WATERS INeach city is required to accept flood water
CONCEPTS FOR REMEMBRANCEconcepts for integrating rembrance into design in the Time Check neighborhood
FLOODPLAIN RETREATFLOOD ANATOMY
CEDAR (RAPIDS) RIVER
FLUX + PERSISTRIVER + CITY
Examination of how to preserve the cultural memory of disaster by coupling memorialization and resilience to flooding.
FLOODS2008 Flood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Gazette 2008.
Flood level marked on Flamingo family restaurant on Ellis Blvd, Cedar Rapids. Photo by Amber Hill.
Some paint dark lines on buildings that show how far flood waters reached. People must paint those lines for many reasons, but primarily those lines and other similar gestures serve to develop a collective memory of disaster. Severe disasters must be remembered if people are to learn from them, to safeguard against their recurrence (Pfister 2011). In Cedar Rapids, the words high water were painted in red on a family restaurant affected by the flood. When you walk down that street you can re-imagine what that space must have been like, and how people had to deal with such a disaster. At another restaurant just along the river theres a plaque marking the high water line inside the cafe. Patrons walk under a doorway to see it.
These gestures help people to remember, but forgetting can be useful too. When water rose in Cedar Rapids, it left its mark on peoples lives and on the physical infrastructure of the city. Yet, when compared to other types of disaster, such as wars, the memory of natural disasters is much shorter lived. The high water marks dont only serve to remember the floods, but also become expressions of institutional risk memory, (Pfister 2011) an understanding of how risky a place is to live, and yet despite this type of remembering of a disaster such as that in 2008 in Cedar Rapids, people still feel determined to live in the flood zone. Disaster gap is a term to describe the long period of time between disasters in a region that can lead to a loss of a cultural memory of disaster (Pfister 2011).
I want to examine how to preserve the cultural memory of disaster by coupling memorialization and resilience to flooding, particularly in the neighborhood that I grew up in, which is currently in the process of being bought out to be transformed into a greenway as a flood protection measure.
WATERMARKSWHEN WATERS RISE, THEY LEAVE THEIR MARK
Understanding the larger scale issues that contribute to flooding in Cedar Rapids, Iowa will help inform site design in the Time Check Neighborhood. My capstone project will examine land use throughout the state and the implications for flooding, watershed characteristics, city flood policy and response to the 2008 flood, as well as an understanding of how flooding impacts the Time Check neighborhood community.
Larger scale analysis will contribute to a proposal for interventions to the regional system and the entire Cedar River watershed as well as to specific city interventions to address creating resilience to flooding.
The final design for capstone will focus on pairing resilience and remembrance with flood recovery and community development in the Time Check neighborhood. Currently the city has a master plan vision that includes both raising the flood walls and setting back levees from the rivers edge to protect to the 2008 flood levels which reached beyond the 500-yr flood stage.
This pre-capstone book explores larger scale issues and theoretical approaches and will be followed by an in-depth examination and inventory of the Time Check neighborhood site and the citys current flood recovery plan which includes a proposal for a greenway through the Time Check neighborhood which is currently under voluntary acquisition.
Maps compiled with GIS data. See Inventory.
IOWA CEDAR RIVER WATERSHED
CEDAR RIVER WATERSHED CEDAR RAPIDS, IA TIME CHECK NEIGHBORHOOD
(CEDAR RAPIDS) RIVERPeople have always been drawn to rivers. They support life by supplying water and are economic
resources. The use of waterways for transportation and trade routes has spurred people to build homes along them where they could be close to food and supplies, but settlement along rivers is also a dangerous endeavor; rivers change. They move around in the landscape, carving out new locations for their flow. They rise and fall annually, swelling with the influx of snow melt and spring rains and subsiding as the dry summer landscape soaks up moisture. Sometimes that swelling floods where people have settled, which is what has continuously happened in Cedar Rapids since early development. The city needed the river to grow economically, however dealing with the consequences of such proximity to a dynamic river is a challenge of balancing ecological, economic, and cultural interests.
IOWA SAW INHABITANTS THOUSANDS OF years ago when nomadic hunters followed rivers and game across Iowa. The first exploration of Iowa by Europeans was led by the French explorers who arrived to Iowa via the Mississippi River in 1673 and claimed the land for France. In 1803, Iowa became part of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase.
Along the Cedar River, Native American tribes, primarily the Sac and Fox, hunted and trapped long before the arrival of the first permanent European settler. Osgood Shepherd set up a cabin on the Cedar Rivers east side near what is now downtown Cedar Rapids. The city was named after the rapids on the Cedar River and was incorporated in 1849 (IowaDOT). The rivers name is derived from the Red Cedar trees that grew along the banks.
Many people from all over the world were drawn to Iowa and to Cedar Rapids for farming and other job opportunities. The Cedar River was an importanat commercial waterway in the mid 1800s. In 1871, the nations largest meat-packing company, Sinclair Company, was established along the Cedar River. In the same era, some other major local industries established along the river: Cherry-Burrell, a dairy producer, and the worlds largest cereal mill, Quaker Oats.
These early investments along the river and the determination of the city to obtain a railroad connection in the 1880s helped define Cedar Rapids as a major Midwest Industrial center (Carl and Mary Koehler History Center). Today the major industries along the river are Penford, Cargill and Pepsi Co Quaker Oats, however the river itself is not used for commercial navigation. The top manufacturers in the city are Quaker Oats, Amana Refrigeration Products, General Mills and Heinz Compnay. The largest employer is Rockwell Collins.
CITY + RIVER HISTORY
Historical image sources: Hellocedarrapids.com, lookinginatiowa.com
Early investments along the river and the determination of the city to obtain a railroad connection in the 1880s helped define Cedar Rapids as a major Midwest Industrial center, however, as a river city, Cedar Rapids has had to deal with flooding since early settlement.
The flood of 2008 in Cedar Rapids reached over 31 feet, surpassing the previous record of 20 feet in 1993. The flood of 93 did not rise over the citys flood wall and levee system. 2008 was a surprise. The city flooded for reasons beyond city control, including climate change, land-use change, timing and location of precipitation, and the geographical location of the city in the watershed.
Houses damaged: 5,238 (parcels: 5,390) Businesses damaged: 940 (parcels: 1,049) Non-profits/faith organizations damaged: 77 City blocks affected: 1,300 (10 square miles) River levels: Crest 31.12 feet June 13, 2008
in Cedar Rapids. The 2008 flood was federally declared a national disaster, affecting most of the rivers in Eastern Iowa and continuing to the Upper Mississippi River. The cultural and economic losses of the flood were great and the recovery process is an expensive endeavor that requires federal assistance. A host of civically important buildings were damaged, including the County and federal courthouses. Many of the homes along the floodplain had to be demolished due to damage from water reaching the first floors of the