MJM 02 - 05 - 2010

Sustainability is hard to do when you live in a dry climate. But when water is scarce, people get clever in saving water and using it wisely. For example, at Pergamom, they had aqueducts to supply the city with water but that was not always reliable. It was not reliable because the city was only 17 meters lower than the source of the water, which also had to cross a valley. The water pressure is what pushed the water back uphill to the city. As a fix to the problem, the people of the city built cisterns to collect water from the roofs. The gutters would direct all the extra water into the cisterns to be accessed by the people. The cisterns could also function as fountains or water features during times of plentiful water. Another solution is to have the water run to areas that will use the water directly. Tonight in Egypt, we saw stairs that had half grass steps (see bottom picture). Grass is quite difficult to grow in Egypt because the rainy season only lasts for two months. A rainy season for them consists of a shower once every week or so. So in order to save the extra water and grow grass, they plant grass where runoff will happen (see top picture). The grass growing in the stairs is nice because is breaks the monotonous color of the concrete as well as add interest to the steps. It is a good use of extra water because no one steps on that part of the step anyways and would be excess concrete. Little steps such as that lead to more exciting experiences for the visitors and users of the space. In addition, the top of the stairs was a grass patio space. The grass and concrete of the steps offered a transition from the parking lot to the patio area.

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