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Urban Floods in Lowlands—Levee Systems, Unplanned Urban Growth and River Restoration Alternative: A Case Study in Brazil

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Instituto Alberto Luiz Coimbra de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa de Engenharia (COPPE), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Av. Athos da Silveira Ramos, 149, CT, bloco I, sala I206, Cidade Universitária, Rio de Janeiro 21941-909, Brazil
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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Arquitetura-Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (PROARQ-FAU), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Av. Pedro Calmon, 550, sala 422, Prédio da Reitoria/FAU, Cidade Universitária, Rio de Janeiro 21941-901, Brazil
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Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 11068-11097; https://doi.org/10.3390/su70811068
Received: 21 February 2015 / Accepted: 28 July 2015 / Published: 14 August 2015
The development of cities has always had a very close relation with water. However, cities directly impact land use patterns and greatly change natural landscapes, aggravating floods. Considering this situation, this paper intends to discuss lowland occupation and city sustainability in what regards urban stormwater management, fluvial space, and river restoration, aiming at minimizing flood risks and improving natural and built environment conditions. River plains tend to be attractive places for a city to grow. From ancient times, levees have been used to protect lowland areas along major watercourses to allow their occupation. However, urban rivers demand space for temporary flood storage. From a systemic point of view, levees along extensive river reaches act as canalization works, limiting river connectivity with flood plains, rising water levels, increasing overtopping risks and transferring floods downstream. Departing from this discussion, four case studies in the Iguaçu-Sarapuí River Basin, a lowland area of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, are used to compose a perspective in which the central point refers to the need of respecting watershed limits and giving space to rivers. Different aspects of low-lying city planning are discussed and analyzed concerning the integration of the built and natural environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban growth; urban flood control; lowlands; levee systems; river restoration; sustainable cities urban growth; urban flood control; lowlands; levee systems; river restoration; sustainable cities
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Miguez, M.G.; Veról, A.P.; De Sousa, M.M.; Rezende, O.M. Urban Floods in Lowlands—Levee Systems, Unplanned Urban Growth and River Restoration Alternative: A Case Study in Brazil. Sustainability 2015, 7, 11068-11097.

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