Back in the early 90s I learnt of this phrase called ‘shadow planning’. This wasn’t in the political context but rather spoke about how we might accommodate future de-paving, re-distribution of densities, and amongst many other things – creek daylighting.
The name speaks for itself – creek daylighting is the process of restoring urban and sub-urban creeks to something of their original format, rather than being channelled through concrete culverts and drains. The concrete is removed, banks battered, planting introduced, and the water is slowed down. In ecological terms creeks are vital green corridors that link habitats and provide movement corridors for fauna.
One of the early examples was Strawberry Creek in Berkeley Calif., championed by Richard Register of Eco City Builders, Berkeley.
What captured my imagination about this early daylighting project was not just the fact that it could be designed and built, but how the community got behind it and made it happen. It was also one of my early exposures to ‘adding value by taking something away’, rather than simply adding more stuff to an already poor situation.
As an urban community, who says we can’t achieve these fantastic outcomes? Whether it be creek daylighting, de-paving or street greening, it’s all up for grabs and only needs a determined band of locals to make it happen. We have swathes of neighbourhoods where daylighting would work.
I’m still looking for an early map showing the Tank Stream in Sydney… I bet there are one or two places where it could meet the Sun again…