HighWaterLine is just beginning in Bristol and we don’t claim to have all the answers yet. We’re here to be part of the conversation. Here are some resilient solutions we’ve been talking about so far. What do you think? You can comment below or join us in the street for a chat.
These ideas have been identified by people in flood-risk zones of Bristol with support from other members of the city-wide community with relevant expertise.
We’d like to learn from other communities who have experienced floods – what did they do to come together as a community, and how could we do this before a flood, rather than after? Some suggestions so far have been events like street parties in which neighbours can learn what skills, resources and needs they all have in the case of an emergency.
Learning from Bristol’s flood history
We could also learn from Bristol’s histories of flooding, and other resilient stories Bristolians have. By finding out how people coped and what they learned, we could inform our own resilient strategies, whilst honouring the knowledge and testimony of elderly people in our communities.
Open Dialogue & Access to information
We’d like to have a more open dialogue with authorities about flooding, and make information accessible in different languages which are spoken in some flood-risk areas of Bristol. We know that there must be more accessible and democratic ways to discuss and decide about making our city and neighbourhoods more resilient.
Whilst a flood doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, we learned that the human consequences are different depending on your individual and neighbourhood wealth and resources. We’d like to see solutions that have the secondary effect of boosting economic resilience to flooding in more deprived areas by channelling funds through the community. For example, employing a ‘community flood-warden’ (for example) from a less well-resourced flood-risk area, you would channel funds through that community. A renewable-energy co-operative could have a similar effect if benefited people in the flood-risk zone by lowering bills and acting as back-up energy in a flood.
Trees, wetland, flood-friendly green space and bendy rivers are all alterations which other flood-prone cities are making so that the flow of water slows down. Many are making this change in ways which also improve the natural environment and urban aesthetic.
Opening space for new ideas
We’d like to continue finding creative ways to raise the volume of new ideas and fresh conversations about ways to deal with flooding and be a more resilient city, and see these inform future decisions about our city.
After we create the the HighWaterLine this July, we expect to have moved these conversations forward with the help of those who we meet along the way.