Adaptive Analytical Design Framework for Resilient Urban Water Systems

In the era of big data, the design and decision making tool sets for urban planning are fairly primitive. What existing models lack is the ability to visualize, query, and overlay dynamic information between different types of urban systems that affect each other on multiple scales. The scope of this project includes the incorporation of GIS data and green infrastructure solutions into the development of analytical parametric design workflow. Ultimately, it aims to devise a tool set to help visualize, measure, and dynamically model urban relationships affected by rain- and storm-water flows, and thus contribute to a better understanding of the ever-changing forces that affect design and place-making on urban scale.
Related Works: Design Modeling Symposium, Epiflow (CMU), Decade of Design

PROJECT TYPE: Design Research | PI: Dana Cupkova | co-PI: Christine Mondore, Nina Baird | RESEARCH ASSISTANTS: Nicolas Azel | Funded by Decade of Design, The AIA Urban and Regional Solution Challenge Grant, 2014 (20K)


Sample of design studio workflow utilizing the simulation parameters to determine the land and building form.

Student: Thomas Sterling with Prof. Christine Mondore, Flow Studio, Fall 2014, CMU School of Architecture


Water flow component controlling the vertical tolerance and iteration sequence that affects the resolution for the basin outline, Detail of water basins delineation.


Iterative study of different urban form within the urban topography of Pittsburhg that struggles with water management and storm water overflow. The image shows the consequence of bioswale generic sizes and locations relative to building cluster type placement.

Student: Gloriana Gonzales with Prof. Christine Mondor, Flow studio, Fall 2014, CMU School of Architecture

Iterative study of water flow behavior translated to of flood plane adaptation.

Student: Kim McDonald with Prof. Dana Cupkova, Epiflow: Towards Resiliency of Post-Soviet City Networks, Spring 2015, Fall 2014, CMU School of Architecture


Design studio workflow sample using workflow simulation in conjunction with shadow patterns and incident solar radiation data to design a biotic system that integrates human occupancy, landscape, water filtration infrastructure and new programs.

Students: Anum Shah + Nouf Aljowaysir, Prof. Dana Cupkova,  Epiflow: Towards Resiliency of Post-Soviet City Networks, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, CMU School of Architecture