Cities should be built to store, use and recycle water. As few drains as possible should take water out of cities for disposal elsewhere. Patrick Geddes, the first European to use the term ‘landscape architecture’ in its modern sense put this very well: ‘drains are for cities, not cities for drains’. The implied approach is now called an aspect of Low-Impact Development (LID)
urban stormwater drainage systems. In the UK they are known as Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS). The approach is not new. The island of Delos, which has some of the oldest classical houses in Greece, were built with storage tanks for rainwater beneath their courtyards. From Roman times onward cities were built with aqueducts to supply fresh water and drains to remove foul water. We need to turn the clock back so that cities can have more streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.
London’s proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel , expected to cost between £4bn and £5bn, would not be required if London adopted a Sustainable Urban Drainage policy, embracing both its architecture and its landscape.