Alumna Stephanie Newcomb Researches Water Commoning

Recent School of Architecture alumna Stephanie Newcomb, MSArch in Drylands Design 2016, researched water commoning in her studies. Stormwater will form an important part of Los Angeles’ future water portfolio. Current city and county stormwater capture plans focus on stormwater reclamation from publicly-owned land. However, hundreds of square miles of private property that will yield tens of thousands of acre-feet of runoff remain under-addressed by those plans.

A new method of urban water stewardship: Coopelluvia

Newcomb focused her research on water commoning, which is an opportunity for a new method of urban water stewardship: one that empowers individuals and neighborhoods to engage directly with building and maintaining local water supplies. A water commons is the shared collection, distribution, and management of water as a resource.

Evaluating the San Fernando Valley as a case study, specifically within low-income Latino neighborhoods, Newcomb’s investigation focuses on a process of commoning between residents using rainwater harvesting as a platform for untapped economic, social, and cultural potentials. The goal is to produce new methods and models for a hyper-local water supply, inhabiting the thresholds between private and public properties to produce multi-benefit hydro-social space.

How to build a water commons

Residents are encouraged to use Newcomb’s helpful pamphlet to get started on How to Build a Water Commons. For more depth on the science, policy, and cultural thinking behind the project, read her full report, Coopelluvia.

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