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An ecosystem is a complex system with many parts, both and non-living.

All parts of the

system are important. If one part of the system is removed, lots of other parts can be
affected. If part of ecosystem is missing may continue for a while but in time would start
falling apart. All of the parts of the ecosystem work together. If you do not think about how
you work will affect land, water or air where you are working, you could damage that
‘ecosystem’ by poisoning the land or water, removing plants and trees or killing the fish,
insects, birds and animals that live there.

Ecological Considerations:

I. Ground Form

A geologic cross section of the Grand Canyon. Black numbers correspond to groups of
formations and white numbers correspond to formations. Ground formation is to be
considered in site selection or regarding the development of any site. The surface
features of a plot of land, which influences where and how to build a development. To
study the response of a building design to the topography of a site sections or a site, we
can use a series if site selection or a site plan with contour lines. Contour lines are
imaginary lines joining points of equal elevation above a datum or bench mark the
trajectory of each contour lines indicates the shape of the land formation at that elevation.

Patterned Ground

Pattern ground is the distinct, and often symmetrical geometric shapes formed by ground
material in periglacial regions.
Types of Patterned Ground
Patterned ground can be found in a variety of forms.

 Polygons can form either in permafrost areas or in areas that are affected by
seasonal frost.
 Circles range in size from a few centimeters to several meters in diameter.
 Steps can be developed from circles and polygons. This form of patterned ground
is generally a terrace-like feature that has a border of either larger stones or
vegetation on either sorted or unsorted material.
 Stripes are lines of stones, vegetation, and/or soil.

II. Soil and Geology

Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids, and the myriad of organisms
that together support plant life. Soil serves as a foundation for most construction projects.
Soil is intimately tied to our urgent need to provide food for ourselves and forage for our

Nine (9) Soil Orders Recognized in the Philippines

Location Position Land Use Relief
Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Old River, Nearly level to
Norte, Occidental Leeves, Fruit Trees, level
Mindoro, Batanes, Plateaus, Hilly Banana moderately
Quezon, Cagayan Areas steep lands
Terraces, Fans
Mayon, Isarog, formed from Fruit Trees,
steep to very
Andisol Zambales, mixed alluvium Banana,
steep and
Matumtum, Kanlaon of volcanic and Pineapple
Surigao, Leyte, Diversified
Nearly level
Zambales, Bicol, Floodplain, crops in the
plain to
Ilocos Sur, Ilocos rough broken alluvial plain,
Entisol complex
Norte, Palawan, land, and along fruit trees,
slopes on
Pangasinan, Samar, costal area paddy rice,
rough terrain
Ilo, Agusan coconuts under
pasture on the
hilly to
Nipa palm,
Along coastal
Hundred Islands, mashes, some
area, lakes,
Lryte, Cotabato, areas in
Histosol inland marshes Generally flat
Samar, Agusan Mindanao are
Valley, Bicol succeesful for
oil palm
Level to nearly
Samar, Agusan, level alluvial Paddy rice, Nearly level to
Iloilo, Pangsaninan, plain, terraces, diversified moderate
Zambales, Mindoro, fans, hilly and crops, fruit rugged
Palawan nearly trees landscape
terraces, fans
Tagaytay, Negros Hilly to
formed from Coffee, banana
Oriental, Bicol moderately
Mollisol mixed alluvium and diversified
Region, Bohol, steep, and flat
of volcanic and crops
Ilocos Norte lands

Undulating, Elevated plains
under cogon,
rolling hilly to fans hilly to
talahib, second
Rizal, Northern mountainous moderately
Oxisol growth blushes
Quezon, Palawan and other steep to steep
and shrubs
stable mountainous
and tree type
landscape areas
Rizal, Laguna, Pineapple, piedmont
Zambales, Cavite, Elevated cassava, plains,
Bulacan, Misamis terraces, sugarcane, moderately
Oriental, piedmond hills banana and steep, rolling
Zamboanga, Davao, and mountains forest tree hills and
Mindoro Oriental species mountain

Bulacan, Cavite,
Alluvial plains,
Bataan, Zambales, Rice, some Nearly Level to
Vertisol and alluvial
Nueva Ecija, La vegetables level
Union, Tarlac

Soils in Construction

The degree of compaction of soil is measured by its unit weight (or density) and
optimum moisture content. The process of soil compaction is simply expelling the air
from the voids or reducing air voids. As soil is compacted, soil density is increased.
Reducing, or squeezing, water from the voids is referred to as consolidation, not

In construction of streets, parking areas, embankments and many other site

development projects, it may be necessary to compact soils to increase their density.

Compaction improves the following characteristics of soils for engineering purposes:

1. Increase Strength
2. Decreases permeability
3. Reduces settlement of foundation
4. Increases slope stability of embankments

Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth by providing the primary evidence for
plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates. Geology is important
for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, evaluating water resources,
understanding of natural hazards, the remediation of environmental problems, and for
providing insights into past climate change.

Other areas of application:

The fields of engineering, environmental,

architectural and urban geology are broadly
concerned with applying the findings of geologic
studies to construction engineering and to
problems of land use. The location of a bridge,
for example, involves geologic considerations in
selecting sites for the supporting piers. The
strength of geologic materials such as rock or
compacted clay that occur at the sites of the
piers should be adequate to support the load
placed on them.

Geology is the study of the earth:

1. The materials of which it is made,

2. The structure of those materials,
3. The processes acting upon them.
4. The study of organisms that have inhabited our planet.
5. An important part of geology is the study of how Earth’s materials, structures,
processes and organisms have changed over time
III. Water Resources
Water is a combination of two elementary substances hydrogen and oxygen. It appears
in its natural state as liquid-- 830 times heavier than air, solid-- ice, gas-- vapor or steam
133 times lighter than air. The Weight of water in liquid form 3.778kg.per U.S gallon and
1.000kg.per cubic meter.

There are three source of water:

1. Rainwater or Rainfall

Advantage: Obtain from roofs and watershed. It is soft pure and good on places
where there is an abundant rainfall.
Disadvantage: Hard to store for a long time as it will be a breeding place for
mosquitoes, requires big containers for storing big quantities for long uses, roofs
may not be clean, bad for places that receives a little amount of rainfall.

2. Surface water- a mixture of surface run- off and ground water includes rivers,
pond and reservoirs

From natural surface:

Advantage: Obtained from ponds, lakes, rivers easiness of procurements and
good for locality near such bodies of water.
Disadvantage: Dangerous because it contains large amounts of bacteria,
organic and inorganic substances of varying quantities.

From underground:
Underground/ ground water- portion of the rainwater which has percolated into
the earth underground deposit called (water bearing soil formation) Ground water
can be extracted by constructing well.
Advantage: Obtained more below ground surface by means of mechanical and
manual equipment.
Disadvantage: Because of various organic matter and chemical elements
present, it requires treatment of various natures, such as sedimentation,
chemical, filtration, aerations.

Well are holes in the earth from which a fluid may be withdraw using manual or
mechanical means such as draw bucket, pump, etc.
Types of well:

 Dug wells can be constructed by hand tools/ power tool. It can have the greatest
diameter that a space may allow.
 Driven wells the simplest and usually the least expensive. A steel drive- well
point is fitted on one end of the pipe section & driven into the earth.
 Bored wells dug w/ earth augers usually less than 30m deep. These are done
when the earth to be bored is boulder free and will not cave in. the well is lined
with metal, vitrified tile or concrete.
 Drilled well require more elaborate equipment and accompanied by the lowering
of a casing.
World water supply and distribution:

Food and water are two basic human needs. However, global coverage from 2002
indicate that, of every 10 people:

 roughly 5 have a connection to a piped water supply at home

 make use of some other sort of improved water supply, such as a protected well
or public standpipe;
 2 are unserved;
 In addition, 4 out of every 10 people live without improved sanitation. At Earth
Summit 2002 governments approved a Plan of Action to:
 Halve by 2015 the proportion of people unable to reach or afford safe drinking
water. The Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report
(GWSSAR) defines "Reasonable access" to water as at least 20 liters per person
per day from a source within one kilometer of the user’s home.
 Halve the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation. The GWSSR
defines "Basic sanitation" as private or shared but not public disposal systems
that separate waste from human contact.

IV. Microclimate
Microclimate refers to very localised weather conditions around buildings or small
neighbourhood clusters. Building location and geometry can affect microclimate
especially in dense urban areas where air movement can be distorted to form wake and
downwash phenomena that reduce the liveability of external space. Tall buildings create
their own microclimate, both by overshadowing large areas and by channelling strong
winds to ground level. Wind effects around tall buildings are assessed as part of a
microclimate study.

1. Coastal regions

The coastal climate is influenced by both the land and sea between which the coast
forms a boundary. The thermal properties of water are such that the sea maintains a
relatively constant day to day temperature compared with the land. The sea also takes a
long time to heat up during the summer months and, conversely, a long time to cool
down during the winter. Coastal microclimates display different characteristics
depending on where they occur on the earth’s surface.
2. Forest

Tropical rainforests cover only about 6% of Earth’s land surface, but it is believed they
have a significant effect on the transfer of water vapour to the atmosphere. This is due
to a process known as evapotranspiration from the leaves of the forest trees.
3. Urban winds

Tall buildings can significantly disturb airflows over urban areas, and even a building
100 meters or so high can deflect and slow down the faster upperatmosphere winds.
The net result is that urban areas, in general, are less windy than surrounding rural
areas. However, the ‘office quarter’ of larger conurbations can be windier, with quite
marked gusts. This is the result of the increased surface roughness that the urban
skyline creates, leading to strong vortices and eddies.

Why use Microclimate Design?

A well-considered microclimatic strategy in the design of buildings and urban space,

help reduce exposure and to contribute to the success of well used external space.
Careful attention to building form can ensure that potentially harmful wind effects are
mitigated around tall buildings. The use of shelter belts, both natural and constructed
reduce exposure to the faces of buildings therefore reducing excessive heat loss
and protecting external finishes from premature deterioration. Microclimate is a
critical design issue for both architecture and landscape architecture disciplines and
a shared sensibility encourages effective transdiciplinary and crossdisciplinary

When to use a Microclimatic Strategy?

Designing for microclimate is relevant particularly in dispersed, low density

settlements. Conversely, it is also vital to consider in dense urban areas with a wide
variety of building plan form and height. Proposals that include external amenity and
recreational space are relevant.
V. Orientation
Design for orientation is a fundamental step to ensure that buildings work with the
passage of the sun across the sky. Knowledge of sun paths for any site is
fundamental in design building facades to let in light and passive solar gain, as well
as reducing glare and overheating to the building interior. It is important to remember
that the position of the sun in the sky is dynamic, changing according to time of day,
time of year and the site’s latitude.

Why consider building orientation?

Well-orientated buildings maximize day lighting through building facades reducing

the need for artificial lighting. Some typologies especially housing can be zoned to
ensure different functional uses receive sunlight at different times of the day.A
careful strategy can also mitigate overheating and glare when sunlight is excessive.
You should know how the sun interacts with your building in high summer and the
depths of winter.

Layout and orientation must be considered from the beginning of the design

 Orientation for passive heating and cooling

 Choosing a site
 Building location
 Layout
 Overcoming obstacles

Orientation, layout and location on site will all influence the amount of sun a building
receives and therefore its year-round temperatures and comfort. Other
considerations include access to views and cooling breezes.

Orientation and layout will also be influenced by topography, wind speed and
direction, the site’s relationship with the street, the location of shade elements such
as trees and neighboring buildings, and vehicle access and parking.
Orientation for passive heating and cooling:

 For maximum solar gain, a building will be located, oriented and designed to
maximize window area facing north (or within 20 degrees of north)
 Orientation for solar gain will also depend on other factors such as proximity
to neighboring buildings and trees that shade the site.

For solar gain, as well as considering location, orientation and window size and
placement, it is also important to consider the thermal performance and solar heat
gain efficiency of the glazing unit itself

Important considerations of solar gain for passive heating is important:

 Noise
 Daylighting
 protection from prevailing winds
 access to breezes for ventilation
 shade to prevent summer overheating and glare
 Views
 Privacy
 Access
 indoor/outdoor flow
 owners’ preferences
 covenants and planning restrictions

Reference: Ecological Consideration of Site

1. Habitats critical to ecological processes:

At the level of a landscape or region, certain natural habitat types are especially
important for the ecological functioning or species diversity of the ecosystem.
Unusual climatic or edaphic (soilbased) conditions may create local biodiversity
hotspots or disproportionally support ecological processes such as hydrologic
patterns, nutrient cycling, and structural complexity. For these reasons, preservation
of specific habitats (usually the remaining natural areas within the landscape) should
be a priority.

What constitutes habitats critical to ecological processes and how do they

contribute to ecological integrity?

Historically, environmental impact assessments have identified the potential impacts

of project activities on habitats of concern. Initially such habitats were confined to
those supporting commercially or recreationally important fish and game species.
With the passage of the Endangered Species Act and Section 404 of the Clean
Water Act, both critical habitat for threatened and endangered species and wetlands
received close attention. In recent years, an appreciation for the vast array of other
species and habitats (e.g., old growth forests) that are potentially affected by human
activities has arisen under the banner of biodiversity conservation. Conservation
biologists have been virtually unanimous in their contention that it is the destruction
of habitats worldwide that most threatens biodiversity and the sustainability of
Within the landscape, certain habitats disproportionately contribute to ecosystem
functioning. In general these are the remaining natural areas, especially those that
integrate the flows of water, nutrients, energy, and biota through the watershed or
region (Polunin and Worthington 1990). The concept is analogous to that of
keystone species that have a disproportionate effect on community structure (Paine
1969). Forests, rangelands, and aquatic ecosystems all have unique or critical
habitats that support the provision of ecosystem services within the landscape. In
addition, ecotones (the boundary or transition zone between plant communities) may
be especially important for processing resources, as they frequently have more
individuals and species (Hunter 1990).

The best understood examples of habitats critical to ecosystem functioning are

wetlands. Wetlands provide flood storage, water purification, and nursery habitat for
fish, birds, and other animals. A saltmarsh can be thought of as a "keystone
ecosystem," because it provides critical nutrients and organic matter to the adjacent
estuary (Hunter 1996). Calls for no net loss of wetlands recognize the need to
maintain a critical amount of wetlands to sustain regional ecosystem services.
Another example of a keystone ecosystem would be a river that mediates the spread
of fire and sustains fire-sensitive islands. Forests are well known as critical habitats
for many species, providing food, shelter, and climate amelioration. Remnant forest
patches as also important as a refuge during migration and as a source for
recolonization of other patches. Less appreciated is the fact that natural forests can
absorb twice as much water as plantation forests, slowing runoff and erosion (Noss
and Peters 1995).

How are habitats critical to ecological processes affected by human activities?

The proximate cause of ecosystem or habitat loss is land conversion or other

activities that degrade natural habitats to the point that they become different
environments. Ecosystems are also degraded when habitats remain but their
composition, structure, or function is substantially altered. The ultimate cause of
habitat loss and degradation is the expanding human population and the need to
secure land and water for human uses. The following major activities may cause the
loss of habitats critical to ecological processes:
• Land conversion to industrial and residential land use
• Land conversion to agriculture
• Land conversion to transportation
• Timber harvesting practices
• Grazing practices
• Mining practices
• Water management practices
• Military, recreational, and other activities

Environmental analyses of these activities arise during both broad programmatic

reviews and specific project environmental impact statements. The following
common projects entail significant impacts to habitats and may require federal

• Community and public land use development, including planning, regulation, and
federal funding for building construction and highway development
• Renewable resource use and development (logging and grazing) on public lands or
requiring permits

• Energy production, including petroleum, natural gas, and coal development,

extraction, generation, transmission, and use

• Non-energy mineral resource development, processing, management, transport,

and use
• Water projects and permits for wetland modification

• Natural resources conservation, including protection of environmentally critical



APL 321
Planning 01 Site Planning and Landscape Architecture
TWTh 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Requirement No: MT-07

“Ecological Considerations of Site Development”

Micua, Patleen Monica N. 2nd Sem 2017-2018

BS Architecture 3 Arch. Nelco Paul Coquia