Join us for Holly Yaryan Hall’s Dissertation Defense!

Join us on November 1 at 2:30 for Holly Yaryan Hall’s dissertation defense.  The topic of her dissertation is “Innovative Approaches to Urban Riverscape Planning and Design.” 

Email Gin Bacon Talati at for access to the Zoom information!




(Under the Direction of Brian Bledsoe)


An urban riverscape holistically integrates natural forms and processes with human benefits and influences, and management can benefit from specialized tools for transdisciplinary communication, strategic planning, and technical design. I present three integrative approaches that support balancing social and ecological influences, equitable provisioning of benefits, and dynamic equilibrium of urban riverscapes. First, I create a conceptual urban stream model that integrates the natural system with human dimensions, supporting discussion about key questions: What is an urban stream? What are the components, interactions, and potential functions and services of an urban riverscape? This communication tool serves as a natural infrastructure (NI) management and decision-support framework, reflecting a broad spectrum of urban riverscape benefits like flood protection, water quality, and ecosystem support, plus social influences and values including sustainable development, human connectivity, and environmental justice. Then, I develop a spatial prioritization approach for responding to additional questions: What do we want? How do we choose among the many environmental challenges and potential NI opportunities? The urban riverscape multi-criteria decision analysis is a planning tool that supports shared decision-making for equitable NI by incorporating multiple spatial scales and balancing management objectives. Through a collaborative, real-world case study, I implement novel variations of equity metrics, in the process discovering how watershed and sub-basin scales influence the discovery of environmental inequity hotspots. Finally, I expand and enhance a technical tool that supports stable channel design by balancing water and sediment, integrated over time, using the capacity/supply ratio. Sediment transport is one of the most misunderstood natural components of an urban stream system, despite being the fundamental link between channel forms and processes, key to physical equilibrium. While potential applications are not limited to urban riverscapes, this design and assessment tool is especially useful for riverscapes constrained by built infrastructure and impacted streams that lack sufficient time and space for self-recovery.