A Paradigm Shift in Urban Runoff

Christine MacDonald looks at efforts by everyone from home gardeners to municipal water authorities to rethink and rebuild the infrastructure to handle urban runoff.

As cities across the country seek to improve the quality of their waterways by ending the "scourge of sewerage overflows" and polluted runoff, efforts large and small are contributing to capturing and filtering rain water where it falls.

"Once, cities were built to channel storm water away from building foundations and roadways. But as urban areas have grown, rooftops, streets and other impervious surfaces have disrupted cities' natural hydrology. Today, everyone from water authorities to home gardeners are looking to absorb rain where it falls, eschewing traditional treatment plants and underground sewerage tunnels that effectively neutralize runoff, but don't do much else.", writes MacDonald.

Beautifying streets, saving money, and providing habitat for wildlife are just some of the benefits of such efforts.

See also our recent feature on moving Beyond Low Impact Development for a more in-depth analysis of the current challenges, and five proposed strategies, for effective stormwater management.

Full Story: Why Every City Should Be Planting Rain Gardens

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city

Choose from over 20 styles of neckties imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95