What is the future of our city regions? Will they be unbearably hot and regularly flooded by intense rains and high tides? Will they be increasingly unhealthy and more divided between 'us and them'? Will there be a lack of green space and job opportunities? CitiesAlive provides green infrastructure solutions to urban challenges by bringing together designers, researchers, contractors, manufacturers, and policymakers. Discover how to shape a healthier, more resilient future in NYC this September. CitiesAlive 2018 will explore topics like flood management, biodiversity, biophilic design, urban agriculture, vertical forests, coastal greening, green finance, new performance metrics, advancements in green infrastructure policy and regulations and new research findings from over 80 expert speakers. The Architect's Newspaper's network receives 10% off Basic Delegate Passes by using the code ‘archnews10’ during registrations for CitiesAlive 2018. For more information and to register please visit citiesalive.org.
Posts tagged with "Green Infrastructure":
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is partnering with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to expand the city’s already extensive Green Infrastructure Program. The City is working under a Clean Water Act consent order to manage the first inch of rainwater on 10 percent of the city’s impervious surfaces by 2030. In order to meet those goals, the DEP is realizing the importance of broadening their scope and finding opportunities on both private and public land. Stormwater management is key to maintaining the health of New York’s waterways, as heavy rains can overburden city sewers and lead to overflows that pollute the city’s canals and rivers. Eliminating overflows is a key step in maintaining the stipulations of the Clean Water Act, which was introduced in 1972 to curb pollution. The program has already been responsible for the installation of more than 1,000 curbside rain gardens (also known as bioswales) throughout Brooklyn and Queens, which have helped to reduce sewage overflows into Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal.On public property the benefits of green infrastructure is obvious. In addition to reducing flooding and sewer overflows, the installation of rain gardens and green roofs improves air quality for residents and beautifies streetscapes. Now, they’re setting their sights on private property in order to manage rainfall that lands places other than city streets. The DEP is collaborating with the NRDC to find the right incentives that will convince private property owners to install green roofs or porous pavements, which means establishing an economic benefit to managing stormwater.“We know [the DEP] can source green infrastructure on private property, and that many of those opportunities are lower-cost than comparable stormwater capture on public land,” says Valderrama. “The puzzle for us is how to structure the program so that it’s a win for private property owners and vendors so that those low-cost retrofit opportunities are brought to the table.” This will be especially important on areas being used for commercial and industrial purposes. “It all comes down to the program structure,” said Alisa Valderrama, senior policy analyst at the NRDC. “What we’re trying to do here is create a market where there is none.” The NRDC has also worked with the cities of Seattle and Philadelphia on green infrastructure programs for managing stormwater. In the case of Philadelphia, the city builds the cost of treating stormwater into residents’ water bill based on the amount of impervious surfaces on the property. In this way, porous pavements and rain gardens provide an immediate economic benefit in the form of a greatly reduced fee. Collected stormwater can be used for green facades and urban farming, providing an additional benefit to reducing stress on water treatment systems. As technology improves and cities like New York establish a market for green infrastructure on private property, initiatives like this will likely continue to evolve and grow with benefit to both residents and the environment.
Detroit's Water & Sewerage Department hopes an experiment in so-called blue infrastructure will help the cash-strapped city stop flushing money down the drain. The Detroit Free Press reported that a pilot project in the far east side area of Jefferson Village will divert stormwater runoff into a series of small wetlands and pieces of green infrastructure to reduce the pressure on an overloaded city sewer system. Such experiments in alternative stormwater management could save owners of large, impervious surfaces like parking lots tens of thousands of dollars each year in forgone drainage fees, while the city could save millions by scaling back or scrapping expensive, "gray infrastructure" investments like newer sewer pipes. But the plan, which is expected to be ready in a few months, is not a done deal, writes John Gallagher in the Detorit Free Press:
It is by no means a simple problem to solve. Multiple licenses and approvals would be needed from a variety of agencies, including the city itself, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and others. But there is great enthusiasm among experts for trying the experiment. Blue infrastructure is a key recommendation of the Detroit Future City visionary framework and has been much talked about in recent years, but nothing of this magnitude has been done so far in Detroit. So far, "blue infrastructure" in metro Detroit has meant the creation of porous parking lots and so-called "green alleys" that allow rain and snowmelt to filter down into the ground beneath instead of running off into sewers.Across the nation urbanists and landscape designers are embracing innovative stormwater capture and retention techniques as concerns over climate change, flooding and drought collide with a renewed interest in public spaces and site design.
As new apartment buildings continue to rise in Gowanus, Brooklyn, New York City's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced plans to install 90 bioswales nearby in hopes of cleaning the neighborhood's eponymous—and oh-so-polluted—canal. DNAinfo reported that starting this summer, the DEP will plan the so-called "curbside gardens" in hopes of soaking up about 8 million gallons of stormwater runoff, ultimately helping the overall ecological well-being of the Gowanus Canal. "Investing in green infrastructure is a cost-effective way to improve the health of the Gowanus Canal, green neighborhood streets and clean the air we all breathe," said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd in a statement to DNAinfo. This bioswale program is part of New York City's larger, multi-billion dollar effort to use green infrastructure to capture stormwater and beautify streets. As AN reported last fall: "Thanks to a landmark 2012 settlement with state environmental officials, New York City finally is taking major steps to manage stormwater near contaminated waterways that don’t comply with the Clean Water Act, such as the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek. The initiative includes an ambitious plan to spend $2.4 billion on green infrastructure, which can include streetscapes designed with materials such as structural soil and permeable pavers."
Five state capitals will get help from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop green infrastructure that could help mitigate the cost of natural disasters and climate change. Resiliency, whether it be in the context of global warming or natural and manmade catastrophes, has become a white-hot topic in the design world, especially since Superstorm Sandy battered New York City in 2012. EPA selected the following cities for this year's Greening America's Capitals program through a national competition: Austin, Texas; Carson City, Nev.; Columbus, Ohio; Pierre, S.D.; and Richmond, Va. Since 2010, 18 capitals and Washington, D.C. have participated in the program, which is administered by the EPA in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. In each city, EPA will provide technical assistance to help design and build infrastructure that uses natural systems to manage stormwater. Here's a bit on each of the new projects via EPA:
· Austin, Texas, will receive assistance to create design options to improve pedestrian and bike connections in the South Central Waterfront area, and to incorporate green infrastructure that reduces stormwater runoff and localized flooding, improves water quality, and increases shade. · Carson City, Nev., will receive assistance to improve William Street, a former state highway that connects to the city's downtown. The project will help the city explore how to incorporate green infrastructure through the use of native plants, and to enhance the neighborhood's economic vitality. · Columbus, Ohio, will receive assistance to develop design options for the Milo-Grogan neighborhood that use green infrastructure to improve stormwater quality, reduce flooding risks, and encourage walking and cycling. · Pierre, S.D., will receive assistance to redesign its historic main street, South Pierre, in a way that uses green infrastructure to reduce stormwater runoff and improve resiliency to extreme climate conditions. · Richmond, Va., will receive assistance to design options for more parks and open spaces, and to incorporate green infrastructure to better manage stormwater runoff on Jefferson Avenue, a street which serves as the gateway to some of Richmond's oldest and most historic neighborhoods.
Chicago’s plan to revitalize troubled South Side neighborhoods with green infrastructure, urban farming and transit-friendly development is moving ahead. The city’s Plan Commission heard a presentation last week on the Green Healthy Neighborhoods program, which in 2011 announced its attention to lure investment to the Englewood, Woodlawn and Washington Park neighborhoods (read AN’s coverage here). While the urban agriculture component initially grabbed headlines—renderings show an old rail line repurposed as the “New Era Trail,” which would link urban farms and community gardens with a park-like promenade—the wide-ranging proposals also include developing retail clusters around transit nodes and street improvements for bikers and pedestrians. Funding is still up in the air, but the project will seek financing through the department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. You can see the full plan here.
Last Thursday in his keynote address to the Transit Oriented Los Angeles conference, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the creation of the "Great Streets Initiative." In an executive directive—his first since taking office on June 30—Garcetti outlined a program that "will focus on developing streets that activate the public realm, provide economic revitalization, and support great neighborhoods." Garcetti defined "great streets" as accessible and walkable, with landscaping, shade, larger sidewalks, improved storm water drainage and green features. Turning to aesthetics, Garcetti said simply: "design matters." Los Angeles' streets should make room for sculptures and murals, and not just functional components, he argued. The "Great Streets Working Group" will direct the initiative. Led by Garcetti's Deputy Mayor of City Services, the gathering will include representatives of Departments of Planning, Cultural Affairs, Transportation, and Economic & Workforce Development, plus the Department of Public Works's Bureaus of Engineering, Street Services, Street Lighting, and Sanitation. Their first task will be to develop a plan in which 40 streets are identified for upgrades.
On Friday, three winners of the Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! design competition were announced following deliberation by a jury of sustainable stormwater infrastructure industry insiders at Drexel University on Thursday. Created by the Philadelphia Water Department, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Community Design Collaborative, the competition called for creative and sustainable solutions for Philadelphia’s stormwater management. Architects, landscape architects, engineers, and other professionals formed 28 teams to provide innovative means for urban infrastructure to transform the city. From nine finalists, three winners were selected, each responding to a different urban context (industrial, commercial, and neighborhood) and cashing in on the $10,000 prize. Winner, Neighborhood - Greening the Grid Meeting Green (Pictured at top) Team Members: OLIN, Philadelphia, PA Gilmore & Associates, New Britain, PA International Consultants, Philadelphia, PA MM Partners, Philadelphia, PA Penn Praxis SMP Architects, Philadelphia, PA Winner, Commercial - Retail Retrofit Stormwater reStore Team Members: Urban Engineers, Philadelphia, PA Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, New York, NY Spiezle Architectural Group, Trenton, NJ Winner, Industrial - Warehouse Watershed Leveraging Water + Plants in Zero Lot Sites Team Members: Roofmeadow, Philadelphia, PA In Posse - A Subsidiary of AKF, Philadelphia, PA m2 Architecture, Philadelphia, PA Meliora Environmental Design, Phoenixville, PA SED Design, Blue Bell, PA Sere, Spring Mills, PA