Category:

Smaller Hydrologic Footprint

China is building 30 ‘sponge cities’ that aim to soak up floodwater and prevent disaster


“Launched in 2015, the Sponge City Initiative invests in projects that aim to soak up floodwater. The projects are being built in 30 cities. By 2020, China hopes that 80% of its urban areas will absorb and re-use at least 70% of rainwater,” wrote Leanna Garfield. “The initiative is facing some challenges. After surveying all 30 cities, the researchers noticed several roadblocks, including planning models that are too homogeneous and not locally specific.”

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WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – Reduce risk, reduce financial liability by implementing the Whole-System, Water Balance Approach (watch the webcast)


“We were delighted to have Kim Stephens and Jim Dumont share British Columbia’s cutting-edge continuous simulation model, known as the Water Balance Methodology, via a Forester University webcast,” stated Emily Shine. “At Forester University, we aim to position ourselves at the forefront of innovation in rainwater management and green infrastructure, and that is why we described Water Balance Methodology as a webinar that could not be missed.”

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MIMIC THE WATER BALANCE: Flashback to 2013 – the United States can learn from British Columbia experience, concluded Paul Crabtree, leader of the US-based Rainwater in Context Initiative


“The Canadians do appear to be ahead of the US in this field because the US EPA took a really bad approach to LID that was based on the premise that enforcing every site to the same standard would somehow fix the problems of water quality in the US,” commented Paul Crabtree. “The USA EPA approach has done some good, but has several crippling drawbacks.”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: A watershed moment at the Gaining Ground Leadership Summit – “Practices that until now have been viewed as the exception must become the norm,” stated Dale Wall, Deputy Minister in his keynote address (May 2008)


The Deputy Minister used the occasion of a keynote address at the Gaining Ground Summit to make an inter-ministerial announcement. “We are using the slogan The New Business As Usual to convey the message that… to further advance implementation of green infrastructure…. we have to build regulatory models and develop models of practice and expertise,” stated Dale Wall, Deputy Minister.

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: “Topsoil is the interface between rainwater management and drought management,” stated Ray Fung when the Green Infrastructure Partnership released the Topsoil Primer Set


Rainwater management is about managing the spectrum of rainfall events, and is at the heart of water-centric green infrastructure. “An absorbent topsoil layer has emerged as a fundamental building block for achieving water sustainability outcomes through implementation of green infrastructure,” stated Ray Fung. “If we can show how to get the topsoil part right, then other parts of the water sustainability equation are more likely to follow.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: Philadelphia Urban Water Leadership Conference represents a “watershed moment” in the United States because it linked green infrastructure practices to water sustainability outcomes


“The Clean Water America Alliance brought together green infrastructure leaders from around the United States,” recalls Howard Neukrig. “A number of themes emerged during the conference, including: Green infrastructure has multiple economic, social, and environmental benefits, but it must work within the greater quilt of water management that includes traditional gray infrastructure.”

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When nature is utilized in an infrastructure system, it is called “green infrastructure”


“The study by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) demonstrates that green infrastructure is prevalent across the United States and its use is likely to expand because of the benefits provided. As the use of green infrastructure becomes more common, builders and developers should understand the options available, as well the green infrastructure practices that may be the most practical for their region and climate,” wrote Ed Shadrick.

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Cities Face a Plethora of Challenges in a Rapidly Urbanizing World: Developer Jonathan Rose on The Well-Tempered City


Margaret Jackson writes that: “In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan Rose condenses a lifetime of research and firsthand experience into a model for designing and reshaping cities with a goal of equalizing their prospects for opportunity. ‘The most competitive cities have the most flat or equal landscape of opportunity,’ Rose says. We can measure all of this and make decisions to achieve these outcomes’.”

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NEW REPORT: Green infrastructure significantly reduces flood damages


“Green Infrastructure (GI) is necessary for water quality and stream health, and enhances community resiliency and environmental protection. In addition to these benefits, GI reduces government expenditures and protects existing investments in flood control. However, to be effective, GI must be implemented at the watershed level and communities must realize that they will all benefit from each other’s investments,” explains Dan Medina.

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“When a ‘design with nature’ ethic guides community development, the drainscape becomes a rainscape,” explains Daniel Roehr, founder of the Greenskins Lab at the University of British Columbia


“DRainscapes” is a three-minute animation that explains the link between a single yard and the watershed system. “Finding ways to share the tools of our profession with wide audiences is increasingly necessary. It defines our ability to quickly adapt to our increasingly erratic environment, as citizens and cities implement the tools we have created to mitigate the impacts of development and climate change,” states Daniel Roehr.

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