“Flooding has become a deadly problem in China, especially in major cities. As this Economist article notes, the country’s urban land has more than doubled in the last 20 years, and cities sometimes expand right into the floodplains,” wrote Janice Kaspersen. “Sponge cities are an approach to what we commonly call green infrastructure—an attempt to reduce flooding and infiltrate stormwater runoff in some of the areas most affected by rapid urbanization.”
Runoff Control at Four Scales
FLASHBACK TO 2006: “The urban environments that we can build using LID will be healthier, more sustainable and use less natural resources then the ones we grew up in,” stated Bert van Duin at the Cochrane Innovations in Urban Development Conference
“LID is a practical and cost-effective approach to reducing and/or better managing the impacts of urbanization on our landscape in order to leave a better place for our children and grandchildren,” stated Bert van Duin. This is an exciting turning point in how we can reduce the impacts of urban development on watersheds.”
FLASHBACK TO 2007: Township of Langley Showcased Green Infrastructure Innovation in Three New Neighbourhoods
The goal in showcasing innovation and celebrating successes was to promote networking, build regional capacity, and move ‘from awareness to action’ – through sharing of green infrastructure approaches, tools, experiences and lessons learned. “After many years of what you would call research, we are now in the developmental phase,” stated Ramin Seifi in 2007 at the Langley event. “We will be monitoring and measuring what matters. This will enable residents and Council to maintain their focus over time.”
City as Platform is more than a tour, and more than just a conference session—it is a hands-on, collaborative learning experience in the field. First debuted at CNU 24 in Detroit, it made an encore appearance at CNU 25 in Seattle and featured the Belltown neighbourhood. It is an ideal laboratory, said Isabelle Giasson, for expanding GSI (Green Stormwater Infrastructure) to meet multiple community outcomes.
Bigger Pipes or Greener Communities: “Projected changes in land use and climate have nearly equivalent effects on flooding,” says Chris Jensen
“The effects that climate change may have on flood hazard is a concern for many local governments and citizens in British Columbia. Planning for future changes in precipitation is important, but it should not overshadow the significance that day-to-day development has on stream flows,” stated Chris Jensen. “Local governments may not be able to change future storm events, but they can affect how land is developed and redeveloped.”
FLASHBACK TO 2004: “Judge progress by the distance traveled, not the distance remaining,” stated Kim Stephens at Consultation Workshop that was the launch event for the BC Green Infrastructure Partnership
“We have come a long way in just four years. Our experience in bringing the vision to fruition for the UniverCity Sustainable Community on Burnaby Mountain provides relevant context. It was not that long ago that the project was hanging by a thread. We have been successful in overcoming fear and doubt,” stated Kim Stephens. “In 2000, translating high expectations for UniverCity into practical design guidelines meant revisiting accepted drainage engineering practice.”
FLASHBACK TO 2011: Capital Region’s ‘Bowker Creek Blueprint’ demonstrates that major breakthroughs happen when champions in local government and in the community share a vision and align their efforts
”People eagerly embrace the opportunities for engagement and education. They really want to share their thoughts and experiences. Residents have a stake in restoring watershed health. There is so much experience that we can mine. We who live in the watershed are the experts,” stated Soren Henrich. He helped build buy-in. He is a professional graphic artist. Among his many
contributions is the Bowker Creek Initiative logo.
FLASHBACK TO 2011: Report titled “Rooftops to Rivers II” showcased the experience of 14 cities; demonstrated the spread of Green Infrastructureto all corners of the North American continent
“Rooftops to Rivers II reveals just how far the use of green infrastructure has spread and just how adaptable it is to different regions and climates, to changes in geography and geology, and to the various issues faced by each city. Green infrastructure works everywhere,” reports Noah Garrison.
Green Infrastructure Requirements and Incentives: What was learned from a survey of 50 municipalities across the United States
Green infrastructure is an approach to stormwater management that protects, restores or mimics the natural water cycle. “States whose communities have incorporated LID or green infrastructure into stormwater management include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Washington,” reports Eva Birk.
“Our infrastructure should be as resilient as the New Yorkers that call this great city home, Managing stormwater is a critical step on our path towards sustainability. This project proves that taking care of our environment and providing amenities to the public are not mutually exclusive — in fact, quite the opposite is true. The more green infrastructure and open space we create, the greater the public’s stewardship,” stated New York City Council Member Stephen Levin.