Pipes to Parks: Creating Greenspaces with Rainwater in Atlanta, Georgia
Redefining How Decision-Makers Approach Community Planning
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is host to the Park Prides’s Parks and Greenspace Conference on March 31, 2014.
The year’s theme is “Pipes to Parks: Creating Greenspaces with Rainwater.” The conference focus is on rainwater and the bourgeoning field of green infrastructure, a set of techniques used to divert rainwater runoff from overwhelmed sewers and drainage pipes and into parks as water features, into bio-swales, or into rooftop gardens.
The term Green Infrastructure refers to sustainable and natural management techniques that harvest, treat and utilize rain runoff in greenspaces such as parks, bio-swales, constructed wetlands and rooftop gardens, diverting water away from and reducing a need for traditional “gray” infrastructure (i.e. sewers and drainage pipes).
Green infrastructure is the hot topic in sustainability as businesses and cities race to take advantage of both the fiscal and societal benefits presented by its implementation.
Economic, Social and Environmental Value
“Municipalities nationwide are discovering the economic, social, and environmental value of green infrastructure as a way to create and expand the reach of parks and greenspaces in communities,” sad Carlos Perez, the Chairman of the Parks and Greenspace Conference.
The nationally recognized Historic Fourth Ward Park is one such example, built around a water retention basin doubling as a lake that collects excessive rainwater runoff, ending the recurring flooding in the surrounding area.
Walt Ray, Park Pride’s Director of Visioning, feels that green infrastructure elevates parks from being ‘optional community amenities’ to vital components of healthy communities. “The topic redefines how decision makers approach community planning, and is especially relevant with the record amount of rainfall Atlanta is experiencing this year; the existing infrastructure has been overstressed and there is a great opportunity to leverage green infrastructure for improvements in city parks.”
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