Broward County has been approaching “build-out” for the past several years. The resultant lack of available land for new development has stimulated urban redevelopment and increased urban density. These urban developments are characterized by a higher percentage of impervious surfaces, such as buildings and pavement, to offset the space limitations. The increased densification means less space for other infrastructure, such as stormwater management and onsite landscaping/green space.
Developers and site designers often attempt to solve the stormwater management and green space/landscape issues separately. This bifurcated approach sometimes results in incompatibility with either a dysfunctional landscape or stormwater management system, or possibly both. This approach may also waste valuable land that could be used, instead, for activities that promote a vibrant and more attractive urban neighborhood.
Meeting this challenge is not an easy task, but there are alternative approaches to accommodate dense urban and suburban development while incorporating the aesthetic beauty, water quality treatment, and flood protection provided by natural systems. These approaches are: Front Loaded Design, Low Impact Development and Green Technologies. All three are similar in concept and incorporate many of the same design elements that encourage the integration of stormwater management into all aspects of site design by considering stormwater as a resource. The basic principles behind these approaches are:
Front Loaded Design:
- Assemble a design team that consists of professionals from land planning, architecture, landscape architecture and civil engineering during the early feasibility stages of site design;
- Use a multi-disciplinary approach to foster collaboration between design professionals and leads to a better understanding of how the components of the site can work together to replicate natural conditions;
- Ensure the long-term compatibility of a functional stormwater system and a mature and attractive landscape.
Low Impact Design:
- Infiltrate stormwater as close to the source as possible;
- Keep the rain in contact with the soil and vegetation for as long as possible;
- Limit stormwater runoff by reducing unnecessary impervious surfaces;
- Identify locations where stormwater runoff is generated and put best management practices at each location.
- Integrate stormwater into the design as an amenity to provide multifunctional uses;
- Consider the entire site for stormwater management purposes, even rooftops;
- Design stormwater management features that are functional, attractive and achieve multiple benefits from a single expenditure.
The cobbled look of this pervious pavement makes it a nice addition to downtown areas, which typically have the worst stormwater runoff problems. Courtesy of UCF Stormwater Management Academy
Dry ponds are areas that periodically pool with water, reducing the amount of runoff during periods of heavy rainfall. Courtesy of UCF Stormwater Management Academy
Incorporating functional green spaces into developments, like these infiltration gardens, increases property value and creates a more pleasant environment for living. Courtesy of Eric Livingston