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New stormwater management techniques can use rainwater to create amenities that enhance a site’s attractiveness or value. This concept—“artful rainwater design”—both addresses stormwater management in environmentally responsible ways and creates expressive landscapes that celebrate stormwater. Through an analysis of 20 exemplary designs, the goals and objectives of stormwater management as a site amenity, as well as specific design techniques for its accomplishment, are explained. Five amenity goals drawn from the case studies—education, recreation, safety, public relations, and aesthetic richness—are identified, categorized, and described. The paper concludes by discussing the future of artful rainwater design.
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Landscape Journal 27:2–08 ISSN 0277-2426
© 2008 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
opportunities. As these new strategies are integrated
into projects, they can either be concealed under-
ground in pipes and vaults, or celebrated on the surface
as site amenities that increase landscape attractiveness
or value—this is artful rain water design. Addressing the
amenity aspect provides a useful strategy for ensuring
that storm water management “starts at the source,” as
so many experts have advised (Richman 1999; Ferguson
1991; Liptan 2005; Schueler, Kumble, and Heraty 1992;
Coman 2000; France 2002).
This article oers a systematic analysis of the de-
sign strategies used in 20 innovative ARD projects.
Its purpose is (1) to clarify the goals and objectives of
storm water management conceived as site amenity,
and (2) to provide transferable knowledge to designers
interested in creating ARD projects.
The concept of storm water system as site amenity is
not new. Skillfully designed detention systems (typi-
cally naturalized ponds) have long been recognized for
their aesthetic and community value (Bookout 1994a;
Ferguson and Debo 1994; Tunney 2001). New storm -
water management techniques such as bio- retention
gardens that beautify the streetscape are taking hold
in communities such as Maplewood and Burnsville,
Minnesota (MPCA 2005). A few books and articles have
identifi ed the desirability of addressing the “amenity
potential” of storm water management (Göransson
1998; Wenk 1998; Niemczynowicz 1999; Thompson and
Sorvig 2000; Dreiseitl, Grau, and Ludwig 2001; Dreiseitl
and Grau 2005). In addition, Landscape Architecture has
profi led many examples of ARD (for example, Leccese
1997; Thompson 1999, 2004; Brown 2001; Echols and
Pennypacker 2006). However, only a few publications
have tried to clarify what is meant by amenity in storm -
water management. Two stand out: SUDS (Sustainable
Urban Drainage Systems) literature in the United King-
dom, and publications by Peter Stahre on eorts in the
city of Malmö, Sweden.
ABSTRACT New storm water management techniques can use
rain water to create amenities that enhance a site’s attractive-
ness or value. This concept—“artful rain water design”—both ad-
dresses storm water management in environmentally responsible
ways and creates expressive landscapes that celebrate storm -
water. Through an analysis of 20 exemplary designs, the goals
and objectives of storm water management as a site amenity, as
well as specifi c design techniques for its accomplishment, are
explained. Five amenity goals drawn from the case studies—
education, recreation, safety, public relations, and aesthetic
richness—are identifi ed, categorized, and described. The paper
concludes by discussing the future of artful rain water design.
KEYWORDS Amenity, design, landscape, storm water tech-
niques, urban drainage
Rain falls on developed land and is drained away in
various ways. It is one thing to divert storm water
to underground pipes and concrete vaults, disposing
of the water as a waste product with a high probability
of degrading aquatic ecosystems downstream. It is an-
other thing to address storm water in environmentally
responsible ways through best management practices
(BMPs) that control runo rate, volume, frequency,
duration, and quality to promote the ecological health
of our waterways. But it is another thing again to em-
ploy environmental BMPs in designs that call attention
to storm water management in ways that educate and
delight those who visit. This third approach—eective
storm water management as art form—is what we call
“artful rain water design” (ARD).1
Storm water management is an essential compo-
nent of almost every land- planning and site- design
project.2 Although many view industrial activity as
the major culprit in water pollution, 70 percent of
water pollution in our country comes from non- point
sources such as urban runo (USEPA 2005a). The re-
appropriated Clean Water Act of 1972 and the subse-
quent National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
now require thousands of municipal governments to
implement storm water management programs that
reduce non- point source pollution. Traditional end-
of- pipe, out- of- sight solutions will not work. Instead,
the new paradigm of small, safe, integrated BMPs that
manage runo close to the source creates new design
From Storm water Management
to Artful Rain water Design
Stuart Echols and Eliza Pennypacker
Echols and Pennypacker 269
fare are well established (Roesner and Matthews 1990;
Tourbier 1994). Protecting or creating aquatic habitat
has also become a leading goal (Coman 2000; Hager
2001). Utilitarian goals commonly include promoting
ground water recharge, reducing pollutant loads, pro-
tecting stream channels, preventing increased overbank
ooding, and safely conveying large fl oods (Schueler,
Kumble, and Heraty 1992; USEPA 2005b). Common
storm water management objectives (Ferguson and
Debo 1994) and the varied techniques for accomplish-
ing them (Hager 2001; Urbonas, Roesner, and Sonnen
1989) are presented in Table 1.
In contrast to the extensive publication on storm -
water management utility goals, no methodical study
of the goals, objectives, and techniques for the ame-
nity component of ARD exists. The few current publi-
cations that address amenity issues are limited to de-
scribing or critiquing specifi c designs. Our intent is to
move beyond this descriptive work to bring specifi city
to amenity goals and objectives related to storm water
management and to identify design techniques used to
achieve those goals.
In the United Kingdom, policies introduced ame-
nity factors as a facet of storm water management in the
early 2000s through new concepts such as the “urban
drainage triangle” (Figure 1). Sustainable urban drain-
age regulations in the United Kingdom now require
quality, quantity, and amenity to be considered equally
in evaluating new drainage plans (CIRIA 2001). Al-
though the SUDS defi nition of amenity focused initially
on providing open space and wildlife habitat, SUDS in-
cludes “community value, resource management (e.g.,
rain water use), multi- use of space, education, water
features, habitat creation, biodiversity action plans
(National SUDS Working Group 2003, 60). Peter Stahre
has taken a similar view: “The characteristic feature of
the new approach to urban drainage is that quantity
and quality issues are handled together with amenity”
(Stahre 2005, 2). Stahre also identifi es the positive val-
ues of open storm drainage as shown in Figure 2 (Stahre
2006, 13).
Abundant literature addresses the utility goals, ob-
jectives, and techniques of storm water management.
Though the goals and techniques are evolving, the basic
principles of protecting public health, safety, and wel-
Figure 1. Development of more sustain-
able urban drainage systems and the
“urban drainage triangle” (CIRIA 2001).
Figure 2. Positive values of open storm
drainage (Stahre 2006).
270 Landscape Journal 27:2–08
“attractiveness or value” in terms of mainstream West-
ern aesthetics. Second, for practical reasons the proj-
ects studied herein are all in the United States. The true
substance of this study—articulation of amenity goals
and objectives, and exploration of the design tech-
niques used to achieve them—is presented by parsing
goals, objectives, and techniques into discrete catego-
ries. This simple presentation format is intended to
provide a clear explanatory system, but undoubtedly
readers will categorize these dierently and surely de-
velop a more nuanced ARD outline for their own use.
A small number of design fi rms have pursued the
innovative approach that we call artful rain water de-
sign. The results are precedent- setting designs that em-
ploy new storm water management strategies in artful
and expressive ways. We developed a list of ARD projects
from around the nation by reviewing the past ten years
of ASLA and AIA awards for designs whose clear intent
included storm water management systems devised to
create site amenities, namely increased attractiveness
or value focused on the experience of rain water. We
then asked the project designers, as well as experts in
storm water issues, to recommend other designs rep-
resenting the best in ARD. We reviewed the most fre-
quently recommended projects and arrived at a list that
represents a diversity of setting, project type, and runo
treatment methods.
We acknowledge that this selection process was
infl uenced by the exposure and relative popularity of
specifi c ARD projects nationwide; admittedly, many
exciting projects were omitted simply because they
were unknown to us or to our informants. We have
chosen to accept this as a necessary limitation of in-
vestigating a new and evolving design subject. Hence,
this selection process used information- oriented sam-
pling as opposed to random sampling because we
were interested in investigating current ARD projects
with the richest design information. A glance at the list
also reveals that most of the case studies are located
in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. Clearly
this geographic restriction poses another limitation to
this study, but it is not surprising that 18 of 20 consis-
We begin our analysis by oering our own defi ni-
tion of ARD amenity: In the context of ARD, amenity
is understood as a feature focused on the experience of
storm water in a way that increases the landscape’s at-
tractiveness or value. The rest of this paper identifi es
and clarifi es the specifi c amenity goals, objectives,
and design techniques of ARD. Certain assumptions
and limitations are inherent in this study. First is the
assumption that celebrating rain water in site design is
desirable, and that any additional costs and eort are
oset by the value added. The study also assumes that
knowledge of a project’s design intent in combination
with our design critique can result in understanding
the experiential impact of a design. Related to this are
two clear biases. First, this paper measures a design’s
Table 1. Goals, objectives, and techniques for the utility
aspects of storm water management design
Provide for hydrological function that protects
public health, safety, welfare, and aquatic habitat
To create systems that: DESIGN TECHNIQUES
Safely convey storm water away CONVEYANCE
Reduce downstream flooding DETENTION
Conventional dr y basins
Extended detention basins
Micro- pool ponds
Hold storm water for reuse RETENTION
Wet ponds
Multiple pond systems
Water har vesting ponds
Reduce storm water pollution FILTRATION
Bio- retention gardens
Green roof systems
Water quality inlets
Constructed wetlands
Sand filters
Grassed swales
Oil and grit separators
Promote ground water recharge INFILTRATION
Dr y wells (French drain)
Infiltration trenches
Infiltration basins
Porous pavements
Echols and Pennypacker 271
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland,
Oregon, by Murase Associates
Outwash Basin at Stata Center MIT, Cambridge,
Massachusetts, by Olin Partners
Pierce County Environmental Services, Chambers
Creek, Washington, by Miller | Hull and Bruce Dees &
Siskiyou Street, Portland, Oregon, by Portland Bureau
of Environmental Services
SW 12th Avenue, Portland, Oregon, by Portland
Bureau of Environmental Services
Water Pollution Control Laboratory, Portland,
Oregon, by Murase Associates
Waterworks Garden, Renton, Washington, by Lorna
Jordan with Jones & Jones, Ltd., and Brown &
We gathered information about these projects from
published literature, websites, and telephone conver-
sations with designers; we then visited each project
and talked with designers and municipal ocials. We
documented the designs with journal notes, drawings,
sketches, and photography. We did not collect con-
struction documents or measured drawings, as we were
interested in site amenity aspects and not construction
The collected data were organized, reviewed, and
analyzed to determine specifi c amenities in storm water
treatment system designs. Initial categorization was
guided by this question: What amenity aspects of storm -
water management design enhance a project’s attrac-
tiveness or value? Thus we developed a list of observed
rain water- based amenities, compared it to a larger list
of general amenity goals derived from published land-
development literature (Beyard 1989; O’Mara 1988;
Bookout 1994a; Bookout 1994b; Kone 2006), and dis-
covered that our identifi ed ARD amenity goals formed
a clear subset of this larger list.
The larger list of general land- development ame-
nity goals generated by our literature review included:
1. Convenience: location, ease, or comfort
2. Education: favorable conditions for learning
tently acclaimed ARD projects hail from these metro
areas. A variety of factors have made the Pacifi c North-
west a noteworthy mecca of ARD. The consistently wet
weather from October to May virtually requires that
citizens develop strategies to “live with rain,” ranging
from establishment of very strict storm water regula-
tions to the development of innovative ways to trans-
form rain water from a nuisance to an asset. We con-
sequently chose to accept this geographic limitation
based on the assumption that ARD examples from the
Pacifi c Northwest currently oer a rich collection of
exciting and potentially transferable ideas to designers
We chose the following 20 projects as case studies:4
10th@Hoyt, Portland, Oregon, by Stephen Koch
Landscape Architect
110 Cascades, Seattle, Washington, by Seattle Public
Automated Trading Desk, Mount Pleasant, South
Carolina, by Nelson Byrd Woltz
Buckman Heights, Portland, Oregon, by Murase
Cedar River Watershed Education Center, Cedar
Falls, Washington, by Jones & Jones, Ltd
Stephen Epler Hall, Portland State University,
Portland, Oregon, by Mithu¯ n Partners and ATLAS
Landscape Architecture
Glencoe Elementary School, Portland, Oregon, by
Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Growing Vine Street, Seattle, Washington, by Carlson
Architects, Peggy Graynor, Buster Simpson, Greg
High Point Development, West Seattle, Washington,
by Mithu¯n Partners
Melrose Edge Streets, Seattle, Washington, by Seattle
Public Utilities
Seven Corners Market, Portland, Oregon, by Ivan
New Seasons Market, Portland, Oregon, by Portland
Bureau of Environmental Services
Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon, by
Meyer / Reed
272 Landscape Journal 27:2–08
and social interaction were not established through
ARD in our projects.
Next, we reexamined each project to determine
how (or whether) it uses storm water treatment systems
to achieve each amenity goal. This review yielded a list
of all design techniques observed in each discrete case
to realize each ARD goal. The design techniques were
then organized into a matrix to identify the common
ARD objectives that those techniques fulfi ll. The tech-
niques presented are not characteristic of every case
study project, nor do they represent all possible design
strategies for achieving an amenity objective. Each
technique, however, is found in one or more of the case
3. Recreation: favorable conditions for play and / or
4. Safety: freedom from exposure to danger or risk
5. Social interaction: commingling of individuals or
6. Public relations: semiotic expression of values of the
designer and / or owner
7. Aesthetic richness: beauty or pleasure as a result of
design composition
Of these, the amenity goals most clearly achieved in
our ARD cases included education, recreation, safety,
public relations, and aesthetic richness. Convenience
Table 2. Education objectives and associated design techniques
Create conditions to learn about rain water and / or storm water runoff–related issues
Hydrologic cycle Make storm water trail visible and legible
Create a narrative of storm water and / or the hydrologic cycle
Employ expressive hydrologic symbols
Historical water condition Make storm water trail visible and legible
Integrate storm water- related site artifacts into the design
Create a narrative of the historical water condition
Employ expressive symbols of historical water condition
Water treatment types Make storm water treatment system visible and legible
Make storm water treatment system playful, intriguing, or puzzling
Include variety of storm water treatment systems in design
Treatment system impact Create systems that visibly collect and store trash and / or pollution
Riparian plant types Provide a variety of visible plant types and communities
Riparian wildlife Provide a variety of interesting wildlife habitats:
Use plants that provide wildlife food
Provide different water depths
Create shelter for wildlife such as bird and bat houses
Signage Provide simple signage or exhibits that use:
Brief text
Clear graphics
Location, color, or motion that attracts people
Programming Design treatment system to invite educational games or activities
Visibility Create treatment systems that are visible and legible
Create visual interest by var ying the appearance of dif ferent par ts of the storm water
treatment system
Gathering Create a variety of spaces for groups to explore, gather, or sit near the storm water
treatment system
Interactivity Create treatment systems that are touchable
Create designs that encourage people to explore and play near or in the treatment systems
Echols and Pennypacker 273
cur as a “lesson learned” or, less didactically, as an en-
riched experience of place.
We categorized the variety of educational oppor-
tunities in the case studies into three learning objective
types: “ideas to learn,” “ways to learn,” and “context
for learning.” Recurring objectives and design tech-
niques gleaned from the case studies are presented in
Table 2. The case studies oer some noteworthy de-
sign techniques for providing education about storm -
water management, including how “ideas to learn
Findings are organized according to fi ve amenity goals,
which are explained briefl y. Tables outline the key ob-
jectives and design techniques used in the case studies.
Notable examples of techniques found in specifi c case
studies are then explained through text and images.
Education. In the context of ARD, education is un-
derstood as creating favorable conditions for learning
about rain water and related issues. Education may oc-
Figure 3. A meandering boardwalk at
Pierce County Environmental Ser vices,
Chambers Creek, WA, invites visitors
to view the wetland. (Design by The
Miller | Hull Partnership, LLP, Bruce
Dees & Associates, LLC; photograph by
Stuart P. Echols, 2006)
Figure 4. The axial bioswale (back-
ground) terminates in a “fl ow splitter
plaza” (foreground) where signage
explains different strategies used to
convey and infi ltrate runoff. Pierce
County Environmental Services,
Chambers, Creek, WA. (Design by The
Miller | Hull Partnership, LLP, Bruce
Dees & Associates, LLC; photograph by
Stuart P. Echols, 2006)
274 Landscape Journal 27:2–08
The educational impact of the rain water design at
Pierce County Environmental Services is augmented by
eective signage at strategic spots. In our case studies,
we found that signs presenting dense blocks of edge- to-
edge text lack eye appeal and can seem too much like
a lecture to pique a persons interest. In fact, we found
some signs so daunting that we photographed them for
future reference rather than reading them on site! But
at Pierce County a brilliant signage system cajoles visi-
tors into learning: fi rst, the signs present small, digest-
ible tidbits of information that can be read at a glance;
second, the signs are located along major pathways,
ensuring pedestrian encounters with the information;
and third, their bright yellow color makes them highly
visible. Thus a noticeable and enjoyable educational
system is created.
Ideas about rain water can be expressed through
artistic narrative as well as through instructional pre-
sentation of facts. A stunning example of this educa-
tional strategy is found at the Seven Corners Market
in Portland, Oregon (Figure 5). Artist Ivan McLean
transformed a scupper into an eye- catching sculpture
that tells of the relationship between rain water and
that prized fi sh of the Northwest, the salmon. McLean
draped tendrils of stainless steel from the end of the
scupper and attached stainless steel salmon silhouettes
that seem to swim upstream toward the scupper. When
rain water pours from the scupper, the salmon face the
cascading water (the symbolic downstream current) to
ght their way upriver. Even when dry, the sculpture
suggests the impact storm water has on the downstream
Taking the idea of artistic storm water narrative to
full- site scale, landscape architect Carol Mayer Reed’s
metaphorical landscape represents the hydrological
cycle at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland
can be presented through visible / legible water trails
or rich landscape narratives, and how signage provides
eective “ways to learn.
Making the storm water treatment system vis-
ible and legible encourages visitors to notice and ei-
ther instantly grasp it, or be compelled to piece the
puzzle together to comprehend how the site manages
runo. Often, a visible storm water system combines
eectively with signage to maximize the educational
opportunity. The Pierce County Environmental Ser-
vices Facility in Chambers Creek, Washington (The
Miller | Hull Partnership, LLP, Bruce Dees & Associ-
ates, LLC) focuses considerable design energy on this
combined educational strategy. The water trail begins
at a corner of the building at a dramatic scupper from
which water falls into a concrete basin incised with a
spiral runnel. When it rains, water spirals from that
basin into an adjacent wetland that visitors view from
a meandering boardwalk (Figure 3). At the end of the
wetland, the water disappears briefl y under a roadway
to reemerge in a bioswale lined with river stone and
riparian plants, interspersed with pieces of driftwood
to drive home the water theme. The bioswale forms a
250-foot- long axis, edged on one side by a parking lot
and on the other by a walking trail that ensures maxi-
mum visibility of the water treatment system. At the
end of the bioswale, the water system again disap-
pears under a roadway, to end in a plaza with three vis-
ible valve heads (Figure 4). Signage explains that this
is a “fl ow splitter plaza” channeling runo into two
dierent treatment swales, one grass- lined and one
rock- lined, while a third diverter awaits development
of future treatment strategies. Throughout the linear
system, multiple water “lessons” and a high level of
craft refl ect the designers’ eort to call attention to the
rain water treatment system.
Figure 5. Scupper with attached stainless steel salmon silhouettes
at Seven Corners Market, Portland, OR, allows viewers to mentally
connect storm water to river. (Sculpture by Ivan McLean; photograph by
Stuart P. Echols, 2005)
Echols and Pennypacker 275
storm water treatment system in relaxing, amusing, or
refreshing ways. In contrast to the education goal, the
focus is playful interaction; enjoyment is the intent. The
distinction between education and recreation is admit-
tedly nuanced, but we present them separately to as-
sist designers who may wish to emphasize one over the
We identifi ed three objectives of recreational inter-
action with ARD: “view” (the opportunity to see water
or the water system while relaxing in the landscape),
enter” (the ability to step into the water or water sys-
tem and come into physical contact with it), and “play
(Figure 6). Four huge scuppers protrude from the con-
vention center building and convey rain water from its
ve- acre roof into a detention and biofi ltration system
designed as an urbane abstraction of a regional river.
Native basalt columns punctuate a tiered channel of
sequential runnels, pools, and weirs; and native plants
are elegantly arranged in and along the channel. The
design tells the story of the water’s journey from rooftop
to river.
Recreation. As a design goal in ARD, recreation means
providing conditions favorable for interacting with the
Figure 6. At the Oregon Convention
Center, Portland, OR, an urbane river
abstraction tells the story of the
water’s journey from rooftop to river.
(Design by Mayer / Reed; photograph by
Stuart P. Echols, 2005)
276 Landscape Journal 27:2–08
ing to the designers, students emerge from the dormi-
tories during storms to watch the rain water show (Mc-
Donald 2006).
Recreational paths in strategic locations can also
ensure that features are noticed. One strategy is to con-
nect o- site destinations through on- site paths, com-
pelling people to encounter the storm water system as
they traverse the site. At the Water Pollution Control
Laboratory in Portland (Murase Associates) pedestrians
and bicyclists traveling to or from a number of o- site
destinations pass through the designed landscape and
encounter the storm water management system.
A second noteworthy example of a strategically
placed path system is found at Waterworks Garden
in Renton, Washington (Lorna Jordan, Jones & Jones,
Brown & Caldwell). Seattle artist Lorna Jordan trans-
formed a storm water treatment system adjacent to a
county waste water treatment plant into a sequence of
garden rooms that follow the water trail downhill: the
Knoll, the Funnel, the Grotto, the Passage, and the Re-
lease. The garden rooms appear on a recreational path
(Figure 8) that exhibits virtually all the characteristics
cited by the Kaplans as the “mystery” promoting a “de-
sire to explore” (1998, 16).5
Another type of ARD recreational interaction en-
courages visitors to enter the storm water treatment
in” (the opportunity to engage with or modify the water
or water system). These categories and design tech-
niques used to achieve them in the case study projects
are presented in Table 3. Some recreation- focused de-
sign techniques stand out in the case studies: one en-
courages relaxed viewing through eective placement
of seating; two provide views of the storm water treat-
ment to those traveling along strategically placed paths;
and one allows visitors to enter and play in the storm -
water s ystem.
To encourage viewing of a landscape feature,
theres nothing quite as eective as providing a place
to sit. Whether wall, bench, or table and chairs, a seat
invites people to pause and view their surroundings.
The best example we found was a pair of sheltered
benches located to view a dramatic storm water show
outside Stephen Epler Hall, a dormitory on the urban
campus of Portland State University (Figure 7). During
rain events, water shoots down a fi ve- story downspout
into a rock- lled basin, gushes out a small scupper into
a runnel that directs water across the space, then falls
into a “biopaddy” (a sunken plant- lled basin). Lo-
cated under a freestanding roof (particularly accom-
modating for use during the rain), the two benches are
backed by a wall, resulting in a sense of “prospect and
refuge” that renders them even more inviting. Accord-
Table 3. Recreation objectives and associated design techniques
Create conditions for interacting with the storm water system in a way that is relaxing, amusing, and / or refreshing
Create opportunities to DESIGN TECHNIQUES
Pass by Provide paths in strategic locations that ensure encounters with the storm water treatment system
Connect on- site trails to off- site trail systems and destinations that ensure encounters with the
storm water treatment system
Pause Create overlooks with views of the storm water system
Create destination points related to storm water treatment systems
Rest Provide seating using walls, benches, or tables and chairs with views of the storm water system
Wayfinding Provide clear points of entry into the storm water system
Make entry points visually inviting or mysterious
Access Make entry points easily accessible
Provide places to sit within the storm water system design
Explore Provide a variety of small and large places to play in or explore
Make areas that invite climbing and physical exploration while balancing perceptions of safety
with adventure
Interact Create systems that can be safely modified by the user such as small movable river rocks and weirs
Echols and Pennypacker 277
one of the weirs (Figure 9). Once in, the adventuresome
may clamber across the rocks or simply sit and enjoy
the lush surroundings. On our site visit, we observed
carefully placed piles of river stone from the treatment
system, clearly crafted by visitors who took advantage
of the opportunity to enter and play (Figure 10).
system. At the previously described Oregon Convention
Center in Portland, the river abstraction is separated
from the nearby sidewalk by a lush lawn, and is even
more clearly separated from pedestrians by a border
of thick plantings and rocks along its lawn edge; but
at certain points the border opens, and a fl at rock laid
ush with the lawn allows visitors to enter the “river” at
Figure 7. Runoff at Stephen Epler
Hall, Portland State University, travels
from downspouts (on columns) into
basins at their bases, then travels
via below- grade runnels across the
space to “biopaddies.” (Design by
Mithu¯n Partners, ATLAS Landscape
Architecture; photograph by Stuar t P.
Echols, 2005)
Figure 8. At Waterworks Garden,
Renton, WA, an enticing trail leads
pedestrians past wetlands and water
treatment ponds. (Design by Lorna
Jordan, Jones & Jones, Brown &
Caldwell; photograph by Stuart P.
Echols, 2006)
278 Landscape Journal 27:2–08
Figure 9. The abstracted river corridor
at the Oregon Convention Center,
Portland, OR, is separated from the
sidewalk (right of photo) by lush lawn
and a thick plant border along the
“river” edge (left of photo). (Design by
Mayer / Reed; photograph by Stuart P.
Echols, 2005)
Figure 10. River rocks carefully placed
on a weir in the abstracted river
landscape, left by adventuresome
visitors who entered the storm water
system. Oregon Convention Center,
Portland, OR. (Design by Mayer / Reed;
photograph by Stuart P. Echols, 2005)
Echols and Pennypacker 279
den, another technique renders storm water visible but
inaccessible. In the garden room called the Release, vis-
itors meander among wetland pools that fi lter storm -
water before its release into Springbrook Creek; though
virtually immersed in a landscape of pools, visitors are
prevented by massed riparian and wetland plantings
from reaching the water’s edge. Surprisingly, plantings
are absent on a few pond edges very close to the path,
and these spots may be dangerous. Waterworks Garden
employs each of the three general techniques to limit
access to water that we found across the cases: by struc-
ture, by planting, and by placing the visitor above the
storm water treatment system.
Control of water quantity is the safety objective ad-
dressed at 110 Cascades in Seattle (Seattle Public Utili-
ties Natural Drainage Systems), a storm water treatment
system that steps down the side of a sloping suburban
residential street. Here a series of terraced weirs controls
both water velocity and depth. Stepped pools created
by the weirs distribute standing water along the water
trail into shallow basins. At the same time, the verti-
cal drop of water at each weir slows the water velocity:
waterfl ow energy is dispersed by its drop and impact
(Figure 12). Over the course of the storm water treat-
ment system, the weirs transform a potential downhill
torrent of storm water into a series of shallow pools and
calmly cascading water.
Finally, the Glencoe Elementary School reten-
tion and biofi ltration basin oers a simple technique
to limit storm water depth that is found in many of the
Safety. In ARD, this goal focuses on safe interaction
with water by mitigating the dangers associated with
storm water. In our litigious society, this goal is central
to making ARD possible. Both standing and running
water often form a central element of ARD; but how
do we prevent it from being (and being perceived as) a
drowning hazard?6 Case studies have focused on con-
trolling access to water and controlling water quantity
(both velocity and depth). Table 4 presents these miti-
gation types and an array of design techniques to ad-
dress them. Within the case studies, three design tech-
niques addressing safety stand out: limiting physical
access to water; limiting water velocity; and limiting
water depth.
In the previously described Waterworks Garden,
Lorna Jordan employed a number of design techniques
to limit physical access to storm water while ensur-
ing satisfying water views. At the garden entrance (the
Knoll), visitors walk down an “allée” of basalt columns
toward an enticing overlook. Along that walk, storm -
water appears literally beneath the visitor’s feet, safely
out of reach yet very striking: steel grating traverses the
stone terrace in a stream- like shape, and the babbling
water runs below. Flowing water, central to that entry
experience, is rendered safe by a simple walking grate
(Figure 11).
At the overlook the stream cascades o the terrace
into the fi rst of a series of settling ponds (the Funnel).
Here, a railing at the terrace edge controls physical ac-
cess to the standing water below. Elsewhere in the gar-
Table 4. Safety objectives and associated design techniques
Promote safe interaction with storm water treatment system by mitigating danger associated with water
Vertical bar rier Provide walls, screens, or railings that allow views but prevent access to storm water
Provide upland, riparian, or wetland plant massing that allow views but prevents access to storm water
Horizontal barrier Use bridges, boardwalks, or platforms to allow users to view storm water from above
Water containers Use water- themed aboveground storm water storage facilities such as rain barrels, water towers, or cisterns
Depth Do not collect storm water in large centralized storage facilities
Disperse storm water into shallow storage facilities using flow splitters or tiered basins
Limit storm water depth by creating horizontal space for water to spread out
Limit storm water depth by adding large river stones to basins where people could have access
Velocity Do not collect or move storm water in large centralized conveyance facilities
Disperse storm water into small conveyance facilities using level spreaders or flow splitters
Create water brakes” to slow storm water by abruptly changing flow direction
Slow storm water by creating small water falls that dissipate energy
280 Landscape Journal 27:2–08
composition and choice of materials. That PR message,
along with both sub- messages (“we are aesthetically re-
ned” and “we are distinctive”) is successfully commu-
nicated at 10th@Hoyt, the interior entry courtyard of an
upscale apartment building in Portland’s Pearl District.
The courtyard displays an understated orthogonal com-
position on axis with the courtyard entry; a restrained
palette of materials, colors, and textures creates an
aura of subdued elegance (Figure 14). The storm water
system is both unusual and consistent with the over-
all courtyard aesthetic: the courtyard axis is marked by
a simple copper downspout running down the face of
the fi ve- story building. Storm water from the downspout
then takes a fascinating path along a runnel within a
stepped aqueduct, dropping into a river rock-fi lled ba-
sin to re circulate in Cor- ten fountains (Figure 15). Other
downspout- and- runnel systems in two corners of the
space have variations on the same theme. The composi-
tion creates an appropriate atmosphere for the urbane
citizens of this rapidly gentrifying district and the visual
suggestion that treating runo as a valuable resource is
“hip.” And it apparently works: the apartment developer
Trammel Crowe has asked Koch to design ARDs for ad-
ditional projects, based on their assessment that the de-
sign has helped attract tenants (Koch 2006).
The PR objectives “we care” and “we are progres-
sive” can be communicated through clarity of the en-
vironmental mission in ARD—the design can overtly
case study projects. The detention basin on the uphill
side of a weir is fi lled to the brim with river rocks, the
mass of rounded rock creating voids that permit water
to collect in the basin. Storm water either disappears
into the interstices or rises slightly above the rock sur-
face (Figure 13). River rocks are particularly appropri-
ate in this application, both for their water- shaped form
and for the water- retaining voids between them.
Public relations. As an ARD goal, public relations (PR)
means that either a discrete feature or the character of
the overall design makes a semiotic statement about
the values of those who created and / or own the site.
Four broad PR objectives frequently delivered through
ARD emerged from our analysis: “we care,” “we are pro-
gressive,” “we are smart,” and “we are sophisticated.
We also found it useful to classify these broad PR mes-
sages into sub- messages that can be expressed alone or
in tandem with others. Table 5 presents the PR objec-
tives and some associated design techniques found in
the case studies.
Two projects present particularly eective design
techniques addressing PR: one says “we are sophisti-
cated” through compositional elegance and restraint
along with careful choice of materials; the second,
through a range of techniques site- wide, says both “we
care” and “we are progressive.” Achieving the “we are so-
phisticated” message is largely a matter of elegant design
Figure 11. Flowing storm water at
Waterworks Garden, Renton, WA, is
made safe with a simple walking grate.
Note the railing at the destination
overlook. (Design by Lorna Jordan,
Jones & Jones, Brown & Caldwell;
photograph by Eliza Pennypacker,
Echols and Pennypacker 281
street right- of- way. Brightly colored signs with brief text
and graphics are strategically located along community
roads and sidewalks, briefl y explaining how each facet
of the storm water treatment system works. Indeed, a
focus on storm water pervades the whole community:
select sidewalks are incised with concentric rings remi-
niscent of a waterdrops impact on a pool; decorative
concrete castings of dragonfl ies adorn drain inlets; even
the splash guards at the base of some downspouts are
decorated with storm water- related imagery. Thus, two
types of PR points are made: fi rst, the sheer range of
exhibit what hydrological benefi t is accomplished,
and how. Is this a form of education as well? Most defi -
nitely, but the focus here is on the PR objective and
technique—the values that are promoted and the ways
that the rain water design expresses those values. “We
care” and “we are progressive” are two value messages
evident at High Point, a new neo- traditional residential
community in West Seattle (Mithu¯ n Partners, Nakano
Landscape Architects). This design displays a range of
contemporary storm water treatment systems, from po-
rous sidewalks and driveways to bioswales lining every
Figure 13. A detention basin at
Glencoe Elementary School, Por tland,
OR, is fi lled to the brim with river rock
allowing storm water to safely collect in
the basin. (Design by Portland’s Bureau
of Environmental Services; photograph
by Stuart P. Echols, 2005)
Figure 12. A series of terraced weirs at
110 Cascades in Seattle controls both
water velocity and depth. (Design by
Seattle Public Utilities Natural Drainage
Systems; photograph by Stuart P.
Echols, 2006)
282 Landscape Journal 27:2–08
tactile, or olfactory experience; but because our case
studies lack examples of olfactory richness, our fi ndings
are limited to the visual, auditory, and tactile. Table 6
presents these three types of experience in terms of the
compositional elements and principles most eectively
employed in the case studies, then explains some de-
sign techniques by which they can be accomplished.
An array of case study projects exhibit noteworthy
techniques for creating aesthetic richness focused on
storm water treatment. These include a visually inter-
esting line in the water trail, a strong rhythm through
repetition of storm water- focused elements, a visual
contrast between rocks and plants, an element of audi-
tory interest, and an element of tactile appeal.
Visual emphasis of the linear storm water trail is a
frequent ARD technique: the line can be straight and
Table 5. Public relations objectives and associated design techniques
Create symbolic storm water statements about the values and qualities of those who created and own the site
To express or communicate DESIGN TECHNIQUES
We are environmentally Create a variety of highly visible storm water treatment systems
responsible and want you Locate storm water treatment systems near entries, courtyards, or windows for high visibility
to learn about storm water Use signage explaining storm water treatment and intent
Create opportunities for programming educational activities
We want you to know Use commonly available materials
that you can do this Create small-scale replicable interventions
yourself Utilize common settings such as sidewalks and parking lots
We are experimental Utilize new and innovative storm water treatment methods
Use signage that explains treatment and intent
We are innovative Utilize new forms and materials
Utilize traditional storm water treatment methods in new ways
We are resourceful Be opportunistic by using small, leftover, and unexpected spaces
and clever Achieve additional functions such as traffic calming and beautification
We know you will notice Make the storm water trail easy to find and follow
the treatment if it’s fun Make the storm water trail mysteriously disappear and reappear
Make the storm water or water treatment system touchable
Make the storm water audible: plunge pools, downspouts
Make the storm water move in dif ferent ways: tumble, run, splash
Encourage walking in or climbing on the water treatment system
We are aesthetically Create elegantly simple composition
refined Use refined and expensive materials
Use refined and expensive construction methods
Use restraint in diversity of materials and forms
Design for manicured look: clipped, trimmed, clean
We are distinctive Make unusual line of storm water trail
Use unusual water presentation forms and themes
BMPs sends the message that the developers care; sec-
ond, the BMPs are highly visible, aesthetically appeal-
ing amenities that show how progressive the developers
are in celebrating storm water as a resource.
Aesthetic richness. In ARD, aesthetic richness means
that the design is composed to create an experience
of beauty or pleasure focused on the storm water. One
could argue that aesthetic richness is embedded in all
ARD goals presented here; but sometimes richness of
experience is created simply by the composition itself
through an arresting combination of forms, colors, and
sounds. We believe that an articulation of strategies
that encourage attention to storm water strictly through
compositional means is worth calling out. In broadest
terms, the composition may address visual, auditory,
Echols and Pennypacker 283
entirely visible, making the trail very pronounced and
bold; it can dart or disappear in spots, making the trail
puzzling or mysterious; or it can curve to underscore
water’s captivating liquidity, as is the case at the Ce-
dar River Watershed Education Center (Jones & Jones
Architects and Landscape Architects, Ltd) (Figure 16).
Here, runo is conveyed from the roof via downspout
into a sculpted basin; from that point it traverses a stone
terrace in a most elegant meander. This S- curve recalls
Hogarths “line of beauty” (1997, 33). The serpentine
storm water trail is both visually enhanced and made
safe by a steel grating perforated with curves that ex-
tend the liquid theme. Whatever the compositional de-
cision, thoughtful design of the line of the storm water
trail is itself a celebration of rain water.
Another noteworthy compositional technique is
repetition of storm water- focused elements to create vi-
sual rhythm—a strategy that can also aid the hydrologi-
cal function. By repeating a series of small treatment
elements (bioswales, retention basins, or weirs) a de-
signer can create a more eective and extensive storm -
water treatment system than one limited to a single lo-
cation. A particularly notable example is the SW 12th
Avenue Green Street Project in Portland (Sustainable
Storm water Management Program, City of Portland, Or-
egon). Storm water is diverted from the urban street into
retention basins that fi lter runo. A sequence of four
concrete- edged, orthogonal sunken basins, planted
with rushes, sedges, and street trees, creates a visual
rhythm that is also functional in that runo ows from
one basin to the next (Figure 17).
A third means of creating visual richness in ARD is
to contrast color and texture by juxtaposing river rock
and riparian grasses, especially rushes and sedges.
Many of the case study projects exhibit this combina-
tion that appropriately connects with the water theme,
as both are water- related materials. When further con-
trasted with a straight- lined edging of concrete, cut
stone, or even Cor- ten steel (each found in one or more
case study projects), the eect is even more striking
(Figure 18).
An excellent example of auditory consideration
Figure 14. A crisp axial composition and refi ned materials create an
aura of subdued elegance at 10th@Hoyt, Portland, OR. (Design by
Stephen Koch Landscape Architect; photograph by Eliza Pennypacker,
Figure 15. The storm water trail at 10th@Hoyt, Por tland, OR, is
both eye- catching and elegant. (Design by Stephen Koch Landscape
Architect; photograph by Stuart P. Echols, 2005)
284 Landscape Journal 27:2–08
Table 6. Aesthetic richness objectives and associated design techniques
Create an interesting experience of beauty or pleasure focused on the storm water
Point Create water collection basin as a feature or focal point
Create visual emphasis on storm water direction change using scuppers, basins, cisterns, splash
blocks, or rain chains
Line Use downspouts, runnels, flumes, or bioswales to draw attention to the line of the storm water
trail, enhancing legibility as well as interest and curiosity
Plane Stack horizontal and vertical planes such as pools and falls to exploit visual interest of storm water
flowing over surfaces, plunging down planes, through weirs, or over edges
Volume Create visual interest or themes with basins that hold plants and water: sunken, raised,
orthogonal, cur ved, organic, geometric, small, or large
Color and Texture Contrast natural elements such as plant and rock with man- made elements, such as clipped lawn,
steel, or concrete
Juxtapose river rock and riparian grasses for compositional contrast
Axis Create storm water trail using axial runnels, downspouts, and bioswales
Dramatize implied axis using aligned treatment systems, basins and runnels connected by the
water trail
Rhythm and Repetition Create unified design themes by using multiple bioswales, basins, weirs, ponds, or rain gardens
Volume Create a variety of volumes by allowing storm water to fall from various heights onto different
materials such as stone or steel
Pitch Create changes in pitch by allowing storm water to fall on dif ferent forms such as flat block, metal
tubes, drums, and ponds
Rhythm Create different rhythms by varying the amount and rate of storm water falling and flowing through
the treatment system
Texture Use a variety of water- related plants such as rushes and grasses
Use various water- related hardscape such as river pebbles or driftwood to provide interesting
Wetness Allow people to touch storm water in dif ferent forms such as flowing, falling, splashing, standing,
and sheeting, or on damp surfaces where water can soak in or evaporate
is virtually a crime. Few examples of touchable storm -
water are found in the case studies, probably due to
our contemporary fear of water that hasn’t been made
antiseptic by chemical treatment and the perceived
liability of accessible water. But the “Cistern Steps,” a
storm water feature along a block of Vine Street in Seat-
tle (Carlson Architects, Peggy Gaynor, Buster Simpson,
Greg Waddell), invites water interaction. Small, shallow
(“safe”) basins and weirs cascade down the hill in a play-
ful rhythm; and water is rendered particularly touch-
able by wrapping pedestrian steps around the basins,
allowing passers- by to touch the water as it drops from
each cantilevered scupper into the basin below (Fig-
ure 19).
is found at the previously mentioned urban courtyard
at 10th@Hoyt, where storm water movement results in
a symphony both during a storm and after—the lat-
ter thanks to a cistern that detains storm water and
re- circulates it into fountains. At 10th@Hoyt, water
can be heard running through fl umes and corrugated
chutes, dribbling across Cor- ten fountain surfaces,
and dropping into river stone–fi lled basins for up to 30
hours after the rain stops.
Finally there is the tactile experience of water. In
his landmark book and documentary fi lm The Social
Life of Small Urban Spaces (1980), William H. Whyte ar-
gued that touchable water is an asset in urban spaces,
and that presenting visible water but prohibiting touch
Echols and Pennypacker 285
6. Inspire and motivate designers who are addressing
storm water management in projects from plazas to
parking lots.
It was truly exciting for the authors to explore these
innovative projects at the crest of the ARD wave. But we
hope and expect the novelty of ARD to subside as this ap-
proach becomes mainstream. Evidence of this trend al-
ready exists. Consider Robert Murases groundbreaking
1990 design of a biofi ltration swale system in the park-
ing lot of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
in Portland, Oregon. It was a stunning innovation at the
time but today seems nearly commonplace, as parking
lot biofi ltration swales are now found nationwide in
facilities as diverse as whole foods grocery stores and
shopping malls. In our opinion, the ARD approach is
so responsive to new storm water regulations and holds
so many benefi ts that we look forward to the day when
ARD is simply a prerequisite for good design.
This paper represents our eort to hasten ARD’s
arrival in the design mainstream. To that end, we have
defi ned the overall amenity intent of ARD, identifi ed
specifi c ARD amenity goals, and presented a wide array
of project objectives and associated design techniques
for new ARD eorts. Some of the techniques may be
Every project in the study presents fascinating strate-
gies to transform the utilitarian task of storm water
management into a rich experience of rain water. We
believe that the application of creative ARD strategies,
such as those demonstrated by the selected projects,
could have benefi cial results that reach beyond the site-
level, to include the following:
1. Raise property values through amenities and so
encourage developers to exceed baseline storm water
management requirements;
2. Help municipal policy planners and design review
boards grasp the impact of storm water management
as amenity, oering an impetus for regulation
3. Increase public exposure to, and education about,
ecological storm water design for the protection of
aquatic systems;
4. Present a strategy for integrating storm water
management site- wide;
5. Encourage regular maintenance of storm water
management systems by making them a clear “added
value”; and
Figure 16. At Cedar River Watershed Education
Center, Cedar Falls, WA, the storm water trail is
celebrated in an appealing “S- curve.” (Design
by Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape
Architects, Ltd.; photograph by Stuart P.
Echols, 2006)
286 Landscape Journal 27:2–08
Figure 17. A rhythmic repetition of
sunken basins at the 12th Avenue
Green Street Project, Por tland, OR,
unifi es the composition and serves the
water treatment system. (Design by
Sustainable Storm water Management
Program, City of Portland, Oregon;
photograph by Stuart P. Echols,
Echols and Pennypacker 287
wholly transferable to future designs while most will
necessarily morph to fi t each projects context. By these
means we expect that each reader and designer will ex-
pand, refi ne, and further develop a personal storehouse
of ARD ideas, using this paper as a foundation.
To encourage creative design when thinking about
ARD, we oer an observation and issue a design chal-
lenge. This project required scrutinizing ARDs from
many perspectives, including by BMP type (tradition-
ally identifi ed as conveyance, fi ltration, detention, re-
tention, and infi ltration). We found that some treatment
methods more eectively combine utility and amenity
than others. Conveyance, for example, is easily used to
create amenity by exposing storm water in troughs, run-
nels, fl umes, and waterfalls. However, while conveyance
is an important facet of all treatment systems, it is not
a true BMP as it does not address storm water rate, vol-
ume, frequency, duration, or quality. Conveyance can
certainly create awareness of storm water but it does
not inherently educate about environmental issues or
treatment potential. One true BMP used frequently in
the case studies to create storm water- focused amenity
is fi ltration via colorful gravel fi lters, rain gardens, or
bio- paddies with elaborate textures and colors. Filtra-
tion poses a great opportunity to “do the right thing”
and send a strong “we care” PR message by displaying
aesthetically rich storm water- fi ltering systems in stra-
tegic, high- visibility locations. The case studies reveal
fewer examples of detention or retention methods re-
sulting in storm water- focused amenity. Admittedly
there exists a tradition of using wet ponds as detention
systems, but people rarely realize that these ponds treat
storm water (unless the designer has employed the ARD
technique of didactic signage). Detention and retention
systems can, however, be built underground using re-
circulating pumps and fountains to create compelling
visual, auditory, and tactile amenities as well as collect
water for irrigation. This strategy oers signifi cant op-
portunity for urban areas with high land costs. Finally,
infi ltration may present the greatest amenity challenge,
evident in the fact that most of the case study rain gar-
dens and porous surfaces depend on signage to reveal
Figure 18. Striking compositional contrast can be achieved by
combining river rock, riparian grasses, and cut stone, as here at
Stephen Epler Hall, Portland State University. (Design by Mithu¯n
Partners, ATLAS Landscape Architecture; photograph by Stuar t P.
Echols, 2005)
Figure 19. Cistern steps wrap around the basins at Seattle’s Growing
Vine Street, allowing pedestrians to reach out and touch the storm -
water. (Design by Carlson Architects, Peggy Gaynor, Buster Simpson,
Greg Waddell; photograph by Eliza Pennypacker, 2006)
288 Landscape Journal 27:2–08
gel also commented on the preponderance of innovation in
Portland and Seattle, explaining that “Portland and Seattle
have perhaps come closest to designing natural storm water
management for an urban density that would please urban-
ists of all stripes” (2006, 79).
4. Photographs and additional information about these proj-
ects are available at www.artfulrain
5. These include “the suggestion that there is more to see,
through such means as a curving path and vegetation that
partially obscures what lies beyond.
6. We focus on the issue of safety from drowning. Other mis-
haps that occur through contact with water (tripping, slip-
ping, falling) are omitted because they not exclusive to ARD.
Danger related to water- borne disease is also omitted, as it
has been addressed in common storm water management
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search focuses on the management of urban runoff as a natural
ELIZA PENNYPACKER holds a BA from St. John’s College and an
MLA from the University of Virginia. She is Professor of Land-
scape Architecture at Pennsylvania State University where she
has served in both teaching and administrative roles. In addition
to artful rain water design, she conducts research in design studio
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... Even when concerns regarding managing extreme events are frequent among stakeholders (S. M. Charlesworth and Booth, 2016;Jiménez Ariza et al., 2019), these can conflict with establishing multi-functional spaces because large volumes and flows can create safety risks (Echols and Pennypacker, 2008). In this sense, the methodology aims to recognize the importance of different management scales for stormwater, which coincides with pursuing multiple benefits. ...
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El disseny urbà sensible a l’aigua i les solucions basades en la natura (SbN) constitueixen una aproximació alternativa per al maneig de l’aigua i els ecosistemes que requereix integració amb la normativa local. En aquest context, és essencial la transferència efectiva del coneixement per incloure-hi lineaments de les SbN derivats d’anàlisi quantitativa en eines de planejament. Per tant, es proposa una metodologia que avalua les necessitats i les oportunitats de proveir serveis ecosistèmics en un lloc amb l’objectiu de generar recomanacions sobre SbN per al maneig de l’escorriment. Aquesta metodologia comprèn dues parts (i.e., anàlisi espacial i disseny del paisatge) i les escales de ciutat i unitat de planejament local. Així mateix, avalua tres unitats d’anàlisi per enllaçar el planejament urbà i de SbN: cel·la de 20*20 m, Subzona Climàtica Urbana (SZCU) i Zona Climàtica Urbana (ZCU). La primera part identifica àrees de prioritat i oportunitat mitjançant el càlcul de dos índexs a través de la ponderació de múltiples criteris relacionats amb serveis ecosistèmics, així com tipus de SbN, processos i percentatges d’àrea per al maneig de l’aigua pluvial. La segona part prova la utilitat dels resultats espacials i numèrics per donar suport al disseny paisatgístic. La metodologia és implementada a la ciutat de Bogotà (Colòmbia). Per al cas d’estudi, els resultats evidencien el potencial de les SZCU com a unitat de planejament per identificar zones d’intervenció i dissenyar estratègies reproduïbles. Alhora, els percentatges d'àrea constitueixen una guia per integrar diversos tipus de SbN en el disseny i reconèixer si la cobertura és insuficient per al maneig de l'aigua pluvial. Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) constitute an alternative approach for managing water and ecosystems that need to be integrated with local regulations. In this context, effective knowledge transfer is essential to include NbS guidelines derived from quantitative analysis in planning tools. Hence, this research proposes a methodology that assesses the needs and opportunities for providing ecosystem services at a site in order to generate NbS recommendations focused on stormwater management. The methodology has two parts (i.e., spatial analysis and landscape design) and the city and local planning unit scales. Also, it evaluates three analysis units to tie urban and NbS planning: 20*20 m cell, Local Climate Subzones (LCSZ), and Local Climate Zones (LCZ). The first part identifies priorities and opportunities —by calculating two indices that weigh multiple criteria related to ecosystem services— NbS types, processes, and area percentages for stormwater management. The second part tests the usefulness of these spatial and numerical outcomes to support NbS landscape design. The methodology is implemented in the city of Bogotá (Colombia). Results show LCSZ’s potential as a planning unit for the case study conditions to identify intervention zones and devise replicable strategies. Also, area percentages constituted a guide to integrating various NbS types into the design and recognizing insufficient coverage for stormwater management. El diseño urbano sensible al agua y las Soluciones basadas en la Naturaleza (SbN) constituyen una aproximación alternativa para el manejo del agua y los ecosistemas que requiere integración con la normativa local. En este contexto, es esencial la transferencia efectiva del conocimiento para incluir lineamientos de las SbN derivados de análisis cuantitativo en herramientas de planeación. Por lo tanto, se propone una metodología que evalúa las necesidades y oportunidades de proveer servicios ecosistémicos en un lugar con el objetivo de generar recomendaciones sobre SbN para el manejo de la escorrentía. Esta metodología comprende dos partes (i.e., análisis espacial y diseño del paisaje) y las escalas de ciudad y unidad de planeación local. Asimismo, evalúa tres unidades de análisis para enlazar la planeación urbana y de SbN: celda de 20*20 m, Subzona Climática Urbana (SZCU), y Zona Climática Urbana (ZCU). La primera parte identifica áreas de prioridad y oportunidad mediante el cálculo de dos índices a través de la ponderación de múltiples criterios relacionados con servicios ecosistémicos, así como tipos de SbN, procesos y porcentajes de área para el manejo del agua pluvial. La segunda parte prueba la utilidad de los resultados espaciales y numéricos para apoyar el diseño paisajístico. La metodología es implementada en la ciudad de Bogotá (Colombia). Para el caso de estudio, los resultados evidencian el potencial de las SZCU como unidad de planeación para identificar zonas de intervención y diseñar estrategias reproducibles. A su vez, los porcentajes de área constituyen una guía para integrar varios tipos de SbN en el diseño y reconocer si la cobertura es insuficiente para el manejo del agua pluvial.
... Based on this observation we concluded that cleaning the micropool periodically could help reduce the risk of infection. It was also recommended to evaluate the possibility of control access to micropool water by using vertical barriers (i.e., providing upland, riparian, or wetland plant massing, see (Echols and Pennypacker 2008)) and using informative advertising by the micropool area to help reduce children exposure. ...
Full-text available
Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) are commonly used to control flooding in urban areas. These structures store and treat stormwater runoff. Several studies in high-income countries have reported the presence of pathogens in runoff water, but it is expected that runoff water in developing countries contains higher pathogen concentrations given their lack of resources to properly manage sewage; this could result in higher risks of infection for people interacting with SUDS. In this study, we investigated pathogen concentrations (i.e., Salmonella spp. and E. Coli O157 ) at the micropool of a SUDS train composed of a grassed swale followed by a dry extended detention basin in Bogotá (Colombia) during a 25-week period. We also estimated the risk of infection with the analyzed pathogens, given the high level of exposure to the detention structure. Additionally, we investigated if any of the physicochemical or meteorological variables were associated with pathogen concentrations at the site. We found that pathogen concentrations greatly exceeded concentrations reported for stormwater runoff in developed countries, namely 1562 CFU/mL, on average, for Salmonella spp. and 9160 CFU/mL, on average, for E. Coli O157. The risk of infection from Salmonella spp. and E. Coli O157 greatly exceeded risks previously reported for recreational waters and SUDS. Pathogen concentrations were associated with precipitation and the concentration of suspended solids in the runoff. Given our findings, it is recommended that SUDS in developing countries should consider potential higher pathogen concentrations in stormwater runoff to reduce exposure.
... The public's lower ratings on other types of social benefits (i.e., neighborhood value, education value, recreation, and noise mitigation) in turn echoed the experts' critique regarding the lack of multi-functionality consideration in GSI design. For example, artful stormwater designs (Echols and Pennypacker 2008) that integrate play and environmental education and encourage social interactions remained rare, resulting in the lost opportunity to leverage SCD as a place-making process. The tight construction timetable, limited design experience, constrained resources devoted to social services, and disciplinary silos all contribute to the low design quality of many sponge projects (Dai et al. 2018;Qiao et al. 2020). ...
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The Sponge City Development (SCD) concept was initiated in 2012 to address severe urban flooding and water quality challenges in China. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) such as rain gardens have been adopted as critical stormwater management tools. Existing GSI research has focused primarily on their environmental performance, overlooking the human dimensions. The co-benefits of GSI have been particularly underinvestigated. We used social surveys (n = 607) and expert interviews (n = 11) to explore public perception of SCD and GSI in four pilot sponge cities, examining flood experience, stormwater concerns, GSI familiarity, institutional trust, and GSI benefit perception. The survey found high exposure to flooding, medium GSI familiarity, and strong institutional trust. The public showed greater concern on stormwater impacts on their quality-of-life than the water environment, rating the less-intended aesthetic and health values as the best-perceived benefits. Experience, familiarity, concern, trust, age, and city significantly affected GSI benefit perception. In contrast, the experts spoke more positively about the environmental benefits while indicating the inadequacy of public participation. The case of GSI in SCD offers broad implications for environmental governance and expert-public relationships in an era of rapid social, technological, and environmental change. Refining policies and regulations to incorporate social goals, bringing the public into the SCD process, and building up the GSI industry’s capacity in planning, design, construction, and maintenance are critical to enhancing GSI benefits provision. Adopting the co-benefits approach will be essential to utilizing GSI as a place-making tool to create more sustainable and livable communities.
... Stormwater runoff has traditionally been considered as an undesirable product, managed to be removed as quickly as possible via man-made stormwater runoff conveyance systems to downstream waterbodies or treatment facilities [1,2]. These practices have altered the natural hydrology of urban water bodies and rivers [3]. ...
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Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI), a sustainable engineering design approach for managing urban stormwater runoff, has long been recommended as an alternative to conventional conveyance-based stormwater management strategies to mitigate the adverse impact of sprawling urbanization. Hydrological and hydraulic simulations of small-scale GSI measures in densely urbanized micro watersheds require high-resolution spatial databases of urban land use, stormwater structures, and topography. This study presents a highly resolved Storm Water Management Model developed under considerable spatial data constraints. It evaluates the cumulative effect of the implementation of dispersed, retrofitted, small-scale GSI measures in a heavily urbanized micro watershed of Costa Rica. Our methodology includes a high-resolution digital elevation model based on Google Earth information, the accuracy of which was sufficient to determine flow patterns and slopes, as well as to approximate the underground stormwater structures. The model produced satisfactory results in event-based calibration and validation, which ensured the reliability of the data collection procedure. Simulating the implementation of GSI shows that dispersed, retrofitted, small-scale measures could significantly reduce impermeable surface runoff (peak runoff reduction up to 40%) during frequent, less intense storm events and delay peak surface runoff by 5-10 min. The presented approach can benefit stormwater practitioners and modelers conducting small scale hydrological simulation under spatial data constraint.
Conference Paper
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Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan regions in the world. Around 18 km away from Dhaka, Purbachal satellite city was planned in 1995 to solve the ever-increasing need for housing. Purbachal is the largest planned township in Bangladesh, with an area of over 25 square kilometers. Historically a low-lying wetland, Purbachal has gone through a rapid transformation in past decades. This study investigates the transformation of wetland areas in Purbachal New Town using Supervised Classification for Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) Change and Water Flow and Watershed Analysis. The study Investigates whether the new developments in the Purbachal New Town followed a natural topography or was drastically modified from its natural conditions. The result shows wetlands around the new town have been filled in to create new developable land. As a result, the existing water flow patterns drastically altered, making the satellite city susceptible to flooding. By combining geospatial modeling with impact simulation, the study demonstrated a feedback process that facilitates the development of sustainable design strategies. The study's outcomes will guide the formulation of an alternative city planning process aided by Geodesign tools and the establishment of a systematic urban planning approach for this region guided by the natural land transformation analysis to create cities where people will be able to live in harmony with nature.
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Sustainable stormwater management in developing countries requires more research, and budget compared to developed countries. Runoff measurement in small urban watersheds is often not carried out; city plans are made without much consideration of the effect of runoff. In this study, the effect of land use decisions on the surface runoff was assessed using land use change scenarios in an urban catchment located in Izmir, Turkey. Answers to the following two questions were sought: (1) how the runoff will be affected if the city plan decisions currently in use are implemented and (2) whether it is possible to control the runoff in an urban catchment by developing rational, sustainable planning suggestions based on water. The main novelty of this study is to show the importance of the maquis cover, as well as the permeability of the built-up environment and the existence of open spaces in lower catchments are vital in meeting the runoff.
Conference Paper
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In the intense urbanization of fast-growing cities in developing countries, preservation of surface water has consistently been neglected. Overall, rapid urbanization increases impervious surface and decreases natural land surface, resulting in ecological degradation; bringing surface water back into a city will improve its ecology. One means of restoring surface water is to reintroduce lost waterbodies or waterway connections. This paper will discuss a hypothesis regarding the process of reviving a lost waterway through landscape design, namely that reviving a lost water channel through transforming a vehicular road into a waterway can bring nature back within the city. Dhaka City was chosen as the study site for this idea-based proposal. First, a physical survey was conducted and the road to be transformed was categorized into several sections based on land use, activities, and appearance on both sides of the road. The ArcGIS flow accumulation tool and watershed tool were used to determine a proposed depth for the waterway. The design proposals are particular to each road section. An overall design concept was developed, and several functions are proposed based on site surveys to support the existing transport system. In addition to restoring nature, the potential outcome of this idea-based experimental proposal may help address the growing demand for water in the urbanized area of the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
In the United States, regulators, planners, and designers have promoted Low Impact Development (LID) as a landscape-based approach to better manage urban stormwater for ecological benefits. However, the projects have often failed to achieve positive public responses due to their unattractive and unkempt appearances. This study provides empirical insights into public perception of urban LID practices by studying user reactions to 16 sites located in the San Francisco Bay Area—eight with LID design and eight with conventional landscape design. Most of the 502 respondents, although expressing some misconceptions and limited stormwater knowledge, showed their appreciation and recognition of the LID landscapes. This finding implies that the implementation of new LID facilities can be continued and expanded without serious concern about strong public resistance, and suggests that the design of these existing LID sites can serve as models for the future projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, along with other urban areas. The study confirms the important role of picturesque beauty, naturalness, and neatness in satisfying public expectations, especially for aesthetic and ecological landscapes. Interestingly, interpretive signs appeared to be the preferable means for motivating stormwater education and the powerful means for producing positive public reactions to LID sites, suggesting the potential of urban LID projects as the venues for public education and outreach. The study not only emphasizes the alignment of aesthetics and ecology to enhance public satisfaction, but also promotes the aesthetic qualities and didactic opportunities as the essential components of LID implementation.
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El objetivo central del libro blanco que se presenta a continuación es mostrar un camino para contar con una estrategia efectiva para la reducción de la huella de carbono de las ciudades y hacer frente a los impactos y riesgos del cambio climático. Se analizan las políticas, regulaciones y capacidades requeridas para que los proyectos urbanos puedan avanzar hacia una mayor sostenibilidad. También se identifican las posibilidades de financiación para la implementación de medidas de mejora seleccionadas. Este análisis y las recomendaciones realizadas se basan en la investigación “Systemic perspectives on low-carbon cities in Colombia- An integrated urban modeling approach for policy and regulatory analysis”, liderada por la Universidad de los Andes en el marco del financiamiento UK-PACT Colombia.
Nach Jahrzehnten der Verdrängung von Wasser aus dem Siedlungsraum ist dieses in den vergangenen Jahren verstärkt zum gestalterischen Thema geworden. Die Integration natürlicher Wasserläufe in die bebaute Umgebung, die Klimatisierung von Stadträumen durch Wasserskulpturen, aber auch die Schaffung von Ruhe oder Erlebnisorten wie Brunnen und Bassins stoßen nicht nur bei Architekten und Stadtplanern auf Interesse, sondern werden auch in der Öffentlichkeit beachtet. Dieses Buch zeigt die vielfältigen Möglichkeiten der kreativen Arbeit mit Wasser in der Stadt, Kunst, Landschaft und Architektur. Die dokumentierten Arbeiten umfassen u.a. einen großen neuen Stadtpark in Portland, Oregon, den Botanischen Garten im New Yorker Stadtteil Queens, den Umbau eines ehemaligen Flughafens in Oslo, den Park für eine neue Siedlung in Oulu, Finnland, am Polarkreis oder das Gesamtkonzept für die Renaturierung der Emscher im Ruhrgebiet.
Conference Paper
In the City of Malmo in Sweden the concept of sustainable urban drainage has been applied more systematically since the late 1980's. The characteristic feature of sustainable urban drainage is that aesthetics, multiple use and public acceptance of the drainage facilities play a very important role in the planning. For a successful result a close co-operation between the different technical departments in the city and an active involvement of the public is of greatest importance. The planning of sustainable drainage systems is much more complex and time-consuming than the planning of traditional underground drainage systems. During 15 years experiences of sustainable urban drainage in Malmo a new approach for the planning has evolved. This new approach is described briefly. Today most new developments in the city of Malmo are planned according to the sustainable drainage concept. The ambition is that the urban drainage facilities shall be regarded as a positive asset in the city environment. In the paper some examples are given of how the new types of drainage facilities have been implemented in Malmo.
Conference Paper
The site planning and design phase of land development projects presents the best opportunities for, and is critical to, reducing the impacts of development on the quality of the nation's waters. Unfortunately, most currently accepted site planning and design principles negatively affect water quality by increasing impervious surfaces and increasing the volume and velocity of runoff and pollutants that reach receiving waters. Recognizing the need for guidance in site planning and design, the (San Francisco) Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) published the document "Start at the Source - Residential Site Planning and Design Guidance Manual for Stormwater Quality Protection" and a second edition in 1999 that also included guidance for industrial and commercial development. This manual, and its companion workshops, sought to educate planners, engineers, designers, builders, and public officials on the emerging practice of sustainable stormwater management. The manual communicates basic stormwater management concepts and illustrates simple, practical techniques to preserve the natural hydrologic cycle. It stresses the importance of minimizing impervious area and controlling and/or infiltrating runoff "at the source" rather than conveying it away for end-of-pipe treatment. The manual presents a menu of well-illustrated choices for stormwater controls based on this design philosophy. This paper focuses on the effect of the manual on the current state of storm water management practice related to control of development impacts in the San Francisco Bay Area. It also discusses the obstacles to regenerative storm water systems and presents examples of successes and failures in site planning and design.
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