This month, we talk about the importance of green infrastructure. As the US EPA puts it: "Green infrastructure is a cost-effective, resilient approach to managing wet weather impacts that provides many community benefits. While single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure—conventional piped drainage and water treatment systems—is designed to move urban stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure reduces and treats stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits."
Examples of Green Infrastructure projects included in this month's newsletter discuss how communities design infrastructure to respond to stormwater management with a strong emphasis on the principles of Low Impact Development (LID). Other Green Infrastructure projects focus on a broader definition and address the entire natural ecosystem. We’ll look at both National and Arizona examples and because of the critical nature of Green Infrastructure and how it is being addressed in Arizona - Green Infrastructure is an expected theme for future newsletters. Enjoy.
Ultra-Urban Green Infrastructure Guidelines
City and County of Denver
The City and County of Denver is making green infrastructure a fundamental part of the city’s long-term stormwater management strategy by looking at ways to incorporate large-scale green infrastructure with small or site-scale green infrastructure. Benefits of green infrastructure, regardless of scale, include improved air and water quality, reduced flooding risks, urban heat island effect mitigation, reduced energy demands, climate change resiliency, and enhanced community livability.
On a large-scale, green infrastructure refers to a network of parks, open spaces, drainageways, and floodplains which help mitigate the impacts caused by impervious (hard) surfaces. Impervious surfaces disrupt the natural infiltration of water and increase both the volume and peak rate of stormwater runoff which leave urban watersheds prone to flooding, erosion, and increased pollution levels.
Site-scale green infrastructure refers to smaller, engineered, structural practices which are necessary to mitigate the impacts urbanization has on the hydrologic cycle. These systems mimic larger natural systems and use vegetation, soils, and roots to slow and filter stormwater runoff. Site-scale green infrastructure best management practices (BMPs) are the focus of the City and County's guide and fact sheets for streetside stormwater planters, bumpout stormwater planters, green gutters, green alleys, and tree pit/tree trenches.
Green Infrastructure, ASU, Global Sustainability,
Sustainable Cities Network
Decisions made today regarding land use, transportation, water, economic development, and social services will have enormous long-term impacts on the future sustainability of our megapolitan region. Recognizing this, Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability created the Sustainable Cities Network, which works with local communities to explore sustainable approaches and address challenges.
The Sustainable Cities Institute provides a number of publications that address green infrastructure topics in their Green Infrastructure Resource Guide.
Green Infrastructure Guidelines
and Low Impact Development
To provide guidance to cities and towns in Maricopa County, the City of Scottsdale Office of Environmental Initiatives in partnership with the Sustainable Cities Institute led by ASU, has taken on the responsibility of preparation of “Green Infrastructure Guidelines”. The project is funded by grants from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the Water infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) and funding from the City of Scottsdale.
The Green Infrastructure Guidelines – the formal title has not yet been determined – is an identified as an element of LID (low impact development) which most cities and towns are using when designing stormwater management systems.
The first Low Impact Development Toolkit in Maricopa County was prepared for the city of Mesa in 2015 and is also used by the City of Glendale.
The guidelines being prepared by the City of Scottsdale will build in what Mesa has accomplished by identifying and incorporating ten engineered details. The ten details have been identified by the Sustainable Cities Network members and are considered the most critical in the process of designing for low impact development.
Tim Connor, Manager, Office of Environmental Initiatives, City of Scottsdale is the project manager and can be contacted here.
Editor’s Note: This project will be completed by the end of 2018. Updates will be provided in the newsletter during 2018 and a comprehensive story early 2019.
MORE FROM ARIZONA:
Watershed Management Group
Watershed Management Group (WMG) develops community-based solutions to ensure the long-term prosperity of people and health of the environment. We provide people with the knowledge, skills, and resources for sustainable livelihoods.
Green Infrastructure for Desert Communities
WMG recognizes that green infrastructure strategies for arid and semi-arid desert communities need to be different than strategies developed in temperate areas of North America. The Southwestern U.S. and Mexico face long periods of drought interspersed with intense rainfall that can make implementing GI challenging. Their manual provides guidelines and best practices for retrofitting neighborhood streets, open spaces, rights-of-way, and parking lots with green infrastructure.
This guide draws on WMG's experience working with landowners, neighborhoods, and local governments to install green infrastrucure in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico. Design specifics are given only for conceptual understanding, and will always require adaptation to local site conditions and government regulations.
Regional Open Space Strategy (ROSS)
In January 2016, the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance Trust, Desert Botanical Garden, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department, the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, the Sonoran Institute, the Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, and more than thirty other participating organizations, participated in a multi-scale, stakeholder-driven, strategic planning process which has resulted in a Regional Open Space Strategy for Maricopa County (ROSS).
After extensive problem mapping, collaboration, research and outreach, the CAZCA partners identified specific regional challenges and developed four key goals, objectives and actions to address them. The ROSS lays out a roadmap and action agenda for regional open space conservation.
When fully implemented, the ROSS will deliver a connected, distinctive, well-managed open space network that will enhance the unique character of the region and enable Maricopa County to realize the full benefits of open space for people, environment, and economy.
The first draft of the ROSS will be released to the public in the summer of 2018. To view the goals of the strategy and learn more about the ROSS, please visit the CAZCA website and Story map.
Editor’s Note: A more detailed discussion of ROSS
will be included in an upcoming newsletter.
EVEN MORE RESOURCES
Green Schools: Attributes for Health and Learning,
The National Academic Press
Evidence has accumulated that shows that the quality of indoor environments can affect the health and productivity of adults and children. One consequence is that a movement has emerged to promote the design of schools that have fewer adverse environmental effects. To examine the potential of such design for improving education, several private organizations asked the NRC to review and assess the health and productivity benefits of green schools.
This report provides an analysis of the complexity of making such a determination; and an assessment of the potential human health and performance benefits of improvements in the building envelope, indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustical quality. The report also presents an assessment of the overall building condition and student achievement, and offers an analysis of and recommendations for planning and maintaining green schools including research considerations.
LOCAL EVENTS & CONFERENCES
Housing and Health:
Panel Discussion at Mountain Park Health Center
Our health is inextricably tied to where we live. Having access to safe, stable, and affordable homes – particularly in communities with access to mass transit, parks, and healthy food – can lead to better physical and mental health and improve overall quality of life for Arizonans. Access to safe and affordable housing leads to better physical and mental health and improves the well-being of individuals and families. Learn what organizations are doing in Arizona to help bridge the gap between housing and health!
Join us for this networking breakfast and panel discussion event about the connections between housing and health in the Valley. Following our panel discussion the audience will have time for their own Q&A period and a tour of the newly opened Tempe campus of Mountain Park Health Center.
Breakfast will be served.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.: Breakfast & Networking
9:00 - 10:15 a.m.: Panel Discussion
10:30 - 11:00 a.m.: Tour of new Mountain Park Health Center
Mountain Park Health Center
1840 E Broadway Rd
Tempe, AZ 85281
Arizona Food Summit
Stay tuned for registration information
NATIONAL EVENTS & CONFERENCES
"Intersections: Creating Culturally Complete Streets"
2nd Annual Complete Streets Conference
April 3-4, 2018, Nashville, TN
Our Farms Are Our Future, 30th Annual Conference
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
April 3-5, 2018, Hyatt Regency Hotel, St. Louis, MO.
American Planning Association 2018 Conference
April 21-24, New Orleans, Louisiana
Let us know if you're going to this conference!
Designing Healthy, 10-Minute Neighborhoods,
55th International Making Cities Livable
International Making Cities Livable
May 14-18, 2018, Ottawa, Canada
Environmental Research Design Association
"Social Equity by Design"
June 6-9, 2018, Oklahoma City, OK
Sep. 16-19, 2018, New Orleans, LA
Community Transportation Association of America -
Inclusive Transportation Planning Grants
To facilitate development of local, inclusive, coordinated transportation systems in which people with disabilities, older adults, and caregivers actively participate in both advisory and decision-making roles.
Up to $35,000
Due May 4, 2018
AARP Community Challenge Grants
Funding projects that build momentum for
local change to improve livability for all residents.
Due May 16, 2018
Live Well Arizona Mini-Grants
$1,000 - $15,000
Rolling Application Process through June 30, 2018 -
Or until all funds are committed