Water Sensitive Urban Design

Well, that’s what we call it in Australia anyway, rain water tanks, rain gardens, biofiltration swales, wetlands, sand filters, gross pollutant traps are all critical parts of residential and urban stormwater management.

Planetizen points to a recent article in the Urban Land magazine, (usually subscription only, but follow the link below for this article).

Vogel believes that Seattle and Portland have come closest to designing natural stormwater management for an urban density that would please urbanists of all stripes. “Portland’s 12th Avenue is a model for fitting nature-based stormwater management into the traditional street network in moderate- to high-density areas. In bringing even more of nature’s functions into such areas, Seattle’s “Swale on Yale” and Taylor 28 move further in the direction of…high-performance infrastructure.

Source: Does Runoff Have To Run Off? | Planetizen

The discussions about Seattle’s Street Edge Alternative program are interesting, and worth a read. Ideas such as converting parts of overly wide roadways into stormwater basins is pretty easy, as the land is already owned and maintained by council.  At the moment I live on a fourteen meter wide cul de sac which you could easily drive 5 semitrailers down!  I’m sure that road reserve could be put to better use!


Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.