Database Highlights Projects That Convert Runoff into Public Resources

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has launched a public database of 479 projects that use green infrastructure techniques to divert and process urban stormwater before it reaches rivers, lakes, estuaries and other waterways. By using such methods as rain gardens, green roofs, and bioretention — which replicates the uptake and storage of chemicals and sediment by wetlands — designers say the projects have improved the quality of water in their cities and towns, while converting urban stormwater into a valuable resource for communities. Most of the projects listed — including the restoration of an Atlanta brownfield site into a public park and the transformation of a dilapidated Bronx playground into a recreation area that captures and filters stormwater — represent redevelopment or retrofits that have returned unproductive or out-of-use space to the public. Significantly, ASLA found that the deployment of such “green infrastructure” strategies tended to lower development costs, primarily by doing away with expensive, hard runoff-treatment options.