Science Inventory

Sustainable Urban Waters: Opportunities to Integrate Environmental Protection in Multi-objective Projects

Citation:

Hu, S. AND Ann Keeley. Sustainable Urban Waters: Opportunities to Integrate Environmental Protection in Multi-objective Projects. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-15/305, 2015.

Impact/Purpose:

Abstract: Nonpoint source pollution is an ongoing challenge for environmental agencies who seek to protect waters of the U.S. Urban stream and waterfront redevelopment projects present opportunities to achieve integrated environmental, economic, and social benefits in urban waters. This report explores opportunities to incorporate environmental protection objectives into multi-objective landscape projects to create sustainable urban waters. Based on available project performance information and representativeness of different site contexts, 15 stream restoration and waterfront redevelopment projects were selected and synthesized in this study. These projects include 14 U.S. projects (in 10 states) and one international project (in South Korea).Project information was retrieved from case study reports, project summaries, and journal articles, from sources including the websites of Landscape Architecture Foundation, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), design firms, project partnerships, and local governments. The projects provided a variety of landscape performance benefits including: 1) environmental benefits of flood control, water quality protection, habitat creation, air quality control, carbon sequestration, enhanced urban microclimate, and soil protection and remediation, 2) economic benefits of increased property value, investment, retail sales, and local employment, and 3) social benefits of promoting public environmental education, increased recreational activities, and enhanced aesthetics. Projects in different context (downtown, urban, suburban, and rural) have different environmental, economic, and social benefits. In this study projects in downtown contexts provided the most comprehensive sets of benefits: perhaps because of increased economic and social needs in urban cores compared to less developed areas. There are possibilities to incorporate water quality protection into multi-benefit stream restoration and waterfront redevelopment projects in urban waters. Strong partnerships are needed in project planning, implementation, and long-term management. Project outcomes should be pre-determined to integrate or reduce competing interests. Achieving water quality protection and urban economic development simultaneously can be challenging. A broader meaning of water quality protection should also be considered in decision making, such as public environmental education, sustainable stormwater management, and brownfield remediation.

Description:

Abstract: Nonpoint source pollution is an ongoing challenge for environmental agencies who seek to protect waters of the U.S. Urban stream and waterfront redevelopment projects present opportunities to achieve integrated environmental, economic, and social benefits in urban waters. This report explores opportunities to incorporate environmental protection objectives into multi-objective landscape projects to create sustainable urban waters.Based on available project performance information and representativeness of different site contexts, 15 stream restoration and waterfront redevelopment projects were selected and synthesized in this study. These projects include 14 U.S. projects (in 10 states) and one international project (in South Korea).Project information was retrieved from case study reports, project summaries, and journal articles, from sources including the websites of Landscape Architecture Foundation, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), design firms, project partnerships, and local governments. The projects provided a variety of landscape performance benefits including: 1) environmental benefits of flood control, water quality protection, habitat creation, air quality control, carbon sequestration, enhanced urban microclimate, and soil protection and remediation, 2) economic benefits of increased property value, investment, retail sales, and local employment, and 3) social benefits of promoting public environmental education, increased recreational activities, and enhanced aesthetics. Projects in different context (downtown, urban, suburban, and rural) have different environmental, economic, and social benefits. In this study projects in downtown contexts provided the most comprehensive sets of benefits: perhaps because of increased economic and social needs in urban cores compared to less developed areas.There are possibilities to incorporate water quality protection into multi-benefit stream restoration and waterfront redevelopment projects in urban waters. Strong partnerships are needed in project planning, implementation, and long-term management. Project outcomes should be pre-determined to integrate or reduce competing interests. Achieving water quality protection and urban economic development simultaneously can be challenging. A broader meaning of water quality protection should also be considered in decision making, such as public environmental education, sustainable stormwater management, and brownfield remediation.

URLs/Downloads:

600-R15-305.PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 6233.218 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PUBLISHED REPORT/REPORT)
Product Published Date: 12/30/2015
Record Last Revised: 06/02/2016
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 315152

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY

GROUND WATER AND ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION DIVISION

ECOSYSTEM & SUBSURFACE PROTECTION BRANCH