Recent destructive storm events have focused public attention on climate change, sustainable site design, and resiliency. As ecological design practitioners, we have an opportunity to build on this paradigm shift and take the lead in promoting a more sustainable approach to water management. To help our new ideas take root quickly, we must bring together new ways to frame our discussion of ecologically based design, and we must follow through with beautiful spaces that resonate.
In this series of posts, we will discuss the importance of aesthetics, context, integration, and management as we move from traditional engineered stormwater solutions to green infrastructure options. While it seems intuitive that green infrastructure and aesthetics would go hand in hand, it is surprising how many of these projects fail to look good. Even if a project treats and/or infiltrates stormwater well, if it doesn’t fit the context or have visual appeal, it won’t be a success.
We hope these posts raise awareness about the benefits of green infrastructure and the importance of aesthetics and community engagement. A lot of attention has been paid to the successful green infrastructure initiatives in larger cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, and Seattle, but these concepts don’t necessarily translate to smaller projects with limited budgets in colder climates. Smaller and successful green infrastructure projects are out there, and can play a supporting role in changing the conversation about how we view, engage and treat stormwater.
This post originally appeared in modified form on the Ecological Landscaping Association’s July , 2013 online newsletter.