Stormwater Symposium

Oral

395017 - Quantifying Socioeconomic Co-Benefits of Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Tuesday, June 5
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Mirage Room
Co-Authors: Mary Pat McGuire, Champaign, IL – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ashlynn Stillwell, Urbana, IL – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Cities throughout the United States continue to grow in population and physical size, causing accompanying land use changes. Stormwater management has simultaneously changed as cities have grown; in the early 20th century, engineers utilized ‘gray’ infrastructure to quickly and efficiently transport stormwater out of cities. This Promethean approach satisfied the need to convey water away from urban cores, but increasing development has led to problems such as degraded water quality, urban heat island effect, and continued flooding. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) is a sustainable alternative to traditional gray infrastructure. GSI offers a multitude of environmental, economic, and social benefits, and researchers have quantified many of the hydrologic (environmental) benefits. However, fewer findings have been published concerning the potential socioeconomic benefits. Municipal and regional decision makers strive to act as good stewards of the public's tax money, and thus these leaders seek information on potential benefits pertaining to implementing GSI throughout their communities. Assessing the environmental, social, and economic benefits of GSI can inform more holistic decision-making.

We construct a model to quantify GSI co-benefits, especially social benefits. Social co-benefits address how end users of GSI engage these spaces. Social co-benefits include improved mental health, improved physical health through factors like decreased asthma, reduced crime, and recreational engagement. Our approach uses a multi-variate regression analysis to better predict a given GSI project's overall sustainability given this crucial social factor. We utilize survey data to assess how people engage GSI, serving to better inform hydrologic design to support stakeholder investment and acceptance.

James F. Canning

Graduate Student
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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