Planning & Management

Oral

397852 - Guiding green stormwater infrastructure planning through socio-ecological vulnerability: An integrated and spatially scalable optimization framework for prioritizing sites in urban areas

Wednesday, June 6
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Greenway GH
Co-Authors: Morgan Grove, Suite 350, 5523 Research Park Drive Baltimore, MD, 21228 – US Forest Service; Julie Cidell, 255 CAB, MC-150 605 E. Springfield Ave. Champaign, IL 61820 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Arthur Schmidt, 2535a Hydrosystems Lab 205 N. Mathews Urbana Illinois 61801 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Barbara Minsker, PO Box 750340 3101 Dyer Street, 203G Embrey Bldg. Dallas, TX 75275-0340 – Southern Methodist University

Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) (e.g., rain gardens, bioswales, trees, etc.) is widely used for its potential to reduce storm water management problems (e.g., poor water quality and increased streamflow velocities and flood risk due to impervious surfaces) while also benefitting human and ecosystem health. Despite increasing attention to the implementation of GSI, current planning and design methodologies typically do not adequately integrate site-scale design decisions with catchment-scale impacts and fail to consider the significant environmental and social justice implications of GSI siting decisions. Planning decisions are often based on limited information about where different types of GSI will be most effective and the entire suite of socio-ecological benefits and risks associated with multiple hazards.
This study presents a spatially-scalable optimization framework that uses the vulnerability of socio-ecologic systems as drivers for prioritizing locations and types of GSI installations. The framework rapidly identifies areas with the greatest suitability for GSI implementation using a multi-hazard framework to couple different vulnerability indicators and screening rules associated with diverse design criteria and planning regulations. Using a graph-based approach with a simple distributed hydrologic model and mixed-integer linear programing, multi-objective optimization is performed to maximize potential GSI benefits to the most vulnerable areas.
Results from application of the framework in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, show the spatial synergies and tradeoffs that exist between infiltration structures (e.g., rain gardens, ponds, etc.) and trees as mitigation strategies for flooding and urban heat island. The results highlight the need for more detailed distributed hydrologic modeling to understand the implications of GSI implementation at multiple spatial scales. Using the proposed approach, city and regional organizations can reduce the cost and time associated with identifying suitable areas for GSI implementation and more in-depth design work, as well as improving environmental justice and community buy-in.

Samuel J. Rivera, MS

PhD Candidate
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Samuel (Sammy) Rivera is a doctoral student in the Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems (SRIS) program in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), advised by Professor Barbara Minsker. His research interests currently focus on the application of data mining and knowledge discovery techniques to improving understanding and management of sustainability problems, with an emphasis on urban hydrology. Sammy earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus in 2011, where he received the Etienne Totti award, which is given to the department’s most distinguished student. In 2013, he received his M.S. degree in Civil Engineering under the SRIS program at the UIUC. His M.S. thesis evaluated the feasibility of using text-mining techniques to identify, track, and report urban sustainability indicators by analyzing unstructured digital news articles. Sammy has received several fellowship and awards, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRF), the Support for Under-Represented Groups in Engineering (SURGE) Fellowship and the Outstanding Scholar Award from the Summer Pre-Doctoral Institute (SPI).

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