Stormwater Symposium

Oral

397890 - What Drives Green Infrastructure Program Adoption

Thursday, June 7
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Mirage Room

Many U.S. cities have adopted green infrastructure programs for stormwater management, particularly for combined sewer overflow mitigation. The components of these programs vary widely based on a municipality’s existing infrastructure system, broader environmental and social goals, and regulatory targets. For instance, some programs encompass city-wide implementation of green infrastructure over multiple decades, while others include only short-term pilot projects. There is a need to develop a deeper understanding of why growing numbers of U.S. municipalities are adopting green infrastructure programs, how extensive the programs are, and what benefits these programs will provide. Viewing green infrastructure program adoption in combined sewer communities as a policy innovation, this paper develops an empirical model to investigate factors associated with sewer management authorities’ decisions related to green infrastructure program adoption and implementation. Data collected from large combined sewer system cities (with populations above 100,000) are used to examine the effects of both internal factors, such as local precipitation characteristics and socioeconomic factors, and external factors such as incentive programs. A hurdle model is used to assess the factors that influence management authorities’ binary decision to adopt green infrastructure programs, and the factors associated with decisions related to the extent of planned program implementation. This study finds that the binary decision to adopt a municipal green infrastructure program for combined sewer overflow management is largely driven by municipal population size and precipitation characteristics, while the extent of program implementation is also driven by socioeconomic characteristics of municipal residents and capital funds required to achieve combined sewer overflow compliance. The results of this research contribute to a better understanding of the motivation for and barriers to green infrastructure adoption.

Carli Flynn


Rochester Institute of Technology

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