We’ve run several articles in Stormwater exploring the potential stormwater benefits of high-density development, from a case study in Grand Rapids to this article examining the relationship between per capita pollutants and density on a watershed scale. Although areas of denser development tend to have a higher percentage of impervious area, from a watershed perspective, high-rise living can actually result in less impervious area per person—and certainly more preserved open space—than the same number of people living in low-rise single-family homes with the necessary roads, driveways, and sidewalks to get to them.
Of course, density of development has implications for far more than just stormwater. A recent article in the Washington Post reported that people in urban areas are willing to pay a premium to obtain housing within walking distance of public transportation—specifically in this case, that those in the Washington DC region will pay up to 28% more to be near a Metro station, and in some particularly congested areas, as much as 40% more.
As more public transit systems are built or expanded, some are arguing that we’re putting them in the wrong place, or at least restricting development near newly built systems in the wrong way. This opinion piece, for example, recommends allowing greater density and fewer height restrictions around Metro stations and the like—and says we might then need fewer huge (and impervious) parking areas near them. “If you build the lines but don’t allow the density, you’ve really just created a private benefit for people who happen to live near the stations.”
Do you see zoning ordinances in your area changing to allow greater density and more open space, or a continuing trend to allow development on previously undisturbed land—which, in many cases, still makes it easier for developers to comply with existing site-based stormwater requirements? How does public transport figure into the equation in your city?
Upcoming Forester University Webinars
January 26th, 2012
5 Steps to Creating a Successful Public Outreach Campaign
Change starts with people. Whether your focus is stormwater pollution, energy conservation, pavement restoration, or recycling, a successful public outreach campaign resonates with your target audience and leads to long-lasting behavior change. Join Erica Hooper of SGA to explore a proven 5-step approach to crafting a successful outreach campaign based on real-world examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Read more…
February 2nd, 2012
Advanced Stormwater Treatment: Dissolved Pollutants
How effective are your stormwater treatments in capturing dissolved loads? With an average of 45% of the phosphorus load and up to 50% of the metal load transported through treatment practices to receiving waters in dissolved form, advanced treatment is imperative. Join Andrew Erickson to explore cost-effective, field-tested methods to capture stormwater dissolved pollutants and optimize stormwater treatment performance. We’ll explore several field applications and data demonstrating significant improvements in dissolved pollutant fraction capture. Read More...
February 9th, 2012
Differentiating & Monitoring Groundwater Plumes
Threatened by various plumes of mobile contaminants, urban potable groundwater resources require groundwater professionals to not only determine the source of individual plumes, but apportion the contributions of multiple sources within a composite plume. Join William G. Soukup, P.G. of Cornerstone Environmental Group LLC to discuss the analytical and interpretive techniques for differentiating plumes and their sources, as well as tips to improve long-term plume monitoring and management. Read More...