Equity and Optimization in Green Infrastructure Planning

Authors: Megan Heckert*, West Chester University, Christina Rosan, Temple University, Arthur McGarity, Swarthmore College
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: green infrastructure, equity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Jefferson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Green Infrastructure (GI) is increasingly seen as an important tool in stormwater management, particularly given its potential to produce ancillary benefits for surrounding communities. The many forms that GI can take and potential differences in the ways it is perceived by community residents create a challenge for planning as the potential exists for conflicts to arise between addressing neighborhood concerns and reducing stormwater runoff. This presentation will focus on a case study in Philadelphia attempting to create a planning workflow to include both considerations of equitable development and also cost-effective optimization. It will explore the creation of StormWISE, an engineering optimization model intended to suggest which types of GI to place on which land uses in order to maximize the overall impacts of GI at the lowest cost. In some communities, StormWISE has shown that the stormwater reduction goals of green infrastructure and the ancillary benefits intended to improve surrounding communities do not always increase together. Community cases will be explored that demonstrate the potential for trade-offs in which planners would have to choose between maximizing stormwater runoff reduction and maximizing ancillary benefits to surrounding communities. This paper will further discuss the creation of an equity index and conceptualize how it might be incorporated into the StormWISE optimization workflow.

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