Assessing the Potential for Daylighting of Urban Streams

Authors: Michael Adams*,
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: Stream daylighting, GIS, urban stream syndrome, headwater streams, landscape architecture
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban stream syndrome (USS) is a widespread problem affecting industrial-era urban areas. One important contributor to USS is stream burial which is done to maximize space for industrial, commercial, or other social gain. Stream burial isolates the stream from the landscape and harms the ecological and hydrologic functioning of the stream and reduces urban green space provided by stream corridors. The practice of unburying streams, or daylighting streams, has been shown to benefit stream ecology, mitigate storm water flooding, and can reconnect previously urbanized landscapes and people with their natural environments. While the benefits of daylighting streams are known, tools for planning daylighting projects are lacking. No study has developed a methodology to find buried streams nor to provide criteria to assist planners in ranking and prioritizing sites to determine which in a given area would be best for daylighting. The objectives of this research were to develop a GIS (geographic information system) methodology to assist managers in identifying buried streams based on widely-available spatial data and to provide a framework for ranking and prioritizing buried sites based on daylighting feasibility. This research draws from numerous case studies, scholarly literature, and interviews with city officials to develop a set of spatial criteria to consider (framework) when first starting a daylighting project. The methods are applied to two sites in Rock Island, Illinois to demonstrate how the new GIS methods can be used to identify buried stream segments and how the new framework is used to assess daylighting feasibility.

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