Trends in disciplinary research frameworks for spatial green stormwater infrastructure

Authors: Lechuan Huang*, Virginia Tech, Theodore Lim*, Virginia Tech
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Environment, Sustainability Science
Keywords: green infrastructure, stormwater management, interdisciplinary, sustainability, urban planning
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 6
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The implementation of green stormwater infrastructure at scale has necessitated a widening of disciplinary inquiry to include issues beyond the physical function of stormwater infrastructure. Green infrastructure research now includes examinations of environmental governance, questions of equity and distribution, and ecological impact quantification beyond the initial focus on flood control and infrastructure function. In this paper, we examine how research on the spatial configuration and siting of green infrastructure networks has evolved over the years, and what influence academic discipline has had on the epistemological framing, evaluative criteria, and choice of models used in the studies. A systematic review of over 130 papers reveals that while there has been increasing diversity of academic disciplines producing research pertaining to spatial green infrastructure, there are distinct patterns associated with how authors from different disciplines frame and answer research questions. Social sciences have tended to focus on equity and participatory planning processes, while natural sciences and engineering have been much more concerned with numerical optimization of the spatial locations of green infrastructure. Temporal trends suggest a progression from a focus on infrastructure function towards understanding the social dynamics of infrastructure transition. We discuss the implications of our findings and suggest pathways for improving interdisciplinary synthesis.

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