Storm-water flooding in cities is exacerbated by urban infrastructure as a corollary; cities need new strategies to manage the influx of stormwater. MIT, with a team of engineers and urban planners, brings a solution, a multifunctional urban storm-water wetland, and pond that will effortlessly manage and clean the storm water with conservational and recreational benefits.
Urban areas are threatened with storm-water flooding because many of the natural ecosystems that would absorb rainfall have been replaced with pavement, which greatly limits infiltration capacity. As a result, the unabsorbed storm water on the surface picks up all kinds of pollutants trash, heavy metals, and industrial chemicals that are eventually carried into nearby bodies of water, often including the local water supply.
In cities, engineered green spaces are becoming much more popular as for their affordability. But the MIT team’s wetlands have been designed to be much more effective than the existing management system which includes water circulation control and purifying storm water while also delivering ecosystem and recreational benefits.
A detailed study of the multiuse design is available in the report “Design Guidelines for Urban Stormwater Wetlands,” which is based on two years of research funded by a seed grant from MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS).
The purpose of our study is to help cities mitigate their own problems so to make it easier for them to face the rapidly changing climates, the economic tribulations, and other problems like large storms. – co-author Alan M. Berger, Professor of Advanced Urbanism and LCAU co-director.
The team in the month of May conducted a campaign to ensure that these open-sourced designs reach urban stakeholders across the U.S. The engineered green space will not only manage stormwater but also will create greenery for the city recreational space for the community, and valuable wildlife habitats.
The purification of water occurs through a combination of biological and chemical processes, including giving contaminants time to settle out of the water. Wetland vegetation is another good filter, as they are very effective at capturing pollutants and excess nutrients.
The multi-use design has a political advantage as well; it can help in public approval to implement wetlands. Communities unaware of the consequences of stormwater flooding may not approve the implementation of such a project, the recreational feature will help in managing communities much easily.
The team hopes that the cities will adopt this approach that will not only benefit the environment but also the livability of the city as well.