Blue-Green Infrastructure on Private Land

Building on previous work impacts of residential stormwater management on Potomac Gorge stream water quality and the SLUCE2 project examining linkages between residential landscaping and carbon sequestration, Dawn Parker’s research group is beginning new research on residential land management in Kitchener-Waterloo and blue-green infrastructure. As climate change and urbanization accelerate, so does flood risk. Rapid urbanization and climate change are leading to increasing stormwater (SW) runoff due to increases in paved surfaces and extreme storm events.  Traditional “grey” infrastructure on public lands is proving insufficient to manage this SW increase.  Green infrastructure (GI) for stormwater management on private land (such as rain barrels, rain gardens, and permeable paving) is potentially part of a hybrid system solution, since private yards occupy more than 50% of urban areas, and such decentralized infrastructure is more adaptable to changing conditions.  While GI has the potential to alleviate some flood risk, a significant knowledge gap exists regarding barriers to adoption of GI on private lands, the impact of GI adoption on flood risk, and flood impacts at the watershed scale. Working with the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, the non-profit REEP Green Solutions, and two consulting firms, the research team seeks to co-develop policies to facilitate further resident adoption of GI for SWM on private lands. The research group is working to develop an empirical agent-based model (ABM) of resident information, attitudes, knowledge, socio-economics, and social norms to explore the potential for policies and institutional supports to catalyze GI adoption. 

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