Stormwater management can no longer be looked at as simply a utility to manage environmental resources. It’s now also become an important tool in the placemaking process.

For decades, localities have relied on stormwater infrastructure that was costly, utilitarian, and damaging for the natural environment. But recent innovations in the field of sustainable stormwater management have made the old way of doing things obsolete. New techniques can reduce our footprint on the hydrological cycle, and enhance our public spaces simultaneously.

PPS, in partnership with the FHWA website,, recently hosted a webinar discussing the field of sustainable stormwater management. One of the presenters, Clark Wilson, with the USEPA Office of Smart Growth, stated that “A green streets strategy not only addresses environmental goals, but just as importantly, creates attractive, safe, and walkable streets that enhance a community’s sense of place.”

The following sequence of slides demonstrates how implementing sustainable SWM infrastructure can completely change the functionality and image of a street. In this photo-simulation, the SWM infrastructure includes chicanes, which slow down cars, making the street safer for all users, and plantings, which serve the SWM purposes. The result is a sustainable, safe, and beautiful public space.

To see the full presentation on the website, click here.
To learn more about creating Streets as Places, click here.

Images courtesy of: WRT,, Paul Rider Photography,

Design that’s Environmental was last modified: March 6th, 2012 by Aurash Khawarzad
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