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Yes We Can! Reviving Lost Water Resources Functions in Urban Environments

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This paper presents examples of projects occurring in urbanized areas of major cities within vast and dense metropolitan regions with over a century of intensive and degrading land use history. In each case, the initial effort was to provide a practical solution to conventional need, but which simultaneously achieved the restoration of the natural ecological systems appropriate to the site and its context. Crucially, the foresight and passion of project sponsors and key project team members to set goals and priorities that went beyond the mere need to minimize impacts to obtain regulatory approval allowed an interdisciplinary team of developers, engineers, ecologists, landscape architects, citizens, and business owners to establish goals and priorities for their projects that included the opportunity to transact restoration.

For a set of implemented and ongoing success stories, highlights of challenges and lessons learned will be shared to energize audience interest, build a knowledge base, and urge goal setting and passion in applying “outside of the box” solutions in our national efforts to achieving sustainable development excellence. The first project will be explored in depth to formulate a deeper understanding of the issues, methods, and purposes of many design elements, and further projects will be presented in synopsis in the following order:

The Southern Connecticut Water Treatment Plant, CT

The MIT Stata Center , Cambridge, MA

The Lexington Massachusetts Department of Public Works Project, MA

Chicago Area Waterways Habitat Enhancement Techniques, Chicago, IL

Keywords: Balance of Competing Natural and Physical Needs; Floodplains; Natural Ecosystem Restoration; Soft Infrastructure; Urban Solutions; Urban Wilds; Water Resources; Wetlands

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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