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Smart Growth

Stormwater Guidelines for Green, Dense Redevelopment

In 2003, through a Smart Growth in Brownfield Communities Grant, EPA supported the city of Emeryville, California, in the development of Stormwater Guidelines for Green, Dense Redevelopment (2005). A suburb of San Francisco, Emeryville has worked for over a decade to reclaim, remediate, and redevelop its many brownfields.

These efforts sparked an economic rebound, but the city did not stop there. Emeryville harnessed redevelopment to improve environmental protection, particularly for stormwater runoff. The city faced several challenges including a high water table, clay soils, and few absorbent natural areas among the existing and redeveloped industrial sites.

The guidelines were designed to use redevelopment sites as much as possible to handle stormwater. They include an Excel spreadsheet model for sizing on-site best management practices: Sizing Spreadsheet(9 pp, 208 K, 2005)

The strategies fall into four categories:

  • Reduction of the parking footprint through shared parking, making the best use of on-street parking, and pricing parking appropriately.
  • Landscape design features such as tree preservation and planting and the use of structural soils, bio-retention, and bio-filtration.
  • Water storage and harvesting using cisterns and rooftop containers.
  • Other methods for handling or infiltrating water at development and redevelopment sites.
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