As time goes on, disasters that affect both our built environment and our collective communities are becoming more frequent, more widespread, and more severe. The frequency and severity of many of these events has been attributed to a changing global climate. The fact of the matter is that – global climate change or not – our built environment is becoming vaster and our species’ population is multiplying exponentially. According to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Area’s population will increase from today’s 7 million to approximately 9 million by the year 2040. More developments and more people mean that it is much more likely that negative impacts will occur ...view middle of the document...
Maintaining our region’s high quality of life following a large-scale disaster will depend tremendously on the speed of resiliency following the event.
Sea level rise is a global concern and developers are constantly looking for new land to build on to provide housing and locations for other types of services that our growing population demands. Thus, pressure to develop into low-lying areas will continue to increase as our population expands leading to more property damage as flooding occurs. Conventional building practices do not adequately protect water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, or other water-related resources from the detrimental effects of human development and storm water runoff. The benefits of pervious pavement are twofold: it prevents flooding by enabling water to soak back into the ground below and prevents hydrologic contamination since the water does not have to flow unnecessary distance in order to find its way back to the region’s natural waterways.
Urban planners hold a major role in designing our communities and LID is a feasible means for managing storm water runoff while simultaneously ensuring that environmentally friendly and safety-conscious communities are developed for residents. Meeting these goals through policies that spur land use alterations guarantees more sustainable neighborhoods on the whole and this is vital for all watershed regions in the Bay Area, since many have already begun to experience repeated and serious periodic floods over recent decades (in addition to other detrimental effects from erosion and habitat pollution from stormwater runoff).
LID is one of the most effective methods for managing both stormwater contamination and flooding. Some of the most common LID practices currently utilized include permeable pavement, landscape elements implemented with the purpose of treating storm water runoff from hard surfaces (such as rooftops and paved areas), green roofs, living walls, bioswales, and, erosion prevention and sediment control techniques that can be used to simultaneously avert soil from eroding from a piece of land. All these LID strategies maintain a similar goal of collecting water and sending it back into the region’s natural ecosystem, which aids in the prevention of flooding while also mitigating measurable harm to streams, lakes, wetlands, and other natural aquatic systems from commercial, residential, and industrial development areas.
There presently exists over 322,000 acres of unprotected open space in the San Francisco Bay Area. Opposing interests, however, are seeking to utilize this land as a resource for economic growth and environmental preservation placing the vacant land at “high risk” for development. This open space is at risk of being developed into various types of projects – from residential to commercial to industrial – within the next three decades if the appropriate policy measures are not taken to...