The evolution of low impact development
The evolution of low impact development
Since the 1980s, there has been recognition that urban development should take account of the natural water cycle, seeking to manage water flows as would have occurred on the original greenfield site, emulating the original ecosystem services it provided and the quality and quantity of water flowing therefrom. These approaches advanced in North America under the name of Low Impact Development (LID) and later Green Infrastructure (GI) in response to the 1972 passage of the Clean Water Act (US). Such developments can incorporate green roofs, rain gardens, swales, permeable pavements, wetlands, green spaces, and urban natural vegetation corridors to improve urban amenity as well as reducing flood and pollution risks, though there is considerable variability in the regulatory environment between the states governing such facilities. Britain adopted Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) techniques, incorporating the integration of surface run-off within the urban form. In Europe, planners and local government respond to the EU Water Management and Flooding Directives on a river basin basis. In Australia, similar policy developments took place under the philosophy of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD). The components and drivers varied somewhat between the states, each choosing emphases appropriate to their catchments, infrastructure, seasonal climate, local water cycle and community expectations. Water use efficiency was highlighted in planning of new Sydney developments. Protection of watercourse and littoral environments were especially important considerations in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. Perth was protective of the groundwater on which the city’s water supply depends. In some but not all states, a statutory basis was provided for the approach adopted. New Zealand policies were developed for adoption by local government using the approach of Low Impact Urban Design and Development (LIUDD) which included awareness of Maori cultural interests in its framework.
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