Designing for Water: Case Studies in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Allison Wilson

Full List of Authors: Allison Wilson

Session: A2: Urban Studies, Sustainable Development, and Globalization (GRID 2011)

Time & Location: 09:00 AM-10:30 AM, Benjamin Banneker B

The built environment negatively affects the water cycle, introducing chemicals and nutrients into the system which impact the ability of plant, fish, and animal species to survive. Stretching from New York to Virginia, the 64,000 square miles of the Chesapeake Bay watershed includes housing, commerce, and industry for 16.6 million people. While architecture is typically designed to shed precipitation away from buildings, it does not typically design for the retention and management of that rain, snow, and sleet on site. Exploring the possibilities of ecoregion-specific structures illustrates the best practices for rainwater harvesting and stormwater management across the varied landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Utilizing technologies such as cisterns, green roofs, and constructed wetlands, the built environment can be designed to decrease our need for expensive water purifying infrastructure and preserve the health of fragile estuary ecosystems such as the Chesapeake Bay.

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