Policy and Regulation Game-Changers

Curated by Landscape Architecture Foundation

Designers can play a role in helping local and state governments adapt outdated codes, ordinances, and regulations to not only allow for but also incentivize innovative landscape-based solutions. In the projects below, landscape architects used their expertise to advocate for the adoption, revision, or re-interpretation of codes and regulations to accommodate high-performance sustainable practices for stormwater management, water conservation, brownfield remediation, planting design, and more.

  1. Case Study Brief

    TAXI_Perennials 2


    Denver, Colorado

    “For this mixed-use development, the landscape architect proposed a novel approach to satisfying the City of Denver's stormwater regulations with green infrastructure-based Stormwater Controlled Landscapes (SCLs). After close collaboration between the City and landscape architect for the approvals process, TAXI II became the first Denver-area project to use SLCs to meet City stormwater requirements. As a direct result, Denver's stormwater codes have evolved to recognize SCLs as an allowable way to manage large amounts of stormwater, with significantly reduced detention volume requirements where they are present. ”
  2. Case Study Brief


    West Point Foundry Preserve, Phase 1

    Cold Spring, New York

    “As part of the "light touch" design approach to the West Point Foundry Preserve, composting toilets were proposed, but these were not specifically allowed or disallowed by local ordinances. The design team spent time educating local leadership about composting toilets, which resulted in changes to local regulations to allow them, opening the door for others to adopt this technology.”
  3. Case Study Brief


    Yanxiu Park

    Liaoyang Shi, China

    “This riverfront park in the Liaoyang province of China would have violated former regulations, as it is situated directly within a 100-year floodplain. Landscape architects advocated for the park's creation during city master planning. Through rigorous research on park development in floodplains they convinced the local Waterworks Bureau to approve the construction of a safe and "floodable" park in the floodplain with resilient infrastructure including reshaped riverbanks, a side pond-channel system, and new creek. ”
  4. Case Study Brief

    Bagby After

    Bagby Street Reconstruction

    Houston, Texas

    “The reconstruction of Bagby Street came about after a local drainage study identified the site as a logical route for a new stormwater pipe. When the impracticalities and potential negative impacts of the grey infrastructure strategy became evident, the design team conducted a traffic analysis to show that vehicular demand did not warrant the "major thoroughfare" designation given to street by the City. This meant that the number of lanes could be reduced from 4 to 2, freeing up surface space for a pedestrian-friendly streetscape that integrates stormwater management. The landscape-led approach catalyzed policy-level change, including a Complete Street Executive Order from the mayor calling for a change in the way streets are designed throughout Houston. ”
  5. Case Study Brief


    Charles City Permeable Streetscape Phase 1

    Charles City, Iowa

    “This residential neighborhood streetscape served as a testing ground for a variety of stormwater management techniques like permeable pavers and infiltration areas. With strong performance demonstrated related to stormwater management, water quality, and street tree survival rates, the pilot project was deemed a success and has catalyzed additional phases in adjacent neighborhoods. Supplemental federal funding made piloting this less-conventional approach possible, and the lessons learned from the pilot have informed Charles City's continued investment in green infrastructure. ”
  6. Case Study Brief

    High Desert-After

    High Desert Community

    Albuquerque, New Mexico

    “The sustainable master planning of this community influenced water conservation and landscape planting ordinances at the city and state levels. The drought-tolerant plant list used in the community was provided to the Albuquerque City Planning Department, and the project also spurred regional nursery production and sales of native plants. The project's success has served as a model for other sustainable master planned communities throughout New Mexico. ”
  7. Case Study Brief

    Canal Park-After

    Canal Park

    Washington, District of Columbia

    “Canal Park's two interactive water features use collected stormwater runoff, which necessitated close collaboration between the landscape architect and the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment (DDOE) to identify and eliminate potential health risks. The park's stormwater infiltration and reuse system utilizes bioretention, filtration, and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection for treating runoff, and water quality is closely monitored. The system's performance was considered successful by the DDOE, and it catalyzed the creation of new city guidelines for assessing human health risks of stormwater reuse while providing a model for other projects. ”
  8. Case Study Brief

    HtO Park_After

    HTO Park

    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    “Before HTO Park, Toronto had no regulatory precedent for developing a public park on a brownfield. The landscape architects navigated this by researching projects in nearby municipalities to identify the on-site capping method that was ultimately used, setting a new precedent for waterfront redevelopment in Toronto. The City also had no experience with constructed habitat for fish, but the success of HTO's use of recycled materials to reconstruct habitat prompted the City to develop guidelines to guide construction of fish habitats along the shoreline.”

Stormwater management, Water conservation, Water quality, Habitat creation, preservation & restoration

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