Segmental Concrete Pavement for Multiple Benefits

Curated by David R. Smith

David R. Smith is the Technical Director of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI), a trade association for the segmental paving industry, which includes concrete pavers, permeable pavers, and paving slabs. While paved areas play an essential role in transportation, they often have low or even damaging environmental and social performance. Here, David highlights exemplary projects where segmental concrete pavement is part of a human landscape system that provides environmental, social and economic benefits. When appropriately designed, constructed and maintained, segmental paving can create vibrant social spaces, manage stormwater, mitigate the urban heat island effect, increase safety, and save on capital and maintenance costs.

  1. Case Study Brief

    Canal Park-After

    Canal Park

    Washington, District of Columbia

    “The park used 60,000 sf of concrete pavers instead of poured concrete. While the initial materials cost of concrete pavers was slightly lower than the cost of poured concrete, the future maintenance costs of pavers will be at least half that of repairing/replacing concrete due to damage or underground utility repairs.”
  2. Case Study Brief


    Charles City Permeable Streetscape Phase 1

    Charles City, Iowa

    “This green street project served as a pilot/demonstration project for both the city and local residents. Because of the success and the lessons learned in design and maintenance, the project has spurred additional phases in adjacent neighborhoods and serves as an important blueprint for others considering similar sustainable stormwater systems.”
  3. Case Study Brief

    Park US 50-After

    Park Avenue/US 50, Phase 1 Redevelopment

    South Lake Tahoe, California

    “This redevelopment had the goal of no net loss in scenic views of the nearby Lake Tahoe Basin and Carson mountain range -- a performance benefit that is easy to claim but hard to prove. The case study Methods document explains how the total visible area of the natural environment was compared pre- and post-construction, and how the improved scenic quality of the roadway was evaluated using a regional Travel Route Rating system.”
  4. Case Study Brief


    Ravinia Festival South Parking Lot

    Highland Park, Illinois

    “Persistent local flooding that reduced parking and regularly flooded neighbors’ basements was eliminated with permeable interlocking concrete pavement and underground storage/infiltration chambers. The hydrologic performance has been exceptional, proven by 8 inches of rain over two days with no standing water. By managing the stormwater under the parking lot itself, the design avoided $1.8 million in land acquisition costs for surface detention ponds.”
  5. Case Study Brief


    Erie Street Plaza

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    “The City had lofty ambitions for this 0.25-acre former parking lot: create a significant public place that would become a key component of Milwaukee’s waterfront and new development in the Third Ward. The simple, inventive, and open-ended design does just that.”
  6. Case Study Brief


    The Morton Arboretum: Meadow Lake and Permeable Main Parking Lot

    Lisle, Illinois

    “Besides preserving and enhancing adjacent Meadow Lake, this flagship permeable pavement project transformed designer perceptions. Prior to construction, the prevailing view of landscape architects, civil engineers and municipalities was that frozen permeable pavement would heave and break its surface in the winter. The Morton entry and 500-car parking lot remained unmoved for three winters, dispelling fears of heaving winter and early spring damage. By 2010, the City of Chicago, several Chicagoland municipalities and institutions successfully built millions of square feet of permeable pavement projects in parking lots, green alleys and streets.”
  7. Case Study Brief

    Malibu Lumber Yard

    Malibu Lumber Yard

    Malibu, California

    “This 2.7-acre shopping and artist center sets the environmental performance example for larger strip and regional shopping malls often notorious for excessive runoff, urban heat islands, and minimal landscape design. With 70% of the asphalt replaced with permeable interlocking concrete pavement, the surfaces create cooler temperatures while reducing runoff. With creative landscape design, the center attracts higher rents than adjacent retail leases.”
  8. Case Study Brief

    Ann Arbor-After

    Ann Arbor Municipal Center

    Ann Arbor, Michigan

    “With a green roof, open runnels, and cistern-fed fountain, this urban site was designed to raise awareness of water cycles while serving as an engaging open space. One-third of city employees and visitors surveyed reported that their experience at the Municipal Center encouraged them to consider adding rainwater retention features on their residential properties.”
  9. Case Study Brief


    Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Patient Tower

    Park Ridge, Illinois

    “With a building expansion came the opportunity to create stormwater gardens and healing gardens for patients, visitors and staff. These therapeutic places incorporate permeable interlocking concrete pavements that store 90% of rainfall events on site. The rooftop-to-surface-to-subgrade-storage design provides multiple paths for managing stormwater.”
  10. Case Study Brief


    Port of Los Angeles Wilmington Waterfront Park

    Wilmington, California

    “This huge linear park incorporates approximately 23,000 sf of concrete pavers and planks along a pedestrian promenade. It also includes a 500 sf vertical test panel coated with titanium dioxide, a surfacing that can remove nitrous oxide, an ingredient in photochemical smog. Originally developed in Italy, this material has been applied to concrete pavers placed in dense, European cities and in Mary Bartleme Park in Chicago. We hope to see this material tried on concrete pavers in this Los Angeles community landmark in the near future.”

Stormwater management, Temperature & urban heat island, Operations & maintenance savings, High-albedo materials, Permeable paving

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