March 05, 2010
Urban Redevelopment – The Greatest LID OptionBy: Stuart Toraason
Sustainable …LEED…green…LID…these terms have become industry marketing buzzwords, but what are their true meanings? Many who have pondered the importance of these concepts will quickly understand that urban re-development and urban infill development are, by their nature, the most low impact types of land development available.
Rehabilitation of an existing structure or the re-development of property that has already undergone some use will decrease the need for urban sprawl, deforestation and other impacts to our natural surroundings.
I’ll use two examples:
- In a dense urban setting sits a half-acre infill lot. The site is slated for a 30-unit apartment building with a large retaining wall. Due to the infill nature of the site, it will never provide substantial wildlife habitat or public recreation opportunities. This site is a prime candidate for a low impact development project. By putting 30 units on this parcel, the demand for a new green-field suburban apartment complex is decreased, replaced instead by a housing option that does not require deforestation or impacts to farmland.
- A five-acre site in an existing urban industrial park has a creek running right through the middle of it. The owner desires to impact the creek by installing 200 linear feet of culvert pipe in order to create vehicular access to the opposite half of the site, which is currently inaccessible. Allowing the owner to improve his already developed site in the City helps reduce the demand for a new suburban industrial complex outside of the City’s current development footprint.
Land development is necessary for the growth of society, yet any new development that is not re-development or urban infill development will require deforestation and/or other negative impacts to previously untouched natural environments. Using every possible opportunity to recycle land that has already undergone some type of development allows us to continue development without increasing our impact on the natural environments that we cherish.