DC Water Green Infrastructure Challenge
In Washington, D.C., the Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency have partnered to manage the issue of combined sewer overflows head-on. By pairing a commitment to install green infrastructure strategies on city streets and properties with the construction of the CSO tunnel system to prevent sewage overflow into rivers during storm events, this partnership is taking an impressive and much-needed leap towards the creation of a cleaner city using a hybrid (grey/green) approach. Urban Rain|Design has teamed with Nitsch Engineering and the artistic talents of Stacy Levy to participate in the DC Green Infrastructure Challenge. The Green Infrastructure Challenge invited proposals of projects that absorb rain water on public, private, government and institutional properties. Our design team has been selected as a project finalist by creating a bold and highly implementable concept plan for the public sector category along NW Kennedy Street in Washington DC. The DC Water challenged firms to design innovative green practices to absorb rain water before it can enter the combined sewer system will aid in alleviating combined sewer overflows in the District. Our plan for NW Kennedy Street would eliminate hundreds of thousands of gallons of stormwater entering the combined sewer system and does it an a vibrant and creative way. Our design submission for Kennedy Street demonstrates six different stormwater strategies along the street including new street trees, lawn conversion, pavers with Landscape Infiltration Gaps (LIGs), stormwater curb extensions, grated landscapes and sub-surface storage/infiltration. Environmental art installations integrate and draw attention to these functional stormwater features, raising awareness of stormwater movement, treatment, and storage. Our design further promotes “complete street” concepts using curb bump-outs, sidewalk crossings, sharrows, and boardwalks to create a streetscape that is safe and comfortable for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.The innovative nature of our design is rooted in its integration of function, education, and sense of place. Green infrastructure, environmental art, and complete streets were not designed and applied in isolation to this block. Rather, these components were developed as connected systems throughout the design process: the proposed design represents the iterative, collaborative process taken by our interdisciplinary team of landscape architects, engineers, and artists.