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Stormwater Management in Westfield: Site Design Utilizing Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions

Due to climate change, the Northeast is projected to experience frequent storms with higher volumes of precipitation highlighting the need for greater attention to stormwater management (SWM). Green infrastructure (GI) and nature-based solutions (NBS) provide some of the most encouraging options urban and regional planners have at their disposal to deal with this. GI and NBS refer to a range of techniques that help to slow the movement of stormwater by directing it into features such as raingardens, bioswales, green roofs, porous pavements, and street trees, reducing storm drain volumes and filtering runoff. GI and NBS may also provide environmental amenities to communities and thus help to address socio-spatial inequalities and increase the quality of life in cities and towns. In this research project we assessed the state of SWM in the City of Westfield. Drawing on the city’s Stormwater Management Plan and other studies, we identified one site as particularly promising for the implementation of GI and NBS. The Boys & Girls Club of Westfield (BGCW) was identified for its high nutrient loads and extensive impervious surfaces. Additionally, this site is promising for the potential to work with community partners and to integrate aspects of environmental justice and community participation into the design process. In consultation with the BGCW leadership, we developed a series of conceptual designs for the site. It is hoped that our research will contribute to future design efforts at BGCW and greater resilience in the face of climate change for the city of Westfield.

Kathleen Prescott '23
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