Sunday, November 9, 2014

Resilience and Climate Adaptation is Not Sexy - But Effective

From the New York Times - illustrates the little things that engineers and planners are doing to prepare major urban centers for a future of more intense rainfall events.

"Begun as a pilot program under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — about 250 of the gardens are already in the ground — the initiative is set for a major expansion that will bring thousands of gardens to neighborhoods across the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens in the coming months.

The goal, according to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, is to soften the “impervious urban landscape” of asphalt and concrete and absorb rainfall that might otherwise funnel into the combined sewer system. (During heavy rain, storm water can exceed the capacity of the city treatment plants. Overflows are discharged into local waterways to avoid flooding the plants, which can harm water quality.) Any aesthetic benefits from the gardens are effectively seen as a bonus, though officials from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration noted that plots would be placed in many neighborhoods with a dearth of trees and above-average rates of asthma among young people.

“They make the neighborhood look like — I don’t want to say a better neighborhood,” began Valencia Allen-Hazel, 21, from East New York, Brooklyn, admiring a garden on Powell Street. “If somebody comes down who doesn’t live here, it makes it look better than it actually is.”"

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