EMERGING APPROACHES TO URBAN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT: THE POTENTIAL OF LOW IMPACT URBAN DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES
MARJORIE VAN ROON
The incorporation of integrated water cycle management into urban design is essential for urban sustainability. This paper provides insight into the evolution of Low Impact Urban Design and Development (LIUDD). It explores changes in urban design and infrastructure that reduce or avoid adverse biophysical effects that have contributed to the decline of aquatic biotic integrity following urban intensification in catchments. Recent practices in Canada, the United States and New Zealand offset receiving water ecosystem degradation by maximising catchment stormwater infiltration at source, contaminant containment and catchment revegetation. Local soil, climate, maturity and density of urban form, and vegetation characteristics determine the balance between infiltration and evapotranspiration in application of techniques. Examples are cited of brownfield stormwater infiltration in the Netherlands (Ruwenbosch, Enschede), neighbourhood containment of water and waste cycles in Germany (Leipzig) and site-specific developments proving the cost-effectiveness of LIUDD. LIUDD, which is evolving from its origins in stormwater management, is making a major contribution to many facets of urban sustainability, including improved urban amenity and recreation, cost-effective infrastructure and biodiversity enhancement.
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