Friday, 13 October 2017 00:00

Envisioning Flood-Proof Cities

As millions of people struggle to recover from the devastation wreaked by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the world has watched in horror as pictures and videos illustrate the damage caused by hurricane-force winds.

But the accompanying foods and storm surges appear to have done significantly more damage. Some areas of Houston received more than 40 inches of rain during Hurricane Harvey. A few areas in Puerto Rico received similar amounts, leaving some saying that flood waters there won't recede or weeks or perhaps months.

Imagine, then, the damage that could be prevented if cities -- many of which consist of endless pavement, leaving room to drain water from only a 10-year weather event, not the 100- or 500-year events recently experienced in the American Southeast -- were entirely food proof. What would that look like?

About a decade ago, the city of Chicago began installing what are known as Green Alleys -- patches of permeable pavement that permit stormwater to drip through and be absorbed by the ground.

Published in Our Blog
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