2014 Birdsall Dreiss Lecture Featuring Lawrence Band
Voit Gilmore Distinguished Professor of Geography
Director, Institute for the Environment
University of North Carolina
Visiting Professor, Chinese Academy of Science
Dr. Band's talk titled Green Infrastructure, Groundwater and the Sustainable City Patterns was presented as the 2014 Birdsall-Dreiss Lecture
Provision of sufficient quantities and quality of freshwater, treatment and disposal of wastewater, and flood protection are critical for urban sustainability. Over the last century, two major shifts in drainage paradigms have occurred; the first to improve public health with centralized sanitary effluent collection and treatment, and the rapid drainage and routing of stormwater. A shift is now being implemented to retain, rather than rapidly drain, stormwater, with a focus on infiltration based methods shifting hydrologic behavior to depression focused recharge. While stormwater is defined as surface flow resulting from developed areas, an integrated hydrologic systems approach to urban water management requires treatment of the full critical zone, extending from the top of the vegetation and building canopy, to depths including natural soils, fill, saprolite and bedrock. In addition to matric and network flow in fracture systems, an urban “karst” includes multiple generations of infrastructure, with extensive supply and drainage pipe networks, enhancing surface/groundwater exchange. In this presentation, Band will focus on the urban critical zone, and the synthesis of modeling and analytical approaches to understand and plan green infrastructure based on surface/groundwater/ecosystem interactions, and implications for the restoration and new design of cities.