Adaptive Stormbox: Flexible Green Infrastructure Assemblage Units for Galena Park

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Galen Newman, Professor
Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning | Scholars @TAMU Profile | Google Scholars Profile

Diagram of ways green areas with plans for water management


Extreme weather events have become increasingly frequent in recent years. The effects of climate change make it more likely that urban areas with a long history of being polluted by industrial runoff will be subject to more devastating and more frequent flooding in the future. The City of Galena Park, TX, for example, has experienced both severe flood damages and hazardous substance transferal during many previous flood events due to its industrial and bayou proximity, significantly increasing health risks to its population. To lessen both flooding and contamination issues, we developed, working with Texas Target Communities, an engagement and citizen science-based, adaptive and flexible green infrastructure (GI) master plan and toolkit for the city. This Stormbox, as we call it, allows citizens to choose the appropriate type of green infrastructure based on both on-ground spatial size and underground depth to existing infrastructure such as gas lines and pipes. We test the predicted impact of these green infrastructure provisions using the Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment (L-THIA) Model. Overall, the design adds 481% of new green space. The plan predicts to reduce stormwater runoff by 14.4% and pollutant load by 13.4%, thereby lessening exposure to chemical transferal during flood events and promoting positive public health conditions. Products from this project allowed to City of Galena Park to compete for and obtain a 3 million dollar grant to implement the suggested provisions.