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The Green Experiment: Cities, Green Stormwater Infrastructure, and Sustainability

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2521 Hydrosystems Lab, 205 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University, 2348 Elings Hall, 605 Bissell Road, Ames, IA 50011, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tan Yigitcanlar
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 105;
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
Green infrastructure is a unique combination of economic, social, and environmental goals and benefits that requires an adaptable framework for planning, implementing, and evaluating. In this study, we propose an experimental framework for policy, implementation, and subsequent evaluation of green stormwater infrastructure within the context of sociotechnical systems and urban experimentation. Sociotechnical systems describe the interaction of complex systems with quantitative and qualitative impacts. Urban experimentation—traditionally referencing climate change programs and their impacts—is a process of evaluating city programs as if in a laboratory setting with hypotheses and evaluated results. We combine these two concepts into a singular framework creating a policy feedback cycle (PFC) for green infrastructure to evaluate municipal green infrastructure plans as an experimental process within the context of a sociotechnical system. After proposing and discussing the PFC, we utilize the tool to research and evaluate the green infrastructure programs of 27 municipalities across the United States. Results indicate that green infrastructure plans should incorporate community involvement and communication, evaluation based on project motivation, and an iterative process for knowledge production. We suggest knowledge brokers as a key resource in connecting the evaluation stage of the feedback cycle to the policy phase. We identify three important needs for green infrastructure experimentation: (i) a fluid definition of green infrastructure in policy; (ii) maintenance and evaluation components of a green infrastructure plan; and (iii) communication of the plan to the community. View Full-Text
Keywords: green infrastructure; urban water policy; urban experiments; sociotechnical systems green infrastructure; urban water policy; urban experiments; sociotechnical systems
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chini, C.M.; Canning, J.F.; Schreiber, K.L.; Peschel, J.M.; Stillwell, A.S. The Green Experiment: Cities, Green Stormwater Infrastructure, and Sustainability. Sustainability 2017, 9, 105.

AMA Style

Chini CM, Canning JF, Schreiber KL, Peschel JM, Stillwell AS. The Green Experiment: Cities, Green Stormwater Infrastructure, and Sustainability. Sustainability. 2017; 9(1):105.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chini, Christopher M., James F. Canning, Kelsey L. Schreiber, Joshua M. Peschel, and Ashlynn S. Stillwell. 2017. "The Green Experiment: Cities, Green Stormwater Infrastructure, and Sustainability" Sustainability 9, no. 1: 105.

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