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Open AccessArticle

Urban Spatial Configuration and Functional Runoff Connectivity: Influence of Drainage Grid Density and Landscape Metrics

1
Division Forest, Nature and Landscape, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
2
Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, VUB, Pleinlaan 2, BE-1050 Brussels, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(12), 2661; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122661
Received: 20 September 2019 / Revised: 10 December 2019 / Accepted: 10 December 2019 / Published: 17 December 2019
Due to changing precipitation patterns induced by climate change, urban planners are confronted with new challenges to effectively mitigate rainfall runoff. An important knowledge gap that needs to be addressed before tackling these challenges is how and to which extent street/drainage grid density and spatial land use configuration influence the amount of runoff. Therefore, a virtual experiment was conducted to assess the influence of grid density and spatial land use configuration on the functional runoff connectivity (Fc), which is a measure of the easiness by which water flows through the landscape. Through the use of a design of experiments approach in combination with the SCS—Curve Number runoff model, a wide variety of neutral landscape models with a fixed percentage of pervious- and impervious cover were generated that maximized the variance of Fc. Correlations between landscape metrics and neutral landscape models were calculated. Our results indicated that, out of the 17 landscape metrics tested, the average impervious cluster area, the number of impervious clusters, the standard deviation of the cluster size, two proximity indexes and the effective impervious area were strongly correlated with Fc throughout all grid scenarios. The relationship between Fc on the one hand and the average impervious cluster area and the effective impervious area on the other hand, was modelled. The average impervious cluster area models showed a relationship with Fc that closely approximated a logarithmic function (R2: 0.49–0.73), while the effective impervious area models were found to have a linear relationship with Fc (R2: 0.63–0.99). A dense grid was shown to cause a strong increase in Fc, demonstrating the effectiveness of an urban grid in channeling and removing runoff. Our results further indicate that fine-grained landscapes with a lot of small impervious clusters are preferred over course-grained landscapes when the goal is to reduce Fc. In highly urbanized landscapes, where the percentage of impervious area is high, small changes in landscape pattern could significantly reduce Fc. By using a downward hydrological modeling approach this research aims to bring more clarity to the underlying variables influencing Fc, rather than trying to generate realistic prediction values. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban runoff; functional runoff connectivity; grid; neutral landscape models; curve number model; landscape metrics; impervious surface; urban green; optimization urban runoff; functional runoff connectivity; grid; neutral landscape models; curve number model; landscape metrics; impervious surface; urban green; optimization
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Smets, V.; Verbeiren, B.; Hermy, M.; Somers, B. Urban Spatial Configuration and Functional Runoff Connectivity: Influence of Drainage Grid Density and Landscape Metrics. Water 2019, 11, 2661.

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