Momentum is growing for "green infrastructure"

Momentum is growing for what the US Environmental Protection Agency calls “green infrastructure.” Tom Low of the Charlotte, North Carolina, office of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. reports that 130 people from across the country participated in March in a two-day Sustainable Development Summit in Beaufort, South Carolina, where his “Light Imprint” development concept was well received.

Low says EPA has just finished a new draft of a document entitled “Water Quality Scorecard: Incorporating Green Infrastructure Practices at the Municipal, Neighborhood, and Site Scales.” According to Low, it includes updated content showing that EPA is “now focusing less on the quickly dying model of the greening of sprawl (everyone has been surprised how quickly this has happened) and shifting to supporting sustainable approaches combined with better land use patterns.”

Low warns, however, that it’s still possible that storm water regulations will be adopted that “further entrench suburban sprawl in our land use patterns.” Conventional low-impact development standards, though well-intentioned, “make it much more difficult to apply walkable, compact, connected, mixed-use, mixed income sustainable patterns to land use,” he says. “Educating the leaders and public on this matter is paramount.”