Low Impact Development Toolkit

Award of Excellence - Analysis and Planning
Logan Simpson
Low Impact Development (LID) is an aspect of green infrastructure design that has not been widely recognized in the DesertSouthwest until recently. Spurred by EPA incentives to include LID is as part of their MS4 permit renewal, the City of Mesa teamedwith the City of Glendale to procure a grant from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona to develop guidelines and educational tools that could be used in policymaking, development of new design guidelines and details, and the education of thecity agencies, developers, businesses, and residents. The project team, led by landscape architects and including engineers, developed a highly graphic toolkit approach that describes the need, benefits, and best practices in a concise presentation that is easily communicated and understood by a range of audiences. LID is a sustainable approach to stormwater management that utilizes designed landscapes to reduce offsite flows that can contribute to poor water quality, flooding, and added infrastructure costs. The goal of LID is to mimic the predevelopment hydrologic regime of a watershed area or site by utilizing techniques that are illustrated in the toolkit. By defining how implementation of green infrastructure techniques can impact representative areas within Mesa and Glendale, the LID Toolkit will help these cities find ways to integrate it into their stormwater management systems. The ultimate benefit of utilizing LID is to reduce stormwater impacts while conserving water and improving urban landscapes. The landscape architects worked closely with the various departments at each city, presenting examples of LID that were tailored to the Lower Sonoran Desert landscape, as well as identifying concerns and potential barriers to implementation in each jurisdiction. Once the Toolkit was developed, the landscape architects presented to public forums that included city agencies and staff, developers and builders, and the general public.

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