Planning for a Low Impact Development World

APA Texas Chapter


Friday, November 4, 2016
8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. CDT

CM | 1.50

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Many of the fastest growing urban areas in the U.S. are in Texas and virtually all of them are facing increasing challenges in the capacity of their drainage infrastructure to accommodate this growth. Houston is no exception. With an average rainfall that is 35% more than the national average and minimal regulations to development, most new development in Houston will inevitably create more impervious surfaces and fewer places for that stormwater to go. Indeed, the increasing frequency of catastrophic flooding events seems to confirm this trend. Yet these events bely the significant advancement in recent years of Low Impact Development (LID) practices throughout the Houston region and the new arsenal of strategies that LID offers for mitigating stormwater impacts. While not yet codified in the City of Houston, LID has become more accepted, encouraged and even mandated by Harris County in some circumstances. From onsite detention basins, to swales, to rain gardens, to pervious paving, one no longer needs to look too far to identify a LID project in or around the city. Nevertheless, huge challenges remain in reaching a broader application of LID in the region and this panel session will explore both these challenges and the many strategies in planning for greater application of LID practices. The 3 panelists for this session bring diverse perspectives on the subject. Mary Martha Gaiennie, a regional planner with Houston-Galveston Area Council, will share lessons learned from the recent rollout of Designing for Impact, HGAC's regional guide to LID; Ashley Francis, a civil engineer, will share experiences advancing the Land & Water Sustainability Forum which was instrumental in drafting Harris County's pioneering LID guidelines; and Eric Leshinsky, a planner and urban designer, will discuss the work of his firm Asakura Robinson in establishing an integrated planning  practice with a strong emphasis on LID and regional ecological issues. A panel discussion will follow. 

Contact Info

Michael McAnelly,