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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Term project for Landscape Architecture 222, Prof. G. Mathias Kondolf, University of California, Berkeley, Spring 2009. Hard copy available at the Water Resources Center Archives, UC Berkeley.

  • Author(s): Diamond, Hayley
  • Gaffney, Andrea
  • et al.

How can stormwater management design be incorporated into public school campuses to provide ecological and educational benefits while reducing the impacts on San Francisco’s combined sanitary/storm sewer system?

Schools in San Francisco have a large percentage of impervious surfaces on their campuses, and the City’s combined sanitary storm sewer system has aged to a point of necessary upgrade. These two issues converge on the subject of stormwater management, where a potential synergy exists. Schools are landscapes for education, so why not provide an educative landscape for the school that addresses the City’s infrastructure issue? Demonstration projects for innovative stormwater management can address not only flooding issues but also educate students and communities about water pollution, water conservation, habitat value, micro-climate value, and benefit the overall aesthetics of a community.

This paper specifically discusses green stormwater infrastructure retrofits at two existing public schools in San Francisco, with the purpose of developing a decision-making process for the choice and locations of green infrastructure components in school facilities for environmental and educational benefits. A case study matrix evolved from research on green stormwater infrastructure retrofit projects at several educational campuses located throughout the country. Results from the case study matrix, along with information gathered through interviews with the San Francisco Public Utility staff and a literature review of stormwater design documents, informed the development of an educative waterscape plan for one of the school campuses, McKinley Elementary School.

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