Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018NY245B

Turning Vacant Lots into Green Infrastructure: Application of A Multi-objective Optimization Tool in the City of Buffalo

Institute: New York
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $30,000

Principal Investigators: Zhenduo Zhu, Shawn Matott, Alan Rabideau

Abstract: As rust belt cities grapple with the critical problems of outdated stormwater infrastructure and combined sewer overflows, a popular strategy has been to propose “green” infrastructure (GI) installations (rain gardens, green roofs, porous pavement, etc.) that can both reduce stormwater runoff and improve surface water quality. However, determining the proper GI investment is a challenging management task for municipalities and stakeholders. When applied for stormwater management, numerical hydrologic models are the primary design tool for GI. In particular, the Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) is widely used, and recent work has expanded its capability to represent GI. A state-of-the-art multi-objective optimization tool for SWMM has been developed recently by PIs for optimizing both stormwater management and GI planning. This tool, OSTRICH-SWMM (https://github.com/ubccr/ostrich-swmm), is free and open source so any municipality throughout the New York state can use it. In this project, the tool will be applied to a SWMM model of the City of Buffalo sewer system. We will explore ways in which the storm water management optimization can be targeted for vacant land use in Buffalo. One important outcome of this project is to evaluate to what extent innovative optimization tools can help with sustainable urban water management and land use planning.