Conventional vs Progressive Stormwater Management - Part Three

Fusing Environment, Art and Stormwater Management

Part Three – My Practice

As a landscape architect, and as my practice has evolved over time, I have come to feel more than ever that it is important to create environmentally high functioning landscapes that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also serve to enhance the user’s experiences.  This pertains to stormwater management facilities as much as to any public space or home landscape situation.


I have come to believe, and tried to encourage communities, clients and co-consultants, that there are more aesthetically pleasing and more functional ways to manage water than conventional BMP.  The Green Infrastructure, LID and ARD practices are typically more sustainable in that they require less in the way of mined and imported materials, require little maintenance, call on natural systems to manage water and foster a more ecological balance.


Green infrastructure, LID and ARD provide us with the opportunity to not only restore and take advantage of natural systems, as well as create new habitat, it also gives us latitude to imbue creativity, yes and even art, into solutions that would normally be devoid of such.  Functional elements that facilitate these practices may be designed to also function as art work which enriches the users’ experience of the system.  This greatly improves on the social and cultural aspects of what is done in our environment.


In my practice I have chosen to group these concepts of stormwater management practices into what I call Progressive Stormwater Management, or PSM, because I firmly believe that working sustainably and artfully with nature in management of stormwater is truly progressive.


To finish, Progressive Stormwater Management has local and global implications as societies move forward in their occupation of the planet.  Ian McHarg, a renowned landscape architect who authored the 1969 book Design with Nature, was very progressive in his beliefs and teachings on this subject said, “let us green the earth, restore the earth, heal the earth…”   Somehow along the way we lost sight of this idea and I believe we are coming back around to it through Progressive Stormwater Management.