Depressed urban areas are often considered as a liability from environmental, social, and economic perspectives. Depending of the urban development in neighboring areas and available design tools and techniques; some low value areas can be revitalized for functional and creative uses while contributing to economic development, public education and wellbeing of communities. Current population increase and land development patterns (both high density urban and sprawling) have affected the ability of our water resources to naturally renew themselves, adding to future water and environmental costs. In built environments, there is a significant impact as a consequence of the extensive use of impervious surfaces (e.g., roads, driveways, and structures) that prevent rainfall from infiltrating into the ground, forcing it instead to runoff at unnaturally high rates or be directed into storm water management systems. Storm water runoff and excessive loading to wastewater collection systems (separate or combined) typically overload treatment facilities, causing nutrients, metals, organic contaminants, and pathogens to be released into aquatic ecosystems and affect overall environmental quality. Runoff from storm water and overflows from water treatment systems are considered to be one of the leading sources of impairment of water quality in rivers, lakes, and estuaries, and contribute in turn to the increased cost of producing drinking water from these sources.
Last date updated on May, 2014