Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

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Green Infrastructure Implementation for Stormwater Management through the Lens of Lessons Learned: Cleveland, OH, and Milwaukee, WI
by Gelfort, Marietta A., M.S., The George Washington University, 2017, 162; 10282075
Abstract (Summary)

The study of stormwater management has become increasingly important over the last decade due to its continued negative impact on water quality and rising concerns about flooding in the light of climate change. Traditional strategies utilizing exclusively gray infrastructure implementations have been deemed insufficient in providing an efficient and integrated stormwater management approach. In contrast, green infrastructure (GI) implementations, employing a variety of natural and engineered decentralized installations, has come to the fore as a more sustainable strategy.

While individual GI projects and programs have shown promising results, and lessons drawn from past-executed GI implementations aim to guide stakeholders’ decision-making around the world, drainage-focused strategies in urban planning are still lacking a holistic analysis. As a novel approach, this research examines and extends Nickel, et al.’s, (2013) lesson learned from Germany, which are used as a lens to analyze their applicability to Cleveland, OH, and Milwaukee, WI, and to evaluate the cities’ progress towards an integrated management.

Semi-structured, open-ended interviews with key stakeholders in the two selected cities are iteratively analyzed through a set of critical coding tags. During the descriptive coding process phase, responses are first organized by the individual lessons to validate their applicability, and secondly broken down into five separate focus areas; 1. administrative, 2. economic, 3. regulatory, 4. operational and 5. attitudinal. Using this analytical coding process, a variety of barriers to and strategies of GI implementations are ascertained and juxtaposed in a matrix through which common response patterns, themes, and dissimilarities are identified.

Results indicate that the individual lessons drawn from GI management in Germany appear applicable in these two cities and may be useful in analyzing strengths and gaps in key stakeholders’ approaches. Furthermore, this research suggests the importance of employing a wide variety of strategies in the adoption of green infrastructure. Indeed, addressing all six lessons may accelerate progress towards integrated GI and stormwater management.

In both Milwaukee and Cleveland, GI sensitive culture change has not yet taken place on all levels of the institutional hierarchies, and impediments to leadership, long-term goal development, trans-boundary collaboration, GI method institutionalization, and performance of staff and implemented GI measures remain prevalent at differing degrees. While progress towards integrated GI management is observed in both cities, stakeholder interviews suggest the following areas of need: 1. improved collaboration efforts, 2. increased stakeholder involvement, and 3. a more integrated approach generally.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Keeley, Melissa
Commitee: Rain, David
School: The George Washington University
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 56/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Sustainability, Urban planning
Keywords: Green infrastructure, Integrated management, Lesson learned, Stormwater, Urban sustainability, Water management
Publication Number: 10282075
ISBN: 9780355046823
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