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Environmental Informatics Archives

ISSN 1811-0231 / ISEIS Publication Series Number P002

Copyright © 2006 ISEIS. All rights reserved.



  Paper EIA06-011, Volume 4 (2006), Pages 104-115 = complimentary

Improving Conventional Subdivision Design by Incorporating Runoff Impact in Land Development Decisions

K. K. Avadhanula1*, C. Pal1, X. H. Wang1, J. Bonta2, S. Buchberger3 and W. Shuster4

1. School of Planning, College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH. *Corresponding author: avadhakk@email.uc.edu.

2. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati OH.

3. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, North Appalachian Experimental Watershed, Coshocton OH.

4. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, 26 W. Martin Luther King Dr., Cincinnati OH.



Conventional subdivision design normally leads to a high proportion of impervious surfaces from large lots, wide paved driveways and sometimes wider than required streets and aggravated storm water problems. There is an immediate need for the development of a sustainable, ecologically sound subdivision design approach in light of today’s increasingly endangered delicate environmental condition. This paper attempts to create a practically implementable, naturally sensitive method for minimizing runoff developing a subdivision design that is in essence is a “low impact development design”. The aim of the exercise being the minimization of runoff volume and peak discharge rate from natural site conditions. This design methodology incorporates two improvements to conventional subdivision design: firstly it integrates runoff factors to land suitability analysis and secondly it assimilates the principles of open space development in land subdivision design.
This theoretical analysis is supplemented by the a case study of  an experimental watershed located at the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed (Coshocton OH) making the best use of the available archival runoff, soils, and landscape data for the project under consideration. The study calculates and compares storm water runoff amounts under three different site conditions (undeveloped, conventionally developed and creatively developed) and statistically supports the hypothesis that the creative site design process is better suited than conventional design for minimizing the degree of runoff change from an undeveloped parcel of land. In addition, the study also compares the costs associated with the two design alternatives and an approach to economic viability analysis of the design. An integrated approach is also presented here using an interactive GIS decision support system - CommunityViz Scenario 360. The underlying aim of this research is to demonstrate that a creative design can minimize runoff and, at the same time, provide a social, economic and environmental quality that is comparable to conventional design.

Keywords: runoff response, subdivision, design, suitability analysis, technical viability, costs, economic viability


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