New Competition Highlights Campus GI Design

By Neil Weinstein
Posted April 22, 2013
 

 

This year 215 universities from across the country competed in the first USEPA Campus Rainworks Challenge.  I was privileged to be asked to be one of the judges choose finalists to send to Nancy Stoner,  EPA Office of Water Acting Administrator and her staff, for the final selection and award winners.  Just a few years ago it may have been hard for many people in stormwater management to imagine a nationwide Green Infrastructure (GI) design competition.  The awareness and implementation by all communities of all sizes around the country has grown exponentially in the design professions.  Now the interest and enthusiasm has filtered down to colleges and universities of all sizes with the advent of this new and exciting competition.  

 

The finalists were equally divided into large schools and small schools represented by multi-disciplinary teams of planners, landscape architects, engineers, artists, and representatives from other allied programs.  Each school was given the task of designing a signature cutting-edge project or master plan that could help transform the campus into “THE” GI university or college.  Previous rounds of judging criteria included a long list of planning, technical, feasibility, and other sustainability metrics used in GI, and this final round looked at how each team really put things together so that the creativity and vision could be realized by the school.

 

Our panel of 10 judges, including representatives from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Water Environment Federation, EPA, private practitioners, and academia, had to make some difficult decisions.  The amount of creativity, interdisciplinary cooperation, and quality of the work from each of the sixteen finalists was amazing, and the size of school and resources seemed to not make a difference on the amount of creativity and knowledge that was included in each project.  Many of the ideas were incredibly innovative, and they really applied state-of-the-art science to planning and design.  I’d also say their sensitivity to surrounding areas and the community were outstanding. Several designs met all the judging criteria and took the extra leap into developing new concepts and addressing issues beyond GI.

 

The videos and design outreach plans required for submittal were definitely among the highlights.  Many of them really showed a lot of creativity and fun while getting across some complex and detailed planning and design benefits.  It was also good to see projects from across the country in many different climate and urbanized settings-- it was apparent is that Green Infrastructure can be accomplished in campuses almost anywhere.    Many of the designs also addressed the transition and relationship to conventional GI and looked at retrofits as well as expansions of the campuses.

  

It was obvious from the competition that our next generation of GI professionals is going to be ready, and we’re in good hands! Check out the winning designs announced today at http://www.epa.gov/campusrainworks. 

 04/18/2013Permanent link

New Competition Highlights Campus GI Design  ()
 This year 215 universities from across the country competed in the first USEPA Campus Rainworks Challenge.  I was privileged to be asked to be one of the judges choose finalists to send to Nancy Stoner,  EPA Office of Water Acting Administrator and her staff, for the final selection and award winners.

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New Competition Highlights Campus GI Design

 Permanent link

New Competition Highlights Campus GI Design

By Neil Weinstein
Posted April 22, 2013
 

 

This year 215 universities from across the country competed in the first USEPA Campus Rainworks Challenge.  I was privileged to be asked to be one of the judges choose finalists to send to Nancy Stoner,  EPA Office of Water Acting Administrator and her staff, for the final selection and award winners.  Just a few years ago it may have been hard for many people in stormwater management to imagine a nationwide Green Infrastructure (GI) design competition.  The awareness and implementation by all communities of all sizes around the country has grown exponentially in the design professions.  Now the interest and enthusiasm has filtered down to colleges and universities of all sizes with the advent of this new and exciting competition.  

 

The finalists were equally divided into large schools and small schools represented by multi-disciplinary teams of planners, landscape architects, engineers, artists, and representatives from other allied programs.  Each school was given the task of designing a signature cutting-edge project or master plan that could help transform the campus into “THE” GI university or college.  Previous rounds of judging criteria included a long list of planning, technical, feasibility, and other sustainability metrics used in GI, and this final round looked at how each team really put things together so that the creativity and vision could be realized by the school.

 

Our panel of 10 judges, including representatives from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Water Environment Federation, EPA, private practitioners, and academia, had to make some difficult decisions.  The amount of creativity, interdisciplinary cooperation, and quality of the work from each of the sixteen finalists was amazing, and the size of school and resources seemed to not make a difference on the amount of creativity and knowledge that was included in each project.  Many of the ideas were incredibly innovative, and they really applied state-of-the-art science to planning and design.  I’d also say their sensitivity to surrounding areas and the community were outstanding. Several designs met all the judging criteria and took the extra leap into developing new concepts and addressing issues beyond GI.

 

The videos and design outreach plans required for submittal were definitely among the highlights.  Many of them really showed a lot of creativity and fun while getting across some complex and detailed planning and design benefits.  It was also good to see projects from across the country in many different climate and urbanized settings-- it was apparent is that Green Infrastructure can be accomplished in campuses almost anywhere.    Many of the designs also addressed the transition and relationship to conventional GI and looked at retrofits as well as expansions of the campuses.

  

It was obvious from the competition that our next generation of GI professionals is going to be ready, and we’re in good hands! Check out the winning designs announced today at http://www.epa.gov/campusrainworks. 

Posted by Blaine Menelik at 04/18/2013 02:33:17 PM | 


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Neil WeinsteinPosted by Neil Weinstein

Neil Weinstein, P.E., R.L.A., AICP, ENV PV, the Executive Director of the Low Impact Development Center, Inc. is one of the nation’s leaders in the development and implementation of Green Highways, Green Streets, and Green Infrastructure. He was the co-chair of the first national American Society of Civil Engineers conference on Green Highways and Green Streets and currently co-chairs ASCE technical committees on Green Highways and LID practices. Additionally, Mr. Weinstein is one of the original signers of the EPA Green Infrastructure Statement of Intent and received a national award from the USEPA and FHWA for leadership on the Green Highways Partnership, a movement for LID technology in the linear environment. He has authored several publications and guides on sustainable development and stormwater management.


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