A key goal of Space to Grow is to bring about benefits for the environment by:

  • Reducing neighborhood flooding by absorbing large amounts of rainwater
  • Keeping the city’s water resources clean by preventing combined sewer overflow
  • Reducing heat island effects and building resilience to climate change by replacing asphalt with green space

The evaluation of these features is in the early stages and so far has focused on stormwater management. Early results of the of the green stormwater infrastructure evaluation are very encouraging. Grissom Elementary, for example, has a projected two-year 100 percent reduction in runoff volume and is projected to hold and use all stormwater that falls on the site for about 99 percent of all storms. For over 99 percent of all storms, the green schoolyard will remove virtually 100 percent of all pollutants.

In addition, Openlands worked with Conservation Design Forum to monitor and assess how the schoolyard at one of the schools performed in rainstorm events of varying sizes. The findings have been published in an executive summary and a full report showing the potential for water conservation and highlighting the importance of measuring it.

Project partners have implemented a stormwater evaluation plan in partnership with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) since the summer of 2016. The plan includes monitoring for both the volume of capture as well as the quality of the runoff from Space to Grow schoolyards. Monitoring goals also include calculating the cost effectiveness of technologies at each site (i.e., cost per gallon captured) and preparing a report of findings to be disseminated to the green infrastructure community.

Stay posted for more as this research progresses.