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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Planning and implementation of sustainable stormwater management systems in the City of Vancouver : the green roof example Lancaster, Thomas

Abstract

Imagine a city that utilizes the rain that falls on it as a resource instead of managing it as a waste. This city is planned, designed and engineered in ways that help to preserve and bolster the ecosystem within which it sits. The costs to the taxpayer are lower than other municipalities that have preserved the status quo of managing their stormwater. The city itself is less reliant on inputs of materials and energy from outside its borders. The people who live in this city are more cognizant of their natural environment, understand the meaning of developing sustainably and experience less of the "concrete jungle" than do people in other contemporary cities. The planners, designers, engineers and decisionmakers use stormwater management as a tool to achieve a more sustainable city that is reflective of local ecological functions, as well as global materials and energy availability. In this thesis, the stormwater management contributions to achieving such a reality in Vancouver, British Columbia are investigated, while a framework for applying sustainable stormwater management systems to this and other contexts is constructed. Data and information are gathered through literature review, case study and interviews. The results of the study illustrate a more sustainable and integrated stormwater management framework and suggest that it is possible to incrementally shift the system towards this over time. The study also shows that it can be more ecologically and economically sustainable to do so. While there appear to be many opportunities for this shift to sustainable stormwater management systems, there are also significant, yet surmountable, institutional and epistemological barriers that must be addressed.

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