Buffalo Rain Check 2.0 Green Infrastructure Plan Wins National Planning Award
The American Planning Association (APA) announced the winners of the annual National Planning Awards this week at their virtual awards ceremony on Facebook Live. APA’s National Planning Awards “honor planning efforts, initiatives, and individuals working to make safer, stronger, and more just communities for all”.
The Buffalo Rain Check 2.0 Opportunity Report is the recipient of a 2020 Silver National Planning Achievement Award for Environmental Planning. The award honors efforts to create more sustainable and greener communities that reduce the impact of development on the natural environment and improve environmental quality. The planning process was led by evolveEA in partnership with Arcadis, University of Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI), and PUSH Buffalo for Buffalo Sewer Authority in 2018-2019, with implementation and outreach work continuing this year. The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo funded a significant amount of the work.
Rain Check 2.0 is Buffalo’s opportunity to comprehensively solve its stormwater problems while rebuilding communities. The plan demonstrates how investment in design and creative engineering can have a positive impact on equity and neighborhood quality.
— Christine Mondor FAIA, principal at evolveEA
Rain Check 2.0 demonstrates how green infrastructure (GI) can manage runoff, improve waterways, increase resilience, and protect public health in Buffalo, New York. It builds on the foundation of the city’s previous stormwater management plan, detailing strategies for the city’s six Priority CSO Basins—stormwater sewer districts where reducing Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) is calculated as most urgent and impactful. The planning team used comprehensive technological studies, including a custom-built equity analysis tool and a citywide tree canopy analysis, to determine which areas would maximize stormwater, environmental, and economic benefits.
Site selection for green infrastructure is often driven by engineering and technical concerns. The Rain Check 2.0 GI Equity Index includes 17 variables related to socioeconomic and built environment measures, for deep analysis that layers environmental, economic, and social factors onto the engineering approach when evaluating opportunities for GI.
Rain Check 2.0 is valuable to our communities because the Opportunity Report describes both the places where green infrastructure could be implemented, as well as the opportunities that it provides, such as in community development and beautification, economic and workforce development, and enhancing public health. I am proud to lead this effort as General Manager of the Buffalo Sewer Authority.
— Oluwole A. McFoy, PE