For Midwest communities dealing with urban flooding, new templates provide a free resource to rethink streets and open spaces for stormwater management


Jan. 5, 2016

For Midwest communities dealing with urban flooding, new templates provide a free resource to rethink streets and open spaces for stormwater management

Chicago-area government, nonprofit and for-profit groups worked together on green infrastructure design templates—an outcome of ongoing collaboration to address urban flooding

Mandy Burrell Booth, 312-863-6018,
Katie Yocum Musisi, 312-554-0900,

(Chicago) … As communities across the Midwest seek solutions to reduce sewer and basement back-ups and other costly effects of urban flooding, a collaboration in Chicago has produced free green infrastructure design templates for the Midwest and Great Lakes region, vetted and designed by experts, and now available online.

Delta Institute and Guidon Design, Inc., created the design templates, which provide technical drawings (details and cross-sections), construction notes, and cost and maintenance information for five different types of green infrastructure: rain gardens, stormwater planters, permeable pavement, underground storage, and bioswales (sloped landscaping that helps capture and filter stormwater.) The design templates are part of a toolkit that also includes a decision-making rubric to help municipal managers and decision-makers start the process of implementing green infrastructure in their community.

“Green infrastructure is often an important part of the solution to urban flooding, but whether and how to build it can be a stumbling block for communities,” said Eve Pytel, director of strategic priorities, Delta Institute. “This toolkit provides users with a clearer understanding of how to identify opportunities for green infrastructure implementation, which green infrastructure treatments are most suitable for a specific site or purpose, and how to make informed decisions based on reasonable cost estimates.”

In response to requests for technical assistance from communities, Delta Institute applied for and received funding for the design templates in April 2014 then worked with the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative to shape the project. The Collaborative has been improving communication and coordination between municipalities, government agencies, planners, designers and other key stakeholders in stormwater management since 2014. Delta Institute is one of more than 30 active members of the Collaborative, which is facilitated by the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and is also a priority of the Millennium Reserve, a broader partnership of communities, governments, and businesses advancing economic, environmental and community goals on Chicago’s southeast side, the Southeast lakefront and 37 south suburban municipalities.

“From costly flooding to poor water quality, many cities and regions across the Midwest, including Chicago’s Calumet region, are confronting increasing challenges with stormwater management,” said MPC director Josh Ellis. “By coordinating, the many groups involved in the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative are developing better, faster solutions to these challenges, such as the new green infrastructure design templates, which will make it easier and less expensive for communities in our own area and in places with similar climates to build green infrastructure.”

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