Transitioning from Gray to Green (G2G)

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Seneshaw Tsegaye, Thomas L Singleton, Andrew K Koeser, David S Lamb, Shawn M Landry, Shen Lu, Joshua B Barber, Deborah R Hilbert, Keir O Hamilton, Robert J Northrop, Kebreab Ghebremichael

Format: Research Study/Post-Test


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“Urban stormwater managers have traditionally used pipes, ditches, ponds and other gray infrastructure elements
to quickly divert runoff away from its main sources—buildings and roadways. In contrast, proponents of green
infrastructure attempt to manage stormwater near its origin, utilizing natural drainage pathways and best
management practices (BMPs) to reduce runoff and increase infiltration. In doing so, stormwater is retained
where it is needed to support urban vegetation. This vegetation, in turn, helps reduce future runoff, while
producing a whole range of environmental, economic, and social/human health-related benefits. Despite the
many advantages of green infrastructure, retrofitting the infrastructure of a city is a costly process that requires
careful planning. The transition from gray to green infrastructure requires communication between managers
from different disciplines and a willingness to stray from management strategies that have defined stormwater
management for centuries. The Gray to Green (G2G) green infrastructure planning tool is designed to facilitate
these conversations—showing both technical and non-technical users how green infrastructure BMPs can work
within the urban forest to manage stormwater on existing or proposed development sites. This paper details the
data sources and research at the core of G2G—documenting all methods, equations, and assumptions used in its
creation to provide users with a fully-transparent and peer-reviewed planning tool. The paper concludes with
descriptions and user insights from two case studies from Tampa, Florida (United States) and Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, (United States).”

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