New Collaboration Examines Community Impacts of Green Infrastructure

Read the full story from Northwestern.

Over the past 100 years, rainfall in the Chicago area has doubled due to unprecedented shifts in weather patterns. Such increased rainfall leads to higher rates of flooding as aging sewer and storm water infrastructure struggles—and often fails—to keep up.

“Whether it’s catastrophic flooding like what we saw in 2017 with Hurricane Harvey or the chronic, low-grade flooding we’re seeing in cities like Chicago, these events can often have extreme impacts on people’s mental, physical, and economic wellbeing,” says Vidya Venkataramanan, a postdoctoral fellow in Northwestern’s Department of Anthropology and Center for Water Research.

As part of a new collaborative initiative, Venkataramanan is helping to provide unique insights into the effects of flood mitigation interventions in collaboration with one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Specifically, she is working with TNC conservation specialists to examine the socio-economic and health impacts of natural or “green” infrastructure as an urban water management strategy.

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