Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

Document Type



Landscape Architects currently do not have an efficient method for including stormwater quantities in early stages of their design process. With stormwater control infrastructure and theory rapidly shifting in favor of stormwater management with Green Infrastructure or Low Impact Development technologies (LIDs), landscape architects and planners are increasingly making layout and sizing decisions for stormwater design. Due to the development of modeling tools, it is now possible to rapidly produce quantifiable stormwater values for complex site designs at a range of scales. This paper proposes a methodology for the utilization of the EPA – Stormwater Management Model (SWMM), in conjunction with hand sketching, AutoCAD measured layouts and spreadsheet calculators, to quickly optimize stormwater detention based on spatial arrangements, sizing, and construction costs. Unlike available calculator-based methods, this model-centered methodology successfully simulates water quantity benefits of LIDs used in series. A twelve-acre development in Southeast Louisiana, broken into a 1.4-acre commercial site and 10.9-acre multi-family residential site, was designed using this multidisciplinary methodology. A total of fifty iterations were simulated, forty-one of which involved LIDs and twenty-nine of which included LIDs in sequence. Iterations were compared with pre-development flow rates and runoff volumes, and with each other in terms of stormwater performance and capital costs. The cumulative time required to set up and alter this thirty-eight subcatchment based model, run the almost instantaneous simulations, and track and cost the fifty iterations was less than 20 hours. Schematic and measured plan, section and perspective sketches, as well as quick context analysis, were employed before modeling to determine appropriate type, sizing and layout of LIDs and after modeling to decide between the top quantifiably optimized designs. This integrated methodology provides the basis for more collaborative and quantitatively supported LID stormwater landscape designs by introducing efficient multidisciplinary modeling techniques at the beginning of the design process.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Michaels, Kenneth