Low-impact development aims to restore and maintain natural flow paths and water balances around buildings by using cost-effective building methods to filter, store and return rainwater and snow melt to the ground. It uses infrastructure that is classified as blue (detention systems), green (vegetated systems), and grey (conventional minor and major stormwater systems). Although low-impact development has the potential to create more sustainable, resilient communities, challenges include system complexities, lack of data and uncertainty in outcomes.
Dr. Jennifer Drake, Canada Research Chair in Stormwater and Low Impact Development, aims to overcome these challenges by contributing knowledge toward the next generation of sustainable stormwater infrastructure. She and her research team are trying to learn from past successes and failures of low-impact development. They are using this knowledge to improve low-impact development technologies to suit the unique conditions of Canadian communities.