According to Lexington’s Open Data Portal, there are over 2,050 acres of multifamily land uses across Fayette County, Kentucky, many with impervious surface areas that impact stormwater quality and cause flooding issues. In need of infrastructure improvements, three small-scale, aging, multifamily properties on Lexington’s north side would serve as an unlikely catalyst for reimagining how multifamily sites throughout the city handled stormwater runoff.
Thinking outside the box, a multidisciplinary team led by our landscape architects developed an innovative approach for multifamily stormwater retrofits. We leveraged public grant funding to address our client’s issues with the properties while advocating a more extensive agenda for improving urban ecologies and stormwater systems.
acres of multifamily land uses countywide
case study properties
century site upgrades
Seeing the Bigger PictureWinning grants isn’t easy, and to secure the initial funding, we encouraged our client to think broadly about how the stormwater retrofits on their properties could inform other aging multifamily sites across the city. We then came up with a concept to utilize each property as a case study to develop educational materials around stormwater quality improvements. These materials ultimately became the Lexington Multifamily Stormwater Retrofit Manual. A vital educational resource, the manual can be used by City agencies and multifamily property owners alike to illustrate how to improve stormwater quality and reduce impervious surfaces.
A Citywide ReachUsing the three case studies, the manual describes the process of evaluating a site’s stormwater issues and opportunities and then outlines stormwater strategies and the design process for improving stormwater management. As each case-study property was developed before the term “green infrastructure” had even been coined, they represented a unique opportunity in developing a series of stormwater retrofits applicable to the thousands of acres of multifamily sites across the city.
Small, Medium or Large?Because multifamily properties come in different shapes and sizes, not all stormwater management solutions are appropriate for all sites. That’s why we developed the manual to include a small, medium and large site to convey how this work can be completed in multiple ways and can be scaled up or down depending on site context.
Making BMPs Add ValueThe manual also introduces BMP-MENITIES—a new and creative way of thinking about stormwater infrastructure best management practices (BMPs) and how they can be used to add value to multifamily properties by making them site amenities. Along with helping to mitigate stormwater runoff, these BMP-MENITIES create new landscapes and social spaces that fit a number of different lifestyles and can improve the marketability of any multifamily site.
Getting to the Triple Bottom LinePutting quality of life and quality of environment at the forefront, the award-winning Lexington Multifamily Stormwater Retrofit Manual will play a critical role in how Kentucky’s second-largest city understands both landscape architecture and the true opportunities associated with developing 21st century infrastructure. Outlined within its covers, our triple-bottom-line approach for stormwater retrofits goes beyond simply burying infrastructure below ground—it creates an immersive infrastructure that increases a property’s social, economic and ecological value.
Our team develops creative solutions for the world's toughest infrastructure problems.
Learn more about our Stormwater expertise.