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Theses Doctoral

Evaluating Green Roof Stormwater Management in New York City: Observations, Modeling, and Design of Full-Scale Systems

Carson, Tyler

In the United States, an aging and overburdened urban infrastructure has become a substantial challenge for civil engineers. Among these challenges, systems for stormwater management are of significant concern, considering their direct impact on environmental quality, local ecosystems, and the hydrologic cycle. Given the high costs for rehabilitation of traditional stormwater infrastructure in urban settings, low impact, or "green" development strategies have become critical components in plans for meeting future stormwater management goals. In particular, New York City (NYC) has pledged $1.5 billion over the next 20 years to improve environmental quality through the mitigation of urban runoff, where utilization of green infrastructure is a primary goal. Cost effective implementation of this, and similar plans around the world, requires comprehensive understanding of green infrastructure functionality. In response, this dissertation investigates the stormwater management potential of full-scale green roofs in NYC through lenses of observation, modeling, and design.
Exploration of this topic has resulted in new findings which quantify the: influence of dominant environmental and physical properties on green roof hydrologic performance, envelope of potential green roof rainfall capture in NYC, and predictive efficiency of contemporary hydrologic models for green roof assessment. This work has also lead to new methods for the: extension of green roof observations to account for the influence of rainfall distribution, parameterization of green roof hydrologic processes, and prediction of full-scale green roof rainfall capture in advance of construction. Going forward, these findings and methods are useful for informing green roof policy, planning, and design; where, in particular, this information supports the development of green roof policies that correlate to specific stormwater management goals. In summation, the characterization of green roof stormwater management in NYC, as presented in this dissertation, has contributed to the understanding of, among other topics, green roof design, urban stormwater management, hydrologic modeling, and the broad interdisciplinary field of urban ecological systems.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Thesis Advisors
Culligan, Patricia J.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014