Designing for Water: Case Studies in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Wilson, Allison Marie
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The built environment negatively affects the water cycle, introducing chemicals and nutrients into the system, impacting the ability of plant, fish, and animal species to survive. Stretching from New York to Virginia, the 64,000 square miles of the Chesapeake Bay watershed includes housing, commerce, and industry for 16.6 million people. While architecture is typically designed to shed precipitation away from buildings, it is not typically designed for the on-site retention and management of that rain, snow, and sleet. Exploring the possibilities of ecoregion-specific environments illustrates the best practices for rainwater harvesting and storm water management across the varied landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. By using technologies such as cisterns, green roofs, and constructed wetlands, the built environment can be designed to decrease our need for expensive water purifying infrastructure and preserve the health of fragile estuary ecosystems such as the Chesapeake Bay.