The area of the US known as the Rust Belt had an economic boom in the early 1900’s, and cities expanded rapidly to accommodate bustling manufacturing industries. This area then experienced a significant loss of population due to the migration of manufacturing industries to other areas beginning in the 1970’s. Many lots have become vacant and many homes have been abandoned because of this significant population loss. Industrialization introduces large areas of impervious surfaces and disturbs natural soils and landcovers, resulting in extensive stormwater runoff. While economies have declined, the problem of stormwater runoff remains. To mitigate the cascading problems of vacant lots and abandoned homes while addressing the environmental impacts of industrialization, this study proposes to analyze the different ways vacant properties can be repurposed as stormwater runoff management practices. To do this, an L-THIA analysis was performed to report the most beneficial and cost-effective ways to apply stormwater management practices on vacant and abandoned properties in Rochester, New York. By sorting parcels by size, appropriate best management practices were applied, resulting in an estimated reduction of 188,275,175 gallons of annual stormwater runoff when compared to current land use. The costs for this reduction are estimated at $158.8 million, which is likely significantly less than traditional gray infrastructure installation costs based on evidence from other cities with stormwater management plans. Plans implemented by other cities to address stormwater runoff were also consulted to identify the steps that should be taken by Rochester city planners for green infrastructure installation. Future research is needed on the impact of the differences between privately- and publicly-owned land, contiguous parcels, and efficacy of different green infrastructure methods to determine the best course of action for city planners based on a detailed neighborhood analysis.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Urban runoff--New York (State)--Rochester--Management; Vacanet lands--New York (State)--Rochester; Land use--New York (State)--Rochester
Environmental Science (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)
Golberg, Sandra, "Repurposing vacant lots for stormwater runoff mitigation in Rochester, New York" (2015). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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