Chicago Streets : Up-pipe Tributaries to the River

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Rebuilding urban infrastructure for this century means targeting the urban streets. Constructed using last century's technology, streets are engineered as the primary tributaries to the existing grey infrastructure system. When Chicago has a rainstorm over 2/3", the water overwhelms the combined-sewer system and creates overflows into the rivers and Lake Michigan. Ironically, the complex and ubiquitous network of streets also becomes their logical advantage. We can introduce a surface-based block-wide approach that keeps water of the street pipes. 

An example of a potential water infiltration corridor is Stony Island Avenue running north-south in the 8th ward of Chicago. The site is replete with pavement and sandy soils exist beneath the paved surfaces. By hydrologically activating surfaces, the street system and surrounding spaces becomes sponges and filters for water, rather than draining this water into the underground pipe system.