A Coupled Urban Spatial Simulation and Stormwater Runoff Models and its Implications for Physical Design: The Case of Chicago



The goal of this proposed research is to develop a framework that bridges the gap between scientific knowledge (hydrologic engineering) that quantitatively simulates stormwater runoff and the design practices that visually implicate the built environment. We claim that these gaps should be filled by cross-disciplinary approaches in a bid to guide urban systems toward more resilient outcomes. To do this, we will utilize an existing coupled model system that closely couples the Gridded Surface Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis (GSSHA) with the Land-use Evaluation and Impact Assessment Model (LEAM). The modeling system has been developed by the LEAM laboratory to spatially and quantifiably forecast runoff in Chicago in response to various growth scenarios. Second, we will examine the relationship between runoff
and design factors to identify the salient factors of influence that are most applicable to landscape design practices. Specifically, the combination of a boosted regression tree and piecewise linear regression will be used to identify the rank importance of design factors and establish their thresholds. Third, we will test the framework in practice by infusing the modeling system in a cross-disciplinary design studio environment by infusing the spatial simulation results and statistical relationship outcomes with the design process. The proposed research will promote cross-disciplinary research in areas ranging from hydrologic/land-use modeling to urban/landscape design. Ultimately, it will lead the design discipline toward analytic approaches for resilience issues. Lastly, we expect the results of our proposed research to benefit the wellbeing of communities in Illinois by potentially decreasing runoff vulnerability.

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