Civil and Environmental Engineering

Green infrastructure and urban stormwater management

February 09, 2018

10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Gates Hillman Centers 4401, Rashid Auditorium

Patricia Culligan
Columbia University


The management of stormwater runoff in urban environments remains one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time, not least because urban stormwater runoff is a primary cause of water-quality impairment in the United States today. Traditional engineering solutions for stormwater management, which include the construction of large underground detention basins, are becoming increasingly difficult to implement in many urban environments because of design and cost challenges, as well as land-area constraints. As a result, the identification of new approaches to manage urban stormwater runoff is becoming a priority for many U.S. cities. One approach that is rapidly gaining in popularity, involves the development of city-wide green infrastructure programs.

This talk will present results from a multi-year research program at Columbia University that has been investigating the stormwater management performance of a suite of green infrastructure types located in New York City. Data collection, modeling protocols and findings from the research program will be discussed, as well as the potential broader role of green infrastructure in promoting urban sustainability and resilience.


A leader in the field of water resources and urban sustainability, Patricia Culligan explores novel, interdisciplinary solutions to the challenges of urbanization, with a particular emphasis on the City of New York.  Her research investigates the opportunities for green infrastructure, social networks, and advanced measurement and sensing technologies to improve urban water, energy, and environmental management.

She is co-Director of a $12 million research network sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop new models for urban infrastructure to make cities cleaner, healthier, and more enjoyable places to live.  She is the founding associate director of Columbia University’s Data Science Center and the co-Director of the Earth Institute’s Urban Design Lab. In 2011, she was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Society of Civil Engineer's Geo-Institute. She is the author or co-author of more than 150 technical articles.

Culligan received her M.Phil. and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

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