Each redevelopment site represents an opportunity to enhance the environmental performance of a property and contribute to local and regional natural resource enhancement. Many aspects of development proposals, such as building design, landscape choices, and site planning, can improve climate resilience, water conservation, stormwater management, and water quality. Expansion of site-scale greening — particularly with native and drought- and flood-tolerant landscape materials and trees — can help to mitigate the urban heat island effect, retain stormwater, promote carbon sequestration, and improve public health. Avoiding redevelopment in flood-prone areas interrupts the cycle of escalating and recurring damages. Local governments can be proactive about addressing flooding challenges by going beyond county requirements to require stormwater best management practices on smaller parcels. Encouraging green infrastructure practices as the first design option and enabling rainwater harvesting and reuse can help address concerns from neighbors that redevelopment could exacerbate existing stormwater problems.

Despite these real benefits, integration of sustainable practices in redevelopment is often perceived as more difficult or expensive. The most common example is with stormwater, where small sites may be severely constrained from meeting detention requirements. Yet the application of green infrastructure designs like permeable paving or bioswales can be incorporated in a variety of settings. For property owners with space or other site constraints, credits and trading programs can provide flexibility and increase implementation. In the stormwater example, trading programs allow eligible properties to meet a portion of their stormwater requirements by buying “credits” from other property owners. These programs could lead to dramatic improvements, especially if off-site installations are located within the same water- or sewer-shed and the infill site does not create downstream impacts. Municipalities can also take advantage of larger-scale redevelopment efforts to either make adjacent infrastructure improvements that relate to climate resilience, such as burying overhead utility lines, installing street trees, or building sewer capacity or shared stormwater solutions, or require developers to do so.

Action 1

Revise zoning, building, energy, and stormwater regulations to ensure sustainable development practices are implemented through redevelopment, retrofits, and adaptive reuse of buildings and property.


Local governments

Action 2

Follow Cook and DuPage efforts and establish fee‐in‐lieu programs for detention and volume control for constrained infill sites to address existing flooding and water quality issues.


County stormwater agencies