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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Green Infrastructure for Sustainable Urban Stormwater Management

Increased urban development in American cities has led to higher stormwater runoff quantities entering local sewer systems and combined sewer overflows (CSOs) during strong storm events. The task of preventing CSOs has traditionally been met by unsustainable grey ‘end-of-pipe’ solutions, which aim to increase the capacity of local sewer systems to handle the additional stormwater runoff. However, these practices fail to recognize the underlying issue: increased runoff from impervious developments. Therefore, a transition to green infrastructure (GI) is necessary to ensure sustainable stormwater management by decreasing impervious surface areas in the effort to simulate pre-development environments and runoff quantities. This dissertation aims to assist in this transition by giving engineers the tools to develop and evaluate GI plans tailored to the needs of their city, through a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and cost-benefit analysis (CBA) framework and database spreadsheet calculator. This tool is utilized for the recommendation of a GI plan for Lincoln Park, Chicago, along with a plan for successful implementation. Serving as a model for other cities to follow, this analysis shows the strategy needed for a shift to sustainable stormwater management.

Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.