A health urban stream ecosystem provides both ecological functions and social well-beings such as recreational activities, drinking water, and aesthetic values. Studying stream water quality under a broader social-ecological urban context can be challenging because the complex interaction between environmental, technical, and social factors and the lack of a systematical approach.
In this social-ecological context, urban form is the central concept because it connects environmental mechanisms that drive water quality degradation (impervious area composition, configuration, and distribution) and societal decisions to manage water quality (zoning, master plan, and water regulation policy). The proposed study will set the first interdisciplinary protocol to investigate and predict urban stream water quality at a fine scale with alternative urban structure and forms.
We are a highly interdisciplinary research team, with members from landscape architecture, urban planning, civil engineering, and data science. Together with Huron River Watershed Council as our external partner, we will pilot this study in the Huron River Watershed to investigate how urban form and structure affects current water quality condition, as well as forecast future water quality according to different urban planning scenarios.