2016International Low Impact Development Conference in Beijing

2016International Low Impact Development Conference in Beijing

Since the early 2000s’ the concept of Low Impact Development (LID) has gained widespread recognition as an ecologically sound and sustainable approach to stormwater management, especially in terms of urban stormwater runoff quantity and quality control. Currently in the United States, all levels (federal, state and local) of governments have either recommended or required the use of LID practices in new or retrofit urban projects. Similar trends have been enthusiastically picked up elsewhere, for example in England under the title Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS), in Canada as Water Balance Methodology, and in Australia as Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)”, etc..

In China, the rapid urbanization process in recent decades has led to a worsening “city syndrome” situation that exist in many urban areas such as urban flooding, water pollution, heat-island effects and ecologic deterioration, etc. As a result, in recent years much attention and efforts have been given to finding solutions to these and other environmental problems. Such efforts include government-sponsored initiatives on “low-carbon city”, “green or ecological city”, etc. A thorough review of the traditional urban drainage practices has also been underway and a new paradigm is emerging regarding system sustainability, which embraces many of the basic principles of LID technology.     

The main purpose of the International LID conferences is to provide an international forum for stormwater management professionals to present the latest developments, technologies and case studies related to LID and green infrastructure (GI) technology. Inaugurated in 2004 with the most recent one held in Houston in early 2015, the LID conferences have been well-attended (800-1,000 attendees) and the popularity had grown rapidly in recent years. The one major attractive aspect about the conference is that it brings professionals from all sectors, i.e., academics, government officials, consultant company types, etc. together to discuss not only theoretical aspects, but also practical, e.g., costs, implementation strategies, etc. The attendees also come from different disciplines, i.e., not only environmental and drainage engineers, but landscape architects, urban planners, etc.

In order to promote a sustainable urbanization strategy, the China Leadership announced in late 2013 a “Sponge City” approach, i.e., utilizing the natural storage, infiltration and purification processes in urban build environment. In October, 2014 the China Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction (MHURC) issues the “Guidelines for Construction Technology of Sponge City – The Establishment of Low Impact Development Stormwater Systems”. In April, 2015 the Chin Ministry of Finance, with support from MHURC, the Ministries of Water Resources, selected 16 cities as the first tier of sponge city demonstration sites. It is expected that in a short time, there will be a vast number of LID/GI practices in many cities and more are to come. It is therefore a good opportunity for China to take the leadership in providing an international platform for professionals from various countries and regions to learn from one another about the latest advancement in the LID/GI field.

This will be the very first time the International LID Conference is held at a venue outside of the United States. The conference will provide an excellent opportunity for LID/GI professionals in the Asia-Pacific region to exchange experiences, share results and implementation strategies with colleagues from North America, Europe and other parts of the world. Furthermore, presentations and discussions could be conducive to new ideas and innovation in the LID/GI technologies.