Rethinking Green Infrastructure on the University of Minnesota Campus

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Rethinking Green Infrastructure on the University of Minnesota Campus

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As water events become more extreme and more common, we are having to find innovative ways to deal with this increase. In urban areas, current water systems that were designed to last around 100 years are failing well before originally planned due to erosion from runoff sediment. With all this water being put into the sewer system, it is also causing the water quality to drop significantly. The goal of this project is to slow the water down, spread the water out, and soak the water up so that smaller rainfall events can be handled through natural systems, and runoff from large rainfall events can be mitigated and take away our current reliance on inefficient and failing systems. The University of Minnesota campus is the 6th largest campus by population in the United States, located near downtown Minneapolis where impervious pavement is the norm. Founded in 1851, the current campus design was built for function, not sustainability and water quality, and we are trying to change the thinking and integrate the two. The campus is also split by the Mississippi River, one of the longest and most powerful rivers in the world. It is also one of the most polluted due to runoff contamination starting in Minnesota. This thesis looks to implement strategies to the current campus design to mitigate runoff and reduce the amount of runoff being sent to the Mississippi, but to do so in an educational way that sets a precedent for how water should be managed.


University of Minnesota M.Arch. thesis. 2020. Major: Architecture. Advisors: Mike Christenson, Mary Guzowski-Lindbeck. 1 computer file (PDF); 74 pages.

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Thompson, Brandon. (2020). Rethinking Green Infrastructure on the University of Minnesota Campus. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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