At a Glance

Neighborhood scale green infrastructure helps reduce sewer overflows while revitalizing community open space.

Project Description

In 2007, the New York City Mayor’s office released PlaNYC a groundbreaking, multi-agency effort to address long-term challenges, including changing climate conditions and an aging combined sewer system. Biohabitats provided assessment, analysis and design services to the City’s Department of Environmental Protection to support the PlaNYC’s promotion of green infrastructure to reduce combined sewer overflows.

Building upon pilot scale success, this effort focused on scaling up implementation to the neighborhood scale, where a combination of on lot practices at public housing sites and right-of-way bioswales were constructed. Biohabitats was lead designer for the on lot practices. The work involved field reconnaissance, design, and the development of full construction plans for a range of green infrastructure practices, including bioretention, permeable pavement, and underground storage/infiltration chambers. Biohabitats also helped monitor the impact of the designs on reducing flow in the combined sewer system.

Installed at the Seth Low and Hope Gardens public housing complexes in Brooklyn, the green infrastructure practices were designed to manage one inch of runoff from a minimum of 10% of the impervious surfaces within the neighborhood areas. They also add beauty, wildlife habitat, and the rare opportunity to interact with nature in these densely urban communities.



Hudson River

Physiographic Province

Coastal Plain


New York City Watershed

Expertise Areas

Design & Build, Infrastructure, Research & Development, Urban Ecology, Water


New York City Department of Environmental Protection


New York City, New York, United States

Project Team
  • Hazen and Sawyer
  • HDR, Inc.