Cabot Institute public lecture: Green infrastructure, groundwater and the sustainable city


4 November 2014, 6.00 PM - 4 November 2014, 6.00 PM

Lecture Theatre 4, School of Chemistry, Cantocks Close, Bristol, BS8 1TS

This Cabot Institute public lecture will be given by Prof Larry Band, Voit Gilmore Distinguished Professor of Geography; Director of the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina and Visiting Professor, Chinese Academy of Science.

There will be a panel discussion for the last half an hour where there will be a chance to ask questions with leading Cabot Institute academics.


This event is free to attend and open to all, however you must register for a place. 

Eventbrite - Green infrastructure, groundwater and the sustainable city


The management of water is among the most important attributes of urbanization. Provision of sufficient quantities and quality of freshwater, treatment and disposal of wastewater and flood protection are critical for urban sustainability. Over the last century, two major shifts in water management paradigms have occurred, the first to improve public health with the provision of infrastructure for centralized sanitary effluent collection and treatment, and the rapid drainage and routing of stormwater. A current shift in paradigm is now occurring in response to the unintended consequences of sanitary and stormwater management, which have degraded downstream water bodies and shifted flood hazard downstream. Current infrastructure is being designed and implemented to retain, rather than rapidly drain, stormwater, with a focus on infiltration based methods. In urban areas, this amounts to a shift in hydrologic behaviour to depression focused recharge.

While stormwater is defined as surface flow resulting from developed areas, an integrated hydrologic systems approach to urban water management requires treatment of the full critical zone. In urban areas this extends from the top of the vegetation and building canopy, to a subsurface depth including natural soils, fill, saprolite and bedrock. In addition to matric and network flow in fracture systems, an urban “karst” includes multiple generations of current and past infrastructure, which has developed extensive subsurface pipe networks for supply and drainage, enhancing surface/groundwater flows and exchange. In this presentation, Band will discuss the need to focus on the urban critical zone, and the development and adaptation of new modeling and analytical approaches to understand and plan green infrastructure based on surface/ groundwater/ ecosystem interactions, and implications for the restoration and new design of cities.


Larry Band is the Voit Gilmore Distinguished Professor of Geography and Director of the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina, and a Visiting Professor at the Chinese Academy of Science. Band's research is in watershed ecohydrology, including the coevolution of ecological and hydrological systems. His current research focuses in two Long Term Ecological Research sites: Coweeta (North Carolina), and the Baltimore Ecosystem Study. In 2010 he was Board Chair for the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences, and was a deputy editor for Water Resources Research. Band was a visiting scientist at the Australian CRC for Catchment Hydrology in 1992-1993 and at the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO in 2008, the latter on science and management response to the Australian drought. Band has published >130 papers, book chapters and technical reports. His 2014 Birdsall-Dreiss lectures will be based on research linking surface/subsurface flowpath dynamics with ecosystem development in forested and urban sites.

Further information

This event runs from 6 pm - 7.30 pm.

If you have any special access requirements, please email

Interested in this event?  We also have our Cabot Institute Annual Lecture on 17 November featuring Peter Head talking about how we can build an inclusive, resilient and sustainable city.  Book your ticket now!

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