University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
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Abstract

Storm water management in urban areas is not only a necessary infrastructure, it is also a valuable resource to provide an aesthetic experience for the public while furthering ecological awareness, recreation, and the cultural fabric. Through the restructuring of current development ordinances and through greater attention to the true needs of the natural and built communities, storm water management becomes the tool to breach the gap between man and nature. Rogers, Arkansas, a city of exciting and alarming growth, maintains traditional planning and environmental practices that have created a center of disequilibrium among the natural and built systems. Local streams and their surrounding environment have received the worst of this imbalance as flooding, severe stream-channel erosion, loss of wetland habitat, and riparian ecosystems have become dominating characteristics. Differing principles and goals of Rogers' major municipalities and special interest groups are the catalysts for the overall degradation of the natural systems. As the stream corridors continue to decline, the actual tools needed to stop this decline remain in great debate, varying from engineering tactics to a closed-door, political approach. The greatest challenge to the stream corridors continue to decline, the actual tools needed to stop this decline remain in great debate, varying from engineering tactics to a closed-door, political approach. The greatest challenge to the city of Rogers and to the overall health of the environment, lies in synthesizing the needs, principles, and practices of each group into a harmonious whole. The object of this amalgamation is not only to solve stream quality issues, but also to allow the city to capitalize on the potential benefits of its stream corridors. The Loop is a multi-objective recreation and urban design project that illustrates the potential of using stream corridor restoration as a springboard into several other realms of city planning and urban design. However, in order to achieve a successful project, extensive studies in civil engineering, local historic and cultural patterns, and land management theories were necessary. A tri-fold, tri-pan harmony, The Loop executes an integration of these design principles in the fields of ecology, recreation, and urban design. Using the stream corridors, city easements, cultural and social connectors, and the apparent new development, The Loop serves as medium by which to solve ecological problems, to provide extensive recreation opportunities, and to create a cohesive urban fabric. The Loop also serves to provide alternatives to typical development practices. By incorporating a task force composed of local elected officials, local land planners, engineers, special-interest groups, and community members, all provisions work together to create positive multiple, mutually reinforcing, long-term benefits, while satisfying the needs of each group. Future development will be governed by these principles and will benefit and strengthen the ecological and social framework of the city. The Loop, through these provisions, strives to establish a balanced system that improves the surrounding environment and provides an ecologically sound, esthetically pleasing experience. The Loop, a development plan for the future of Rogers, Arkansas, is the catalyst to form a model city in the heart of Northwest Arkansas. By brandishing new techniques that not only improve the quality of life but also guarantee the continuum and health of the natural systems, Rogers establishes itself as a city and a community with a common vision and a brighter future.

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