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Sector Summary

Buildings, Cities & Infrastructure

Photo: Jason Wilkinson

Many of the challenges facing Puget Sound’s water originate from urban built environments and infrastructure. Cities, roads, and other infrastructure, include large areas of hardscape with poor infiltration, are a huge source of polluted runoff, and act as heat islands that affect natural temperature and water cycles. Linear thinking, lack of creativity and social inequity has resulted in urban environments that degrade our region’s water through groundwater depletion, untreated runoff, releases of recent and legacy pollutants and overburdened sewage treatment systems.   

The good news is we’re starting to reimagine how our buildings, cities and urban infrastructure can function. This regenerative approach to design and planning seeks to mimic the environmental services of predevelopment landscapes, including the benefits of the natural hydrologic cycle. Ultimately, the goal is to have our cities provide the same ecosystem services for water retention and filtration as the old growth Western Red Cedar forests that once occupied Puget Sound’s watersheds.

Solutions in This Sector

Advanced Wastewater Treatment (at Centralized Plants)

Affordable Workforce Housing

Blue-Green Streets & Roadside Bioswales

Clean Preservatives for Utility Poles & Pilings

Decentralized Water Systems


Green Roofs, Facades & Walls

Green, Clean Bridges & Elevated Highways

Grey Infrastructure for Combined Sewage Overflow Control

Low-Flow Bathroom Fixtures

Native Plants & Ecological Lawns

Neighborhood Scale Stormwater Facilities

Pipeline & Outfall Cleaning

Pipelining for Leak Elimination

Rainwater Harvesting

Recycled Water

Site Sustainability Certification 

Street Sweeping

Urban Greening & Tree Canopy

Urban RV Pump-Out Facilities

Urban Soil Building

Wastewater Treatment Wetlands

Waterless Bathroom Fixtures

Join Us

Together, we will find ways to solve chronic challenges, decrease the cost of project delivery, and incentivize mainstream adoption. There is massive untapped potential to design new tools for problems that natural resource managers face daily.

We invite you to join us in identifying solutions and promising new technologies. 

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