Rain gardens and green roofs aren’t new terms or practices, but according to the Urban Land Institute (ULI), we are seeing more and more local governments working on citywide green infrastructure features like these to best manage stormwater.

ULI’s new report Harvesting the Value of Water: Stormwater, Green Infrastructure, and Real Estate discusses how both public and private real estate developers are working with municipalities to manage stormwater runoff.

Each property that manages stormwater well can boast operational efficiencies as well as the added amenity. According to the report, green infrastructure can include rain gardens, green roofs, and bioswales.

“The development community is addressing the challenge of stormwater management with creative solutions that are not only conserving water, but also adding value and appeal to real estate projects across the nation,” said ULI’s Urban Resilience Program Director Katharine Burgess.

ULI’s report depicts many developers incorporating stormwater management requirements into their site planning and business models, which can reduce operating costs, provide amenities for residents, and increase value and quality of life in cities.

Over the past several years, RETTEW has been working with the City of Lancaster and several development clients to use best practices in water management and reuse. The Lancaster Marriot at Penn Square features a green roof. We conducted a water reuse study for the Fulton Bank’s new headquarters in Lancaster. And at the Crossings at Conestoga Creek mixed-use community under development with High Real Estate Group, RETTEW assisted with several green initiatives, including pervious paving and reconstructing wetlands.

While approaches to water and stormwater management vary depending on geography and other factors, green infrastructure themes noted in the report include:

  • Community benefits
  • Cost savings
  • Property value enhancement
  • Cross-market strategies
  • Marketing appeal
  • Amenities
  • Peak weather event performance
  • Added security


“We’re seeing many developers researching and investing in green infrastructure – it benefits the municipality, it benefits their project, and it benefits the broader community,” said Joel Young, development market lead at RETTEW.