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Fourth Border Low Impact Development Infrastructure Forum held in Hermosillo

Posted on June 22, 2017

Fourth Border Low Impact Development Infrastructure Forum held in Hermosillo

On May 18, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC), in collaboration with the Government of the State of Sonora and the Commission on Ecology and Sustainable Development (CEDES), hosted the Fourth Border Low Impact Development Infrastructure Forum: Resilience and Competitiveness for Cities of the U.S.-Mexico Border. Attendees to the forum held in Hermosillo discussed the importance of using sustainable infrastructure, primarily for its environmental, economic and human health benefits.

The following topics were highlighted throughout the development of this binational event the BECC has been organizing for four years:

  • Health benefits and increased property values in residential areas where a paradigm shift is being promoted in the design of streets, medians, sidewalks and parks to capture rainwater.
  • The importance of updating laws to ensure the implementation of sustainable infrastructure, as was recently done by the State of Sonora with the Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection and the State Land Management Law.
  • A Green Infrastructure Design Guidelines Manual prepared by the Municipal Planning Institute of Hermosillo was presented. This manual will complement the municipal legal framework that incorporates sustainable infrastructure in its precepts.
  • Attendees shared success stories experienced in the micro and macro regions of the U.S. and Mexico border states.

During the forum´s opening ceremony, Deputy Secretary of Government Services of the State of Sonora, Hector Leyva-Ramirez, representing Governor Claudia Pavlovich-Arellano said: “It is a great pleasure to have a binational relationship, especially to be able to walk together in the development of success stories in municipalities that have been able to implement the different programs with great success.”

BECC General Manager Maria Elena Giner said this type of infrastructure is a paradigm shift, a change to imagine something better. She added that it is also the advancement of new design techniques for roadway infrastructure which improve the quality of life, health, economic development and urban image of cities. She mentioned examples of the health benefits that result when human beings coexist with the green element, where in her opinion, “there is currently a deficit.” She said there are scientific studies such as those of children who walk on concrete surfaces and children who walk along vegetated areas whereby in the latter, their level of attention increases significantly.

The binational official congratulated the State of Sonora, which set the goal of promoting the adoption of law incorporating low impact development infrastructure elements in municipal urban development. She said Sonora is the first state to do so, particularly in the City of Hermosillo.

CEDES Executive Commissioner Luis Carlos Romo-Salazar said: “this event will leave us the reflection and very practical and common sense ideas of how we can help improve our homes, neighborhoods, and cities to live better lives.”

The Low Impact Development Infrastructure Forum gathered international speakers such as forum co-host Ana Cordova from Colegio de la Frontera Norte; Kathleen Wolf from the University of Washington; Salvador Lopez, Carlos Hernandez, and Augusto Sanchez, from the Global Green Growth Institute, IMPLAN-Aguascalientes and the University of Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley, respectively, and keynote speaker Irene Ogata of the Tucson City Water Department.

The forum was also attended by Sandra Hernandez, Chair of the Energy, Environment, and Climate Change Congressional Commission in Sonora, as well as Hermosillo´s Comptroller Angelina Nuñez, and CEDES Director of Climate Change Carla Naudert, who provided a detailed status report on the bill introduced to amend the Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection of the State of Sonora, which proposes the incorporation of sustainable infrastructure as a mechanism to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Low Impact Development infrastructure is a multifunctional system that uses natural processes –or engineering-based systems that mimic natural processes– to improve overall environmental quality and provide basic services. It can be used as a component of rainwater management systems when the local soil and vegetation are used for storm water infiltration, evapotranspiration, or reclamation.

Furthermore, the initiative promoted by the BECC includes the incorporation of Low Impact Development Infrastructure concepts in the municipal legal framework of Tijuana, Nogales and Ciudad Juarez, and the design of a Green Infrastructure Guidelines Manual. Guadalupe Peñuñuri, Director of IMPLAN Hermosillo, presented a report on the progress made thus far on the development of this Manual. Once completed, it will be a major point of reference for the development of this initiative in other border communities.

To watch a video of the forum, please use the following link: Hermosillo Border Forum




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