Doctoral candidate receives grant to study
built environment's effects on storm water


Bo Yang, a Ph.D. candidate in Texas A&M University’s Urban and Regional Science program, will study storm water patterns in The Woodlands, Texas, through a $5,000 research grant from the Texas Water Resources Institute.

In his research, Yang will focus on storm water quantity and quality resulting from neighborhoods built with different planning methods or development patterns and compare it to actual storm water data.

He will use the Soil and Water Assessment Tool, a public-domain model developed to measure the impact of land management practices in large, complex watersheds, to measure storm the water impact on three simulated neighborhoods as well as the an actual neighborhood in Village of Grogan’s Mill in The Woodlands

“The Woodlands, Texas, was the first master-planned community to employ an ecological approach in the 1970s,” said Yang in his research proposal. In the Woodlands’ planning concept, he said, land with high soil permeability was preserved as open space and land with low soil permeability was assigned for commercial or residential developments.

“Despite a lack of rigorous scientific evaluations,” Yang’s proposal reads, “this ecological planning approach is regarded as successful based on historical extreme storm events,” pointing out that 100-year storms in 1979 and 1994 left Houston, 31 miles away, severely flooded.

The grant is from the United States Geological Survey’s 104B program. A total of $19,623 was provided in matching funds from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.

“This will be the first quantitative study testing the ecological planning approach of The Woodlands and will provide insights into the impacts of planning methods and development patterns on storm water quantity and quality,” said Yang in his research proposal.

“Through this simulation study of Grogan’s Mill, a better understanding will be gained for strategic tradeoffs between land used for roads and parking, and land dedicated as open space, urban forest and storm water,” he said.

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Bo Yang, Ph.D. candidate in Texas A&M University's Urban and Regional Science program
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