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Community-led effort aims to prevent flooding in Chicago metro region

Codes and Standards

Community-led effort aims to prevent flooding in Chicago metro region

The RainReady Calumet Corridor project is focused on rain gardens, bioswales, natural detention basins, green alleys, and permeable pavers.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor  | August 31, 2023
Photo by Sebastian Palomino

Photo by Sebastian Palomino

To address increased incidents of flooding, a community-led initiative in the Chicago area is having local people identify solutions that best fit their needs.

RainReady Calumet Corridor project favors solutions that use natural and low-impact projects such as rain gardens, bioswales, natural detention basins, green alleys, and permeable pavers, to reduce the risk of damaging floods. A recent study found that extreme weather events and heavy rainfall disproportionately affect people of color and immigrants in the area.

The project in Cook County, Ill., could be an effective way to give residents experiencing chronic flooding issues who have been left out of discussions a say in how to respond to flooding. 

An official with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District says that the flooding problem in the Chicago region is so large that a foolproof solution would be cost prohibitive. Mitigation efforts will need to be different in each community, so local people should decide what’s best for them, the reasoning goes.

Final implementation in the areas involved is expected to start between fall 2023 and spring 2025. If the project works well, its leaders hope to replicate it in other parts of the county and nationwide.

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