Tampa FL aerial shot
Report Summary:

ULI convened a vTAP to provide City of Tampa-owned stormwater areas creative design and equity-centered solutions to address stormwater management and retention while adding value and appeal through functional and multi-purposed uses. It also explored successful frameworks for governance, finance operations, and management of green spaces focused on equitable outcomes.

Background and Assignment:

The City of Tampa requested that the ULI virtual Technical Assistance panel develop strategies for reinventing city-owned and managed stormwater retention areas as green and equitable community assets. Given the abundance of these stormwater areas scattered throughout the city, the City of Tampa aims to ensure these become multi-functional public green spaces. At present, these city-owned stormwater areas are maintained by the city’s stormwater department, with a narrowly tailored emphasis on their primary use to function as collectors of runoff during weather events. However, stakeholder interviews revealed the desire for a more collaborative, cross-departmental approach toward the maximized use of these spaces for all community members. Specifically, the ULI panel sought to address the following issues related to City of Tampa-owned stormwater ponds and other green space:

  1. Creative design and equity-centered solutions for addressing stormwater management and retention while also adding value and appeal through more functional uses to green space in Tampa
  2. Successful frameworks for governance, operations, and management of city-owned stormwater areas centered around equitable outcomes

Further, the panel was tasked with thinking creatively to potentially provide inspirational examples from several cities in the US that have already invested heavily in robust stormwater ponds and seen the tangible and intangible benefits green infrastructure can bring to both ROI and quality of life. The question for Tampa becomes how to scale these stellar examples into neighborhood-scale solutions.

Key Recommendations:

During their deliberations, the panelists expanded the vTAP scope beyond the initial focus on the stormwater retention areas identified, looking more broadly at equitable community engagement and governance processes for executing on big picture visions for resilience. High-level recommendations include:

  1. Develop and coalesce around a shared vision and ‘big idea’ that connects green space and stormwater infrastructure across the whole city
  2. Design and organize for multi-benefit solutions: flood protection, economic development, public gathering spaces, green infrastructure, restored ecological functions and trail connections
  3. Create and internalize a new holistic and scalable approach to ranking and prioritizing projects based on multi-benefit analysis, through the Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow / Resilient Tampa lens, and connected to the "big idea"
  4. Build and institutionalize a scalable citywide community engagement plan

This vTAP is part of an advisory services, technical assistance, and peer learning program called the Resilient Land Use Cohort (RLUC) that encourages enhanced resilience to climate change and related environmental and social vulnerabilities.

Report Summary: ULI convened a vTAP to provide City of Tampa-owned stormwater areas creative design and equity-centered solutions to address stormwater management and retention while adding value and appeal through functional and multi-purposed uses. It also explored successful frameworks for governance, finance operations, and management of green spaces focused on equitable outcomes.

Background and Assignment:

The City of Tampa requested that the ULI virtual Technical Assistance panel develop strategies for reinventing city-owned and managed stormwater retention areas as green and equitable community assets. Given the abundance of these stormwater areas scattered throughout the city, the City of Tampa aims to ensure these become multi-functional public green spaces. At present, these city-owned stormwater areas are maintained by the city’s stormwater department, with a narrowly tailored emphasis on their primary use to function as collectors of runoff during weather events. However, stakeholder interviews revealed the desire for a more collaborative, cross-departmental approach toward the maximized use of these spaces for all community members. Specifically, the ULI panel sought to address the following issues related to City of Tampa-owned stormwater ponds and other green space:

  1. Creative design and equity-centered solutions for addressing stormwater management and retention while also adding value and appeal through more functional uses to green space in Tampa
  2. Successful frameworks for governance, operations, and management of city-owned stormwater areas centered around equitable outcomes

Further, the panel was tasked with thinking creatively to potentially provide inspirational examples from several cities in the US that have already invested heavily in robust stormwater ponds and seen the tangible and intangible benefits green infrastructure can bring to both ROI and quality of life. The question for Tampa becomes how to scale these stellar examples into neighborhood-scale solutions.

Key Recommendations:

During their deliberations, the panelists expanded the vTAP scope beyond the initial focus on the stormwater retention areas identified, looking more broadly at equitable community engagement and governance processes for executing on big picture visions for resilience. High-level recommendations include:

  1. Develop and coalesce around a shared vision and ‘big idea’ that connects green space and stormwater infrastructure across the whole city
  2. Design and organize for multi-benefit solutions: flood protection, economic development, public gathering spaces, green infrastructure, restored ecological functions and trail connections
  3. Create and internalize a new holistic and scalable approach to ranking and prioritizing projects based on multi-benefit analysis, through the Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow / Resilient Tampa lens, and connected to the "big idea"
  4. Build and institutionalize a scalable citywide community engagement plan

This vTAP is part of an advisory services, technical assistance, and peer learning program called the Resilient Land Use Cohort (RLUC) that encourages enhanced resilience to climate change and related environmental and social vulnerabilities.

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