German American Symposium on Green Infrastructure: Our Cities, Our Climate

10/16/2019 @ 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
UF Innovative | The Hub
747 SW 2nd Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601
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Registration Info

Free to attend. Registration required. Limited spaces available.

Sustainable & Low Impact Urban Development

The demand for effective and sustainable watershed management solutions to deal with increasing amounts of run-off and rainfall in urban areas is on the rise. Florida is especially afflicted by this problem due to its geographic location and exposure to strong precipitation and tropical storms. In addition, urban areas along the coastline face the threat of rising seawater levels. These destructive weather patterns threaten Florida’s communal water and wastewater infrastructure. Therefore, it is imperative that cities develop response measures to handle increasing water volumes in a resourceful and environmentally compatible way while providing citizens with adequate protection from the adverse effects of climate change.

Whereas proposed solutions to this problem have hitherto focused primarily on the operative efficiency and resilience of the built and underground water infrastructure – also referred to as “gray” or “brown” infrastructure – there is a growing need to shift the attention toward “green” infrastructure, which is often regarded as a building block of the urban planning principle of low impact development (LID). LID describes applications and systems that mimic and make use of natural processes and biotopes to manage urban run-off in an environmentally resourceful and sustainable manner. Aside from preserving natural habitats and local biodiversity, this spatial and landscape planning method ensures a better air and water quality. Additionally, green infrastructure offers a more cost-efficient and low-maintenance alternative to conventional gray infrastructure.

Recognizing the importance of the problem described above, the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern US is organizing a bilateral symposium on Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development (LID) together with University of Florida Green Building Learning Collaborative and with the support of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Miami. The symposium targets local researchers as well as industry representatives, the media, and civil society and will feature two expert guest speakers from renowned German research institutions.



  • Facilitate a discussion on approaches to low impact development (LID) and watershed management in Germany and the United States
  • Promote a lasting bilateral exchange of best practices in sustainable urban planning and environmental stewardship between German and US counterparts

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Synergize the approaches and findings of German and US planners and researchers; create a forum for the exchange of best practices
  • Raise awareness for the importance and practicability of green infrastructure and LID among local politicians, industry stakeholders, and civil society
  • Support coalition-building between the private and public sectors, i.e. reconcile economic and ecological interests
  • Identify key challenges and possible solutions in equipping a city’s infrastructure to withstand and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change
  • Understand the range of perspectives and identify where viewpoints align or diverge, and where uncertainty still exists
  • Enable reciprocal visits and further exchange between Germany and the United States through potential future follow-up projects
  • Promote local community-oriented initiatives

Event Agenda


Karsten Rusche: “Green Infrastructure Planning in Europe: Is it good to be green?”
Ralf Kott: “Principles of RainInfraStructureAdaptation (RISA) and their Implementation in Hamburg/Germany”

In partnership with
College of Design, Construction and Planning University of Florida
UF Green Building Learning Collaborative
Supported By
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Miami
Wunderbar together