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There are numerous methods to address the negative impacts (e.g. heat island effect, flooding, pollutant runoff, etc) of a growing urban expanse. Development of bio-retention basins, improved urban forestry, and phytoremediation (i.e. the use of plants to detoxify a site) are just a few potential methods. Integrating these practices can serve as an efficient, low cost, and aesthetically enhanced approach to creating more enjoyable and sustainable communities.
Runoff from parking lots can be captured and used as passive irrigation for drought tolerant trees, shrubs, and grasses. Additional water stored in basins is given the opportunity to infiltrate soils and recharge groundwater.
As trees are supplemented with passive irrigation from curb cuts, cooling shade growth above heat retaining materials such as asphalt and concrete is increased.
Research has shown that some plants (e.g. Honey locust–Gleditsia triacanthos and Big bluestem —Andropogon gerardii) are capable of detoxifying sites of pollutants such as hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and nutrients.