Site Assessment & Design

Photo: Bindersbee (public domain)

Whether or not a design team has a say in siting a project, carefully assessing the site should be on every project’s to-do list. A site assessment early in design can reduce costs, allay potential risks, support the health and well-being of occupants and native habitat, and promote other unique site features.
And site design goes hand in hand with building design, as the building interacts with the site when it comes to daylight, rainwater management, views and biophilia, and other building features.

Site Assessment & Design

Deep Dives

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  • Native Landscaping for Biodiversity

    Feature Article

     Removal of invasive plants and support of native plantings are critically important for maintaining healthy ecosystems.

  • Work Globally, Design Locally

    Feature Article

    In today’s global economy, American architects work on six continents—but that doesn’t mean they should all have identical glass towers.

  • Pest Prevention: Steps Designers Can Take

    Feature Article

    Integrated pest management (IPM) design strategies can reduce structural damage and unsanitary conditions, and improve our community’s health. 

  • Are Cool Roofs Green? The Answer’s Not Black and White

    Feature Article

    Roofing choices are complicated by heating tradeoffs, climate effects, and condensation, but proponents say reflective roofs still make sense in most climates.

Quick Takes

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  • How Environmental Site Assessments Work


    Existing buildings and previously developed sites are great, but they often need environmental cleanup. An ESA is the first step.

  • Putting a “LID” on Harmful Stormwater Runoff


    Low-impact development (LID) minimizes pavement and maximizes rainwater infiltration, filtering out pollution and preventing erosion.

  • Sharing the Skyline with Birds


    Buildings are major killers of birds, but thoughtful design can help.

  • Combined Sewer Overflow


    Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) occur in municipalities with older wastewater systems that carry both sanitary wastewater and stormwater; eliminating CSOs involves investment in wastewater infrastructure and reducing stormwater flows.

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