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RESEARCH ARTICLE: Assessing the Social and Economic Barriers to Permeable Surface Utilization for Residential Driveways in Kitchener, Canada

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2014

Stephanie A. Cote
Solid Waste Programs Assistant, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
S.E. Wolfe*
Assistant Professor, Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada.
Address correspondence to: S.E. Wolfe, Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1 Canada; (phone) 519-888-4567 ext. 38690; (fax) 519-746-0292; (e-mail)
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Urban stormwater runoff rates are expected to intensify with climate change. Permeable surfaces, a low-impact development (LID) stormwater management technology, can be used to mitigate the impacts of urban stormwater runoff. Permeable surfaces have demonstrable benefits for use in northern climates, but widespread use requires greater recognition of this potential. This article reports on the multiple barriers associated with the installation of a permeable surface in single-family residences, along with the characteristics and incentives associated with early adopters. Results from standardized, self-administered mail-back questionnaires distributed within a Kitchener, Canada, community identified awareness, cost, and technological acceptance as permeable surface adoption barriers. Other results indicate that Kitchener residents possess the necessary characteristics to support permeable surface adoption once technical and economic barriers are resolved. This article contributes insights on barriers to LID urban stormwater management practices to both the academic and applied literatures.

Environmental Practice 16: 6–18 (2014)

© National Association of Environmental Professionals 2014 

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