Washington University in St. Louis’ goal is to foster human and environmental health through low impact, resilient landscapes that provide an array of ecosystem services.
In the last five years, dozens of sustainable landscape projects have been completed at the university. The Danforth Campus, which has long been known for its beautiful park-like landscapes and iconic tree allees, is integrating native and adaptive plantings throughout, significantly expanding biodiversity and creating green infrastructure to naturally manage stormwater.
Sections of turf grass have been replaced with native and adaptive planting beds that require little or no irrigation and reduce the need for mowing. Rain gardens and bioswales have been installed in many drainage zones to slow and filter stormwater. Pervious pavers create solid walking and bike parking surfaces while allowing water to percolate into the ground instead of draining to over-burdened sewers.
The university is now home to four large green roofs: the School of Medicine’s Hope Plaza, the South 40 House back lawn, the McMillan Hall addition and the Lofts off-campus student housing.
The Danforth Campus developed a Tree Framework Plan in 2013 that guides the university’s goal to double the campus tree canopy and expansion of tree species diversity over the next 20 years. Major progress is well under way with nearly 1,000 trees planted at the university since 2008. Students and staff have the opportunity to participate through annual planting days. As a result of these efforts and more, the Danforth Campus has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation each year since 2010.
Canopy 2014 – 16%
Canopy 2035 – 35%
Both the Danforth and School of Medicine campuses have partnered with greenway builder Great Rivers Greenway to plan regional bicycle and pedestrian paths through our campuses. The Centennial Greenway on the Danforth Campus is complete. The Chouteau Greenway on the Medical Campus is in the planning stage.