This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Immersive Constructed Wetlands




Benton, Rodney

Type of Degree



Landscape Architecture


Urban stormwater runoff has historically been managed through engineered systems designed to move stormwater out of the urban environment and into the outlying stream and river systems. This had a negative impact on natural systems and local water quality. Recently, through low impact development and best management practice policies, green stormwater infrastructure solutions are making inroads into repairing and remediating the negative effects of these historical practices. One of the most efficient best management practices is the use of constructed stormwater wetlands. However, these spaces are generally designed with limited accessibility to the wetland component. Natural wetlands provide a very immersive aesthetic experience, with its own specific sights and sounds. My thesis proposes a way to bring this same experience to urban environments by asking, “How can constructed stormwater wetlands be designed in a more immersive way to emphasize the characteristics of natural wetlands?” My research approach uses situational analysis, overlay mapping, digital site modeling, and design iteration. The test area is located in Columbus, Georgia. Situational analysis was used to determine hydrologic characteristics, social connections, and urban infrastructure. These were mapped, overlaid, and analyzed for potential areas of intensity and interaction between the systems. Design iterations were created, reviewed, and edited to test the spatiality of potential designs throughout the research process. The final design shows the ability to take stormwater management infrastructure and allow for immersion through the integration of these two systems. Further, by eliminating the need to choose between the two systems, opportunities for unique design solutions that take advantage of the positive features from both systems can arise. This research is not intended to provide a “one-size-fits-all” solution to the creation of immersive constructed wetland landscapes. It is intended to provide a precedent for further research opportunities. Rather than isolating constructed wetlands from their counterparts, we should strive to seek solutions that take advantage of the qualities of the natural system and combine them to create something new and unique.