Cottages on Greene

LID Type: Bioretention, Bioswale, Permeable Pavement

Use: Residential

Installer: Joseph Palombo, Contemporary Builders (General Contractor) and William Anthony Excavating (Porous Asphalt)

Designer/Developer: Donald Powers (Architect) and Morris Beacon Design (Civil Engineer)

Install Date: Fall 2010

Address: 48 Greene Street

Town: East Greenwich

Zip Code: 02818

County: Kent


Jonathan Ford, PE

Principal, Morris Beacon Design


Nestled in the historic Hill and Harbor district one block from downtown Main Street in East Greenwich, Cottages on Greene is a one-of-a-kind “cottage community” featuring 15 units of mixed-income condominiums on a 39,000 square foot lot. Five of the fifteen residences are deed-restricted affordable units. The remaining ten are market-rate units, with a price point at the low end of what is considered “market-rate” in the neighboring community. The pocket neighborhood features cozy homes clustered around vegetable gardens and a common green, with low impact stormwater management systems strategically and aesthetically woven into the site’s landscape and pedestrian pathway network.

Recognizing that conventional stormwater management practices (such as detention or retention ponds) would compromise the integrity of the community development, the design team decided to use infrastructure as an amenity, working to develop a stormwater system that would not only infiltrate runoff, but also enhance the overall design. Due to the nature of the site’s topography and high water table, Morris Beacon Design (civil engineer) had to overcome unique challenges. The result was an integrated system of bioretention and bioswales, as well as porous asphalt parking with subsurface stormwater storage and recharge, which collectively exceeded the expectations of technical review boards while becoming a seamless component of the cottage court’s landscape.

Integration of stormwater function with pedestrian circulation and open space was a key to Morris Beacon’s design approach. Bioretention and bioswales cascade throughout the site, infiltrating stormwater runoff while interweaving with pedestrian pathways. Additionally, these natural systems serve as an attractive buffer and transition between the common green, vegetable gardens, and semi-private front porches. The tight site layout also benefited from customized porous asphalt for the parking spaces, allowing infiltration through a 24” crushed stone reservoir below the surface for stormwater storage, and ultimately groundwater recharge.

Cottages on Greene has become a model of best practices in sustainable building, and has gained national attention for its unique and innovative architecture, density, and layout, including a 2011 Congress for New Urbanism Charter Award Honorable Mention.

Cottages on Greene
Cottages on Greene landscaping
Cottages on Greene Home
Cottages on Greene complex

Address: 48 Greene Street, East Greenwich, 02818, Kent