Five key environmentally friendly practices for sustainable urban design

September 1, 2023

SeamonWhiteside (SW+), a full-service site design throughout the Carolinas, celebrates Environmental Awareness Month in September by highlighting the key practices for environmentally friendly urban design. From sites in Charleston and Greenville, SC, to Charlotte, NC, the firm uses civil engineering and landscape architecture to push innovation, employ best practices, and contribute to a sustainable environment.

“We have the unique opportunity to pull on each of our internal departments to approach projects from a holistic perspective,” says Gary Collins, Vice President at SeamonWhiteside. “As urbanization continues to grow, we incorporate eco-friendly solutions into urban design for not only the environment, but livability and longevity of communities.”

With their expertise, SW+ is committed to promoting sustainable living in projects they undertake. By incorporating these five key practices, the firm reduces carbon footprints and fosters sustainability and a cleaner future. Examples of key elements that contribute to a sustainable project include:

Biofiltration uses plants to treat and manage urban stormwater runoff by removing pollutants, regulating temperature, and reducing urban heat island effects. This is a common practice by SW+ can be found at recent projects including the rain gardens at Morrison Yard Apartments and Offices in Charleston, SC, as well as bioswales at Wando Mount Pleasant Library in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Pollinator Gardens
Pollinator Gardens promote biodiversity, pollination, and help counteract the effects of climate change. By incorporating pollinator gardens into urban design projects, SW+ not only enhances green spaces, but also provides a natural habitat for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, who play a crucial role in food production. An example of a pollinator garden by SW+ can be found at the Greenville Federal Courthouse in Greenville, SC.

The Silva Cell
The Silva Cell is a modular suspended pavement system that uses soil volumes to support large tree growth and provide powerful on-site stormwater management. It provides a new method of managing trees in urban spaces, allowing the roots to grow deeper, and encouraging the growth of a robust and healthy tree canopy. By doing this, SW+ encourages the longevity and health of the tree population in urban spaces while providing critical carbon storage and pollution reduction benefits. An example of silva cell usage can be found at Jackson Way or “District 356”, a Greenville, SC entertainment district designed by SW+.

Bicycle-Only Apartments
Found in major cities and urbanized towns, bicycle-only apartments help minimize urban traffic and reduce CO2 emissions. Residents who live in bicycle-only apartments often enjoy greater mobility, improved health, and save on transportation costs. This creative practice can be found at Cykel Apartments. SW+ is currently executing civil engineering and landscape architecture services on the apartment community in Charlotte, NC.

Cisterns have become an increasingly popular sustainable component of urban design due to their ability to collect, store, and reuse rainwater. This approach is not only cost-effective, but it also helps reduce the burden on traditional water sources. By reducing demand for potable water, cisterns can help lower the overall consumption of resources, reduce the amount of water entering the wastewater system, and reduce the energy needed for water treatment. Cisterns can be found at SW+’s Madison Station & Meeting Street Lofts projects in Charleston, SC.

To learn more about SeamonWhiteside and the environmentally-friendly practices, visit their website:



SeamonWhiteside (SW+) is a full-service site design firm providing master planning, civil
engineering, landscape architecture, urban design services, and permit coordination to public and private clients throughout the Carolinas. SW+ elevates the site design experience through a full commitment to people, clients, plans, and communities. Their passion, collaboration, quality, and care results in innovative spaces that enrich lives and leave a lasting legacy for future generations. Headquartered in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, SeamonWhiteside also has offices in Summerville, Greenville, Spartanburg and Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information on SW+, visit