What is Green Infrastructure?

Full Cycle Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure is a term used to refer to a number of strategies that integrate ecological features and services into the built environment to provide a range of human benefits. Green infrastructure brings together planning, natural resource, ecological and sustainable development concepts to provide a systems approach to infrastructure planning and development. It is used as a strategy to address an array of environmental and development issues, including air quality, biodiversity and land conservation, climate adaptation, disaster mitigation, economic and community development, urban forestry, public health, and stormwater and water quality control. While any single green infrastructure feature is valuable, a key attribute of green infrastructure, is its integration into a larger system and connectivity with other features and spaces. For example, green infrastructure as a strategy for controlling stormwater runoff can also provide recreation space and improve the aesthetic quality of the area, thereby increasing property values.

Currently, there is not a universal definition of green infrastructure. Organizations define green infrastructure differently to reflect their own goals and values, but these definitions contain common elements of ecosystem services, connectivity, and multifunctionality. However, definitions typically divide into two broad categories: (1) a strategy for using natural features and processes to manage water; (2) an approach to landscape scale strategic conservation and development planning.