Green infrastructure and sustainability are key driver for growth of communities and countries.

Infrastructure is a familiar term, traditionally denoting networks and systems that provide us with essential services such as water, power, and transport.

Green infrastructure is more than just delivering each of these services in greener ways.

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It should stress multifunctionality, using urban networks of natural and semi-natural features, such as green spaces, rivers, street trees and parks, to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services.

More emotive language describes green infrastructure as our “natural life support system” that enables us to work with the grain of nature.

Whether we use technocratic or populist language, there is considerable support for the potential of green infrastructure to deliver a wide range of benefits to society, environment, and economy.

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Enhance people’s health and wellbeing is just one of these benefits. A correct definition of green infrastructure should be the one that includes networks and multifunctionality and implies landscape and infrastructure.

The most correct definition should be also the most comprehensive and define green infrastructure as a strategically planned network of high quality natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features; which is designed and delivered a wide range of ecosystem services and protect biodiversity in both rural and urban settings.

Our cities face many challenges, yet they often approach these as separate issues.

The idea of green infrastructure evolved during the ‘90s in response to a growing recognition that those planning and designing complex urban areas often ignored the interactions between issues such as

public health,

flood management,

housing delivery,

biodiversity,

climate change adaptation and so on.

This ‘silo’ approach prevented the adoption of more dynamic, integrated, and forward-thinking solutions.


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Green infrastructure offers an alternative to this narrow-minded approach – a way of tackling enormous challenges head on and delivering multiple secondary benefits at the same time.

This integrated approach uses the ability of nature to provide us with the ecological services that we need and helps unlock the potential of our towns and cities to support healthier lives.

Imagine a city which has cleaned up its rivers and streams, provides footpaths and cycleways along them, links these with larger open spaces such as parks and squares, invests in tree planting in large and small public spaces and streets.

A city that develops community gardens has an educational programme that encourages hard to reach groups to be more active, and it commits to implement sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).

That city’s urban heat island effect and flood risk will reduce; there will be increases in air and water quality, active travel, the number of people walking, running and cycling for fun, and growing their own food.

There will also be more opportunities for formal and informal education focused on enhanced wildlife.

All these changes will have positive impacts on people’s health and wellbeing.


Green Infrastructure Vs Grey Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure typologiesGrey Infrastructure typologies
Street treesTransport Infrastructure:
Private gardensMotorways
Derelict landPublic transport networks
Horticultural and botanic gardens Roads
Cemeteries, churchyards and burial groundsCar Parks
Allotments, community gardens and urban farmsRailways
Agricultural landPorts/Freight terminals
MoorlandAirports
Coastal habitatCommercial Infrastructure:
Grassland and heathlandFactories & industrial
WaterbodiesOffices
Watercourses & waterwaysRetail
WoodlandMines and quarries
School playing fieldsUtilities & distribution of services:
Outdoor sports facilitiesSewers
General amenity spaceCables (underground & overhead).
Parks and public gardensWater and gas pipelines
Waste management & landfill
Sewage treatment
Energy generation
Social infrastructure:
Schools, Universities & Colleges
Hospitals, Clinics & healthcare facilities
Gymnasia, Swimming and sports buildings
Housing
Coastal defences & flood control
Army and Government establishments

Do you agree?

4 comments on “Green infrastructure and sustainability are key driver for growth of communities and countries.
  1. Angus Jenkins says:

    Great post!

  2. Cleiiv says:

    Useful information

    1. Civil Bites says:

      Thanks, looking forward to hosting you soon.

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