Nature is Green Infrastructure
Nature and infrastructure are not independent of each other; on the contrary, nature is infrastructure. From protecting communities from flooding and excessive heat to improving air and water quality, nature is not only a critically important element of infrastructure but also a vital part of human and environmental health. When nature is used as an infrastructural system, it’s referred to as green infrastructure.
Green infrastructure can be a highlight of regional and metropolitan planning, helping ensure communities have a safe, livable environment with clean air and water that lasts for generations. Although green infrastructure is often associated with green storm water management systems, it can be used to address a wide range of systems at a variety of scales.
Green systems can be used for wildlife, which are increasingly threatened by human encroachment and climate change. For example, corridors or greenways allow animals to move through human communities; these have the added benefit of being a beautiful space that people want to live near.
Park systems, urban forests, and constructed wetlands also serve as green infrastructure. Constructed wetlands help communities manage water locally and provide habitats for wildlife.
Moreover, green infrastructure practices at the site-scale are used by smart communities for transportation systems (such as green streets) and green roofs, weaving nature into the built environment.
Research shows us that green infrastructure works. Compared to grey infrastructure, green systems are more cost-effective and far more beneficial to people and the environment.