Infrastructure is a large part of any urbanised land.
Using green infrastructure means replacing or supplementing traditional built infrastructure with natural and semi-natural systems.
These natural systems are often able to:
- perform more effectively and efficiently than traditional 'hard' infrastructure solutions
- provide opportunities to:
- improve degraded natural environments
- improve local amenity
- enhance long-term environmental resilience.
Green infrastructure has many benefits in urban environments.
Restored wetlands and roadside raingardens can be used to purify water, as well as minimise floods and erosion.
Increased planting in urban environments can:
- reduce the urban heat island effect
- deliver enhanced air quality
- enhance people's mental and physical wellbeing.
As well as these benefits, the overall cost of green infrastructure can also be a fraction of constructed infrastructure solutions, due to lower ongoing maintenance costs.
These approaches help us to minimise the impacts of climate change by improving our resilience and allowing infrastructure to adapt to change.
How this can be done
To realise the opportunities that green infrastructure can provide, we can:
- ensure our decision-making gives sufficient consideration and weight to the value of the natural environment and its role in delivering outcomes
- identify green infrastructure opportunities at the early stages of any development, ensuring existing natural systems are enhanced rather than replaced, and maximising the integration of other functions, such as public amenity and active transport opportunities
- engage with local communities to provide the strong sense of collective ownership that supports long-term usefulness.