The multifaceted nature of green infrastructure means that it can meet multiple municipal goals in cost-effective ways. For example, open green spaces can serve both recreational and stormwater management purposes. Effectively harnessing the power of green infrastructure systems requires appropriate planning and coordination. A strategic approach must therefore be proactive and supported by good policy articulated in local ordinances and regulations. Public awareness, public/private/nonprofit partnerships, and community buy-in are other key components to success.
- Passive & Active Recreational Spaces
- Habitat and Environmental Resources
- Working Landscapes
- Historic and Cultural Resources.
- Lack of funding
- Rising Land Values
- Encroachment of Development
- Conflicts with Private Property Issues
- Access and Liability
- Integrate green infrastructure elements with municipal plans
- Prioritize environmentally sensitive land and natural resources for green infrastructure functions
- Integrate green infrastructure elements within the built environment
- Ensure accessibility for all
Sustainable Strategies discusses:
- Creation of a green infrastructure inventory
- Development of a green infrastructure network through integrated policy documents, local ordinances, and regulations
- Public/private partnerships and programs
- Conducting public education and awareness programs
Governments are under increasing pressure to support growing populations in ways that are fiscally accountable, environmentally responsible, and socially enriching. Green infrastructure offers a way to balance all three needs.
- Green infrastructure has emerged as a best practice for stormwater management. A strong green infrastructure system can significantly reduce the capital and maintenance costs associated with the construction of extensive underground stormwater pipes and treatment facilities.
- Green infrastructure also provides both aesthetic and recreational value, both of which are increasingly valued as our communities experience increasing density and our residents seek raise their quality of life experiences.
- Agricultural and other working landscapes can play a significant role in green infrastructure if they are managed to reduce erosion, chemical pollutants, and other harmful impacts.
- Historic and cultural resources include elements of local ecosystems to which social value may have been attached over time. For example, many communities have designated land and even trees as local historic landmarks that are subject to preservation. As such, they serve both social and environmental purposes.
- Increased property tax revenue — Well-managed green spaces have been shown to boost values of nearby properties. Homebuyers have been shown willing to pay as much as 33 percent more for land adjacent to protected green space.
- Less-required government services — Green spaces (farms, woodlands, etc) generally require much less public service than do developed land. It is estimated it local governments spend about 36 cents to provide services for every dollar of tax revenue generated by green spaces. By contrast, up to $1.26 is required in public services for every dollar generated by residential property tax revenue.
- Strengthen local economic development — Businesses look to locate and expand in localities that have access to outdoor and recreation spaces, both to locate potential customers and to provide amenities for employees. Strong local farms and community gardens can foster agri-tourism and agr-business, reduce the carbon footprint associated with long “food miles,” and help to create green-collar jobs.
- Diversified funding sources for capital projects — By proper planning, governments can access multiple funding sources to finance green infrastructure installations that meet multiple goals. For example, a community may elect to purchase and develop land that meets their needs for recreational park space as well as retention for area stormwater.
- Promotes healthy communities — Studies show that contact with nature fosters positive mental health. Access to trails, green space, public gardens, and parks encourages activity and exercise. Communities without access to fresh produce and healthy meal options consume more processed foods, leading to higher rates of obesity among children and adults.
- Mitigates harmed effects of land development — Green infrastructure is a remedy to harmful effects of development, including increased carbon production, impervious surfaces, and heat island effects.
General (Gray) infrastructure is commonly defined as the collection of physical facilities and installations that are required for the functioning of a community. These include, but are not limited to, roads, bridges, water distribution and treatment systems, electricity grids and power plants, public buildings, transportation networks, and communication systems. In many instances, general infrastructure is publicly financed, owned, or operated by government entities.
- Landscaped / cultivated green spaces including farmlands, cultural resources, green roofs, playfields, parks and recreational spaces, and soft and hard surface trails; and
- Natural areas that provide wildlife habitat, riparian buffers, and water recharge areas.