What Is Green Infrastructure and Why Does it Matter?

From traditional stormwater management to storm surge abatement and conserving drinking water and watersheds, green infrastructure improves our cities, explains Adrian Benepe of the Trust for Public Land.

According to Adrian Benepe, the term green infrastructure (GI) occupies an interdisciplinary threshold even though its textbook definition relates simply to stormwater management.

He chronicles the history of GI, beginning with Olmsted's design for Back Bay Fens in Boston, and how, in recent years, NYC under Mayor Bloomberg and Philadelphia under Mayor Nutter have implemented GI to update, improve and expand urban parkland and abate water pollution in their cities.

With "Greenstreet" initiatives that bring together engineers, landscape designers, nonprofits and local government and collaborations between their departments of environment and education, both cities have redefined the look and function of urban surfaces and the runoff systems beneath them, capturing and redirecting thousands of gallons of runoff.

Benepe also discusses how other major U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. have tackled stormwater management with the protection of their rivers in mind.

Full Story: Green infrastructure as parks: how need, design, and technology can make cities better

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