Green Infrastructure is one of those new terms that is compelling as a concept, but difficult to pin down regarding it's exact application in the landscape. Simply, there is a shift from 'gray' infrastructure (pipes, pavement, and mechanical systems) to softer solutions consisting of multi-functional landscapes including a number of stormwater bmps, or LID techniques. A number of recent resources have added to the validity and understanding of green infrastructure.
From Greener Buildings, from the EPA program promoting green infrastructure, including a new report 'Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure', "...lists the numerous green infrastructure options available and the benefits of putting them in place. The pluses to utilizing green roofs, vegetated medians and other other approaches include cutting down stormwater runoff, reducing sewer overflows, creating urban habitats and improving air quality."
:: image via US EPA
A Green Infrastructure program by American Forests features a project analyzing urban form via satellite imagery, specifically A planimetric map of a Washington DC neighborhood shows a neighborhood’s gray infrastructure including buildings and roads (left). Classified high-resolution satellite imagery adds a green infrastructure data layer (trees and other vegetation) with its associated environmental benefits (right).
:: image via American Forests
Also, Brice Maryman from Seattle (one of the minds behind Seattle Open Space 2100) clued me into the Green Infrastructure Wiki, outlining an approach for gleaning (and more importantly organizing in a coherent pattern, green infrastructure concepts and case studies). The information is setup in: "...a framework made up of 5 interconnected systems: habitat, community, water, mobility, and energy & materials. Each system is made up of green infrastructure elements. These elements are not discrete from one another in the precise way of chemical elements. Some are irreducibly multi-functional and defy clean categorization. Others have specific purposes."
Information is organized into system groups and given a designation, similar to chemical elements. For instance:
SYSTEM 3: WATER includes:
3RG RainGarden, 3Bs Bioswale, 3SP StormwaterPlanter, 3Wp Wetpond, 3Dp Drypond, 3CW ConstructedWetland, 3GR Green Roof, 3Ci Cistern, 3FS Filter Strip, 3PP PorousPavement, 3GA GreenAlley.
The idea of a periodic table of concepts is interesting, much like a pattern language or other form for being able to both define and show relationships between items and related concepts. These provide basic information such as terminology, performance criteria, diagrams, as well as links to notable projects.
:: image via Green Infrastructure Wiki
Green Infrastructure Supports Sustainability:
Green Infrastructure Better Uses Limited Resources:
Governments not only spend less to install and maintain most green infrastructure, green infrastructure provides a host of ancillary benefits, such as increased recreation and open space, community building opportunities and better air and water quality."