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What Is Green Infrastructure Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2200 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Over the coming century, climate change scenarios in urban regions will be managing extremes of precipitation and temperature, increased storm frequency and intensity, and sea-level rise. The problems with which urban areas are already be indicating that climate change impacts have begun to occur and are likely to worsen in the future. Often green approaches are combined with modifications to other traditional “hard” infrastructures such as expanding storm-sewers and streets or building storm-water storage tunnels. In recent thinking, portfolios of “green” infrastructure and technologies have been identified as ‘best practices’ at the local level when combined with traditional “grey” infrastructure to achieve greater urban sustainability and resilience. In addition, green infrastructure is now being recognized for its value as a means for adapting to the emerging and irreversible impacts of climate change.

What is Green Infrastructure?

The Definition

According to Neil (2006), Green Infrastructure includes the network of green spaces and other natural elements such as river sand lakes that are interspersed between and connect villages, towns and cities. Individually these elements are green infrastructure assets and the roles that these assets play are green infrastructure functions. When appropriately planned, designed and managed, these assets and functions have the potential to deliver a wide range of social, environmental and economic benefits. Green infrastructure approaches help to achieve sustainability and resilience goals over a range of outcomes in addition to climate adaptation. The climate adaptation benefits of green infrastructure are generally related to their ability to moderate the impacts of extreme precipitation or temperature.

The History of Green Infrastructures.

According to Karen Firehock (2010). Green infrastructure planning is not an entirely new concept and the principles that form the basis for the concept have arisen from multiple disciplines. The term itself was first coined in Florida in 1994 in a report to the governor on land conservation strategies and was intended to reflect the notion that natural systems are equally, if not more important, components of our “infrastructure.” Since it is generally accepted that we have to plan for grey infrastructure, the idea of also planning to conserve or restore our natural resources, or “green infrastructure,” helped people to recognize its importance to community planning.

As defined by Benedict and McMahon (2006). “Green infrastructure is a strategically planned and managed network of wilderness, parks, greenways, conservation easements, and working lands with conservation value that supports native species, maintains natural ecological processes, sustains air and water resources, and contributes to the health and quality of life for America’s communities and people”

The types of green infrastructures

According to Neil (2006), Green infrastructure approaches to land-use planning promote the widest range of functions which can be performed by the same asset, unlocking the greatest number of benefits. Such an approach enables us to demand more from the land in a sustainable way; by helping to identify when it can provide multiple benefits and to manage the many, often conflicting, pressures for housing, industry, transport, energy, agriculture, nature conservation, recreation and aesthetics. It also highlights where it is important to retain single or limited land use functions. There are has many types of green infrastructure including in local scales, cities scale and regional scale.

The types of green infrastructure in local, neighborhood, village such as :




pocket parks

private gardens

pond and streams

cemeteries and burial grounds

green roofs and walls,


institutional open spaces

small wood lands and etcetera.

In town, city and district scale such as :

business settings

city parks

forest parks


country parks

rivers and flood plains

recreational spaces

agricultural land


brownfield areas and many more.

In city-region, regional and national scale the types of green infrastructures is :

regional parks




roads and railway networks

national parks

The Benefits of Green Infrastructure.

According to Neil (2006) The benefits of incorporating green infrastructure into the planning, management and design.

The multifunctional nature of green infrastructure assets, underpinned by ecosystem services, means that they can deliver a diverse range of benefits which are mutually reinforcing and can be enhanced by the connectivity of these assets. It is important to fully appreciate the many benefits that GI can generate, including:

2.4.1 Climate change adaptation

Even modest increases in tree canopy cover can significantly reduce the urban heat island effect via evapotranspiration and shading, as well as improving air quality, which often suffers because of higher temperatures. Connectivity of GI via wildlife corridors is critical in ensuring that biodiversity is safeguarded in the face of a changing climate and green space can ameliorate surface water run-off to reduce the risk of flooding.

2.4.2 Water management

Green infrastructure is a good approach for managingflood risk. This can involve placing sustainable drainage systems (SUDs) in developments to attenuate surface water runoff and enhance biodiversity and recreation. Agricultural land and wetlands can be used to store flood water in areas where there is no risk to homes and commercial buildings. Green infrastructure can be used to manage coastal retreat as well as to restore wetlands, enhancing carbon sequestration whilst providing important wildlife habitat. At Ingrebourne Hill, water management has been controlled through drainage schemes and the on-site lake, designed to alleviate flooding of neighboring properties and roads.

2.4.3 Economic values

Quality green space can have a major positive impact on land and property markets, creating settings for investment and acting as a catalyst for wider regeneration. High quality, connected environments attract skilled and mobile workers which in turn encourage business investment, as is demonstrated at Crewe Business Park.

2.4.4 Biodiversity enhancement, corridors and linkages

The role of GI in providing wildlife habitat in both urban and rural areas is well established, but taking a landscape-scale approach to the planning, design and management of connected GI assets provides the framework within which species migration can more readily occur in response to environmental pressures such as climate change.

The Landscape Architecture profession

As retrieved from http://www.prospects.ac.uk/landscape_architect_job_description.htm (2010) Landscape architects create the landscape around us. They plan, design and manage open spaces including both natural and built environments. They work to provide innovative and aesthetically pleasing environments for people to enjoy, whilst ensuring that changes to the natural environment are appropriate, sensitive and sustainable.

The definition of Landscape Architect.

According to Arno Sighart Schmid (2000) Landscape Architects conduct research and advice on planning, design and stewardship of the outdoor environment and spaces, both within and beyond the built environment, and its conservation and sustainability of development. For the profession of landscape architect, a degree in landscape architecture is required.

Today, on the threshold of a new Millennium, humankind stands at a decisive point on its way into the future, with grave challenges and risks relating to our natural environment and its carrying capacity. Our profession of landscape architecture is called upon to contribute towards safeguarding the viability of the natural environment and towards developing and maintaining a humane built environment in cities, towns and villages.

The role of landscape architect

As defined by American Society of Landscape Architects Declaration on Environment and Development (1993). Landscape architecture is the profession which applies artistic and scientific principles to the research, planning, design and management of both natural and built environments. Practitioners of this profession apply creative and technical skills and scientific, cultural and political knowledge in the planned arrangement of natural and constructed elements on the land with a concern for the stewardship and conservation of natural, constructed and human resources. The resulting environments shall serve useful, aesthetic, safe and enjoyable purposes.

The roles of landscape architect is :

developing new or improved theories, policy and methods for landscape planning, design and management at local, regional, national and multinational levels;

developing policy, plans, and implementing and monitoring proposals as well as developing new or improved theories and methods for national parks and other conservation and recreation areas;

developing new or improved theories and methods to promote environmental awareness, and undertaking planning, design, restoration, management and maintenance of cultural and/or historic landscapes, parks, sites and gardens;

planning, design, management, maintenance and monitoring functional and aesthetic layouts of built environment in urban, suburban, and rural areas including private and public open spaces, parks, gardens, streetscapes, plazas, housing developments, burial grounds, memorials; tourist, commercial, industrial and educational complexes; sports grounds, zoos, botanic gardens, recreation areas and farms;

contributing to the planning, aesthetic and functional design, location, management and maintenance of infrastructure such as roads, dams, energy and major development projects;

undertaking landscape assessments including environmental and visual impact assessments with view to developing policy or undertaking projects;

identifying and developing appropriate solutions regarding the quality and use of the built environment in urban, suburban and rural areas and making designs, plans and working drawings, specifications of work, cost estimates and time schedules;

conducting research, preparing scientific papers and technical reports, developing policy, teaching, and advising on aspects regarding landscape architecture such as the application of geographic

The role landscape architect in green infrastructures.

According to Neil (2006), Landscape practitioners are engaged in every stage of the green infrastructure approach and are leading a revolution in the way in which green infrastructure is developed. This includes the planning of environmental resources, the design of new public realm, implementation of strategy and the management of delivered projects. Landscape practitioners have a pivotal role to play with other professionals in all stages of a green infrastructure process, which operates at all spatial scales. Landscape practitioners are trained in a broad range of disciplines with an ability to think holistically and see the bigger picture. This means that the profession understands the many processes at work which shape the land and appreciates the need to consider potential changes to which a particular location could be subjected over time. The result is a profession which is ideally placed to provide the vision and tenacity needed for the sustainable development of our green infrastructure assets.


The green infrastructure is crucial part of urban fabric that is highly perceived by residents contributing to their physical, cognitive and social well-being. Green infrastructure as spaces where they have contact with nature that fulfill nature needs and residents’ interaction needs. Diversity afforded the residents’ experiential contacts with the green infrastructure that offered stimulations with the outdoor environments to the residents. It allowed them frequent engagements in various activities, made them familiar and felt connected with the green infrastructure. Landscape architect take a main role to develop green infrastructure in any part of urban or sub-urban area. It is importance for physical, social interactions and effects of residents engaging with greens and open spaces. Cognitive experience of green infrastructure also evokes a sense of attachment to green spaces and towards a community as a whole. This is because parks and urban green spaces offer people positive emotional states and make available favorite places that are serene, peaceful and restful.


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