What is Green Infrastructure?
The Landscape Institute defines Green Infrastructure (GI) as:
"the network of natural and semi-natural features, green spaces, rivers and lakes that intersperse and connect villages, towns and cities. It is a natural, service-providing infrastructure that is often more cost-effective, more resilient and more capable of meeting social, environmental and economic objectives than 'grey' infrastructure."
GI is an approach to planning, from regional to site scales, which recognises and makes best use of natural resources.
It is related to concepts such as Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital Accounting (which recognise and quantify the multiple benefits provided by natural resources).
Why use Green Infrastructure?
Green Infrastructure is increasingly becoming a standard requirement, in statutory Local Plans, which applies to all development projects.
It requires development teams to think of landscape not only in aesthetic terms but also as a vital component of living landscapes and liveable cities.
This is realised through awareness and utilisation of techniques such as sustainable drainage, and the value of existing ecological corridors and habitats on a site. It also draws upon Urban Forestry principles, as healthy and growing urban tree populations are vital in dealing with climate change effects. The result will be a richer and more beautiful environment which serves ours and nature's needs.
We strongly believe in maximising the sustainability benefits - which are present in all forms of development and change - for our clients and the wider community.
Green infrastructure is implicit in our holistic approach as landscape architects, and is supported by our professional body, the Landscape Institute, which has published guidance on the subject. We provide a pragmatic professional service which draws together the multiple benefits of GI into a cohesive approach to site design. To supplement our own skills, we are also able to draw upon experts in the fields of Green Infrastructure and Urban Forestry.
We are very grateful that you were able to give your time to contribute to what was a particularly successful and well-received ‘Away Day’. I found your presentation on the way multi-purpose green infrastructure can be realised, and your ideas about SUDS, particularly thought-provoking, and I know from the feedback I have received since that many others enjoyed it too.