How green infrastructure can easily be added to the urban planning toolkit

Green-Infrastructure-CEQ-ConferenceUrban planners are wary of green infrastructure, although they generally understand its benefits, as our recent Conversation article showed. But green infrastructure delivery can be achieved relatively simply through existing planning processes.

Green infrastructure refers to standalone and strategically networked environmental features designed for environmental, social and economic benefits. Examples include permeable surfaces, green walls, green roofs and street trees as reported by the Conversation.

Benefits of green infrastructure include reduced urban heat, lower building energy demand and improved storm-water management. There may be drawbacks, but these can often be mitigated through good design. Issues include maintenance costs, tree roots, bushfire hazard and power-line interference.

Urban planners are increasingly asked to create and deliver urban greening strategies. So how does green infrastructure delivery fit within the capabilities and remit of planning?

Existing planning processes, common throughout the world, can accommodate green infrastructure provision relatively easily.

Some of the many examples of successful demonstration are noted here. Many initiatives, ideas and practices are internationally transferable because of similarities in the constitution and function of planning systems.

So why aren’t we seeing more green infrastructure generally? Partly it is because planners are wary of new technologies and disruption to embedded practices. With this in mind, might the biggest challenge for planners be psychological rather than professional? To read more at the Conversation click here.

The 9th International Urban Design Conference will be held in Melbourne in November.  To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

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