In November 2008 Seattle voters approved a $145 million Parks Levy funding improvements and creations throughout the city! Check out the full Parks Levy Guide for more details.
We are currently working on a Green Infrastructure Plan for Southeast Seattle. To learn more click here.
But what is Green Infrastructure Anyway?
The term “green infrastructure” applies across a wide range of landscape scales and settings. The idea originated in the strategic conservation planning field, pioneered by leaders at the Conservation Fund and The US Forest Service. Their emphasis was primarily on green INFRASTRUCTURE, as in our big green—forests, wetlands, greenbelts, etc.—should be understood as infrastructure since it supports essential ecosystem functions on which humanity and all life depends. At this scale, green infrastructure thinking complements the smart growth movement by identifying the most critical lands to preserve and suggesting appropriate locations for development.
Today, the term is increasingly applied as well at the site scale, most often in relation to greener stormwater facilities such as rain gardens and bioswales. Also known as LID or natural drainage or water-sensitive design, this approach is clearly the direction that thoughtful policy and practice related to stormwater is headed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes green infrastructure as “an approach to wet weather management that is cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.” For example, Seattle Public Utilities, in this vein, has created a ‘green infrastructure division,’ and will include ‘green infrastructure technologies’ in the upcoming stormwater code. This applied design or engineering perspective seems to be emphasizing ‘GREEN infrastructure,’ as in our infrastructure can be done in a green way. In this sense green infrastructure is a logical partner to the green building movement, providing a more sustainable way to deal with urban infrastructural needs.
Fundamentally, green infrastructure at all scales is simply a framework for recognizing the valuable services that nature provides the human environment. Large protected and connected natural habitats are the foundation for a green infrastructure network. Parks, trails, greenways, and other open spaces link communities to this regional landscape matrix. Every individual site, street, or building can contribute to weaving the network into our daily lives. Holistically conceived, green infrastructure can be a regenerative solution to urban challenges associated with stormwater and waste management, mobility and public health, local food and energy security, and even protection from natural and man-made hazards.
Please visit www.greeninfrastructurewiki.com to learn more about green infrastructure and participate in the dialog about its evolving meaning and diverse applications.