Incorporating Green Infrastructure in Our Cities

Author: Jan Cassin

This article explores some of the intersections and benefits of conserving infrastructure such as buildings, and green spaces such as national parks. As Cassin explains, the two are interconnected and conservation of both can mutually benefit all!

Reconstructed Temple of Virtue, NY. (Image Source: http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.org)

Excerpts from Incorporating Green Infrastructure in Our Cities:

Green spaces not only help filter and clean water, they can also contribute to improving people’s health in a variety of ways. Numerous studies have shown that green spaces promote healthy physical activity, and urban trees are associated with better overall health, reduced incidence of diseases such as diabetes and asthma, as well as lower levels of obesity and high blood pressure. In cities, neighborhoods with more green spaces have lower crime rates and a greater sense of community. Trees in cities can also protect against deadly heat waves that will become more common with climate change, and can reduce energy use in buildings, lowering emissions from a sector that is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Green infrastructure is an essential component of managing risks to people and property from extreme weather events – as climate impacts increase and more people live in cities, green infrastructure will only become more important.

Urban gardens provide benefits through reducing stormwater runoff and flooding in cities in much the same way as parks and green streets. They also can be critical elements for enhancing food security and improving health through better access to nutritious foods. Urban gardens can address the “food desert” issue in many cities where access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food in some neighborhoods is very limited.

And the green infrastructure of cities has always provided those intangible values of beauty, refuge, and tranquility that are so important in cities.

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