8/27/12

Green infrastructure helping cities manage more than water

Aging pipes and pollution runoff are big concerns in any city, and the cost to repair or replace old systems is very high. Often it means downtime for entire streets and systems, and a very big price tag to boot. 

But cities worldwide are adopting green infrastructure elements to help manage numerous factors, from excessive burden on old systems to pollution management and more. 

“Gray infrastructure is the system of pipes and ditches that channel storm water. Green infrastructure is the harnessing of the natural processes of trees and other vegetation — so-called ecosystem services — to carry out the functions of the built systems. Green infrastructure often intercepts the water before it can run into streets and become polluted and stores the water for gradual release through percolation or evapotranspiration. Trees also clean dirty water through natural filtering functions.

Advocates say green infrastructure isn’t just about being green — it makes financial sense, as well. Its cost-effectiveness depends on how benefits are assigned and valued, and over how long a time scale, but green has been shown to be cheaper than gray.”
The article (linked above) features much more information about green infrastructure examples, from Seattle to Sweden and many points in between.

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