Natural Infrastructure and Green Communities
Linking Landscapes and Communities
- Connectivity is the key.
- Context Matters.
- Green infrastructure should be grounded in sound science and land-use planning theory and practice
- Green infrastructure can and should function as the framework for conservation and development.
- Green infrastructure should be planned and protective before development.
- Green infrastructure is a critical public investment that should be funded up front.
- Green infrastructure affords benefits to nature and people.
- Green infrastructure respects the needs and desires of landowners and other stakeholders.
- Green infrastructure requires making connections to activities within and beyond the community.
- Green infrastructure requires long-term commitment.
(from Benedict, M.A. and E.T. McMahon, 2006 Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities. Island Press, Washington, D.C., pp37.)
Natural infrastructure can be defined in many ways. In its broadest application, natural infrastructure encompasses an "interconnected network of natural areas and other open spaces that conserves natural ecosystem values and functions, sustains clean air and water, and provides a wide array of benefits to people and wildlife".
Natural infrastructure is a strategic conservation tool that can be integrated into a comprehensive, Green Communities planning process. In fact, Natural Infrastructure planning is compatible with a 5-step planning approach as described below. Key to the success of a Natural Infrastructure Strategy is broad stakeholder involvement. As with any sustainable planning effort, getting knowledgeable and interested parties involved at the beginning will ensure a successful process.
Following the basic Green Communities framework, follow the links below for specific guidance on Natural Infrastructure Planning and Action.
Where Are We Now? Natural Infrastructure Assessment and Inventory
Where Are We Going? Natural Infrastructure Trends and Probable Scenarios
Where Do We Want To be? Natural Infrastructure Visioning
How Do We Get There? Natural Infrastructure Action Plan
Let's Go! Implementing/Monitoring the Natural Infrastructure Strategy