Green infrastructure

The interconnected set of natural and constructed ecological systems, green spaces and other landscape features that can provide functions and services including air and water purification, temperature management, floodwater management and coastal defense, often with co-benefits for human and ecological well-being. Green infrastructure includes planted and remnant native vegetation, soils, wetlands, parks, and green open spaces, as well as building and street-level design interventions that incorporate vegetation.


1. This definition is based on the IPCC (2022) definition but amplifies it with more DRI-specific examples.

2. "Blue infrastructure" may be considered together with “Green infrastructure” in the term "Blue-Green infrastructure”. See also "Blue infrastructure", "Nature-based solutions", and “Infrastructure”.


Modified from Culwick and Bobbins (2016) and IPCC (2022).




The role of green infrastructure in post disaster recovery

Green infrastructure is emerging as a promising alternative to traditional approaches for managing stormwater. Systems such as rain gardens, stormwater planters, and permeable surfaces use vegetation and organic materials to retain and filter water near its source, providing adaptation benefits for smaller and larger weather events at a watershed scale. The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation's implementation of green streets has successfully increased resilience during disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Furthermore, preservation of green infrastructure along the USA’s coastline, including reefs, dunes, marshes, and coastal vegetation, can protect 67 percent of the high-hazard areas where 1.3 million people reside, and maintain US$300 billion in residential property value. Nature-based approaches, such as preserving and restoring natural habitats, have proven to be an effective way to increase resilience against natural disasters. Green infrastructure offers a promising solution for communities to combat the impact of extreme weather events and to safeguard people and assets.


Source: Rouse, D. (2014). Green Infrastructure and Post-disaster Recovery. American Planning Association. Retrieved December 22, 2022.