Complex and Useful, Green Is Infrastructure | The Nature of Cities

A review of Green Infrastructure: A Landscape Approach by David C. Rouse and Ignacio F. Bunster-Ossa. 2013. 157 pages. ISBN: 978-1-611900-62-0. Report Number 571. Planning Advisory Service. American Planning Association. Available here.

GreenInfrastructureCoverThis PAS Report, in line with the current principles of sustainability, discusses green infrastructure (GI) as the visible expression of natural and human ecosystem processes that work across scales and contexts to provide multiple benefits for people and their environments. Unlike other approaches that envision green infrastructure from the standpoint of social infrastructure (e.g., by building capacity in improved health, job opportunities, community cohesion, etc.), this report addresses it first within the matrix or context of hard infrastructure.

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via Complex and Useful, Green Is Infrastructure | The Nature of Cities.

Green Infrastructure

The Landscape Institute has an informative page and information on Green Infrastructure and its value in urban design, which not only informs related design professions, potential developers and the public at large but includes a useful suite of visual documentation for download.

Green Infrastructure (GI) is an approach to land use that emphasises multifunctional and connected green spaces and ecosystem services.
This two-minute video introduces GI and the local benefits it can bring.


local green infrastructureLocal Green Infrastructure:
helping communities make the most of their landscape (2011)

Building on our 2009 statement on Green infrastructure, this guidance is aimed at inspiring local decision-makers and communities to make the most of their land, while helping wildlife to flourish, reducing flood risk, providing green open space for all, and delivering a wide range of economic, health and community benefits.

Download booklet (pdf)
Request print copies

Case studies

The booklet features eight case studies from across the UK where GI has been woven into the fabric of local communities, bringing a wide range of benefits:Eastern Curve, Dalston, London | Leeds City Region GI Strategy
Manor Fields Park, Sheffield| | Phoenix Park Gateway Gallery, Cheshire
Dalzell Estate, North Lanarkshire | Betjeman Millenium Park, OxfordshireGreening for Growth in Victoria, London | Bury Mount, Northamptonshire

To see more GI projects, go to the full list of all GI schemes in the case studies library


Click on the illustration for an animated example showing key GI elements 

GI illustration

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e(CO)stratègia | Barcelona Spain | Taller Sau

From World Landscape Architecture a way to create the green-grey web desired by the urban ecologists even in existing dense city fabric

The competition was about rethinking the border between the natural park of Collserola and the City of Barcelona. It has been divided this edge in 16 parts and call it doors. There has been proposals for each door, related to the particular context and situation of this part of the edge.

e(CO)stratègia | Barcelona Spain | Taller Sau
Taller Sau’s proposal is for the 13th Door, located in the north of the city of Barcelona . This site is also one of the main entrances of the city by car. All these highway lanes have fragmented the urban weave and isolated the neighbourhood of la Trinitat from the city. At the same time the green spaces system has been broken up by the road system and lost its flow.

e(CO)stratègia | Barcelona Spain | Taller Sau
e(CO)stratègia | Barcelona Spain | Taller Sau
The main proposals of the project are:

Define the edge between the city and the mountains as a surface, a space occupied by domesticated fields, a place between nature and city where you can find community vegetable gardens, open air green spaces, … domesticated nature between the concrete of the city and the wildness of the natural park.

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Green Infrastructure at OLIN .

Olin’s release to the public of their Green Infrastructurepaper and agenda, while largely a advertorial and a punt for business, highlights the importance of quantifying the benefits of green infrastructure improvements in terms of both urban sustainability and climate change mitigation. Read about OLIN’s approach to Green Infrastructure in their new journal.

Green infrastructure is about more than just sustainability—it’s about access to public space, and the quality of the experience from every angle, be it social, economic, or ecological. We design parks and plazas, but what we’re really doing is creating social attractors within a larger network formed by parks, infrastructure, architecture and communities. And because of the resources and specific talents of the team at OLIN, we’re able to make everything we do results-oriented. It’s like the city is our lab.”Steve Benz, OLIN Partner & Director of Green Infrastructure  outlines olin’s strategic intent in the brochure:

Living City Revealed: A 25-year build-out of a 100% renewable energy, 100% water balanced eco-district. OLIN

‘In our current era, we can’t just design places that are aesthetically pleasing or functional—designers of the built environment are challenged to explore the multifarious and interconnected relationships of ecology, economy, politics, social justice, energy, resources and health. Contemporary design solutions demand the incorporation of both function and form within sites; resilient, performative landscapes are better able to respond to the complex demands for the future lives of our cities. In order to develop truly sustainable solutions, OLIN’s Green Infrastructure approach uses measurable criteria for social, ecological and economic performance. Metrics act as a mechanism to evaluate a design’s performance throughout the design process; recalibration is necessary to ensure that a project’s sustainability outcomes actually meet goals set in early design stages. Metrics are a means to inform the design of dynamic systems which comprise cities and holds design professionals accountable through a rigorous methodology.’

The blocks were once composed of a tight-knit street fabric of row homes and masonry commercial uses, all within close proximity to breweries. After Prohibition and the rise of the suburbs, the neighborhood declined into a hodge-podge of viable homes, derelict buildings and vacant lots awaiting a new future.

Tracking Ideas Over Time (via Praxis in Landscape Architecture)

Googles dream of digitizing all knowledge might be in doubt now but the ability to scan for obscure keywords and see links amongst millions of books and papers is still awe inspiring – here is another way to possible get a glimpse of what it might mean

Tracking Ideas Over Time The roots of landscape planning and design extend into many disciplines. Just communicating what this knowledge domain entails is complicated, and new terminology seems to arise almost yearly. It is interesting to compare the rise and fall of these terms over time, and Google Ngram Viewer makes it easy, thanks to Google's 5 million+ scanned books. Here are two comparisons I explored (click on images to enlarge): [caption id="attachment_425" align … Read More

via Praxis in Landscape Architecture

Design for Resilience – The Case of Flood Mitigation (via Praxis in Landscape Architecture)

More and more we hear about resilience in the face of the unknown rather than “big scale planning”

Design for Resilience - The Case of Flood Mitigation What do you do when historical data is no longer useful for predicting the future? Climate change is making the already-difficult proposition of predicting environmental phenomena even harder. Consider societal efforts to manage the flood system. The concept of a 100-year flood is based on the idea that history is useful indicator of future states and "most likely" scenarios. A 2010 paper by Gersonius et al.* tackles the question of how we might … Read More

via Praxis in Landscape Architecture