THE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE APPROACH TO

MULTI-FUNCTIONAL LANDSCAPES

Green infrastructure in the expanded focus of the Green Infrastructure Performance Lab takes on many roles at many scales. Green infrastructure provides a framework for viewing and conceptualising the many open spaces and greenspaces within the landscape as a continuous matrix. Green infrastructure, thus, is a spatial entity. The concept of green infrastructure includes physical interconnectivity. Green structures are more than a sum of their green + open spaces, however; they are the spatial network of the landscape, providing a discrete analysis tool.

WHAT IS GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE ?

There is often confusion and lack of clarity when discussing and visualizing green infrastructure. Green infrastructure can be many things at a variety of sizes and scales while providing benefits at each one of these scales.   Green structures of all shapes and sizes flow between, and over, buildings as well as the landscape - from the urban centre to the peri-urban edge to the rural hinterland. Green structure, therefore, is a basic and dominant spatial entity, or infrastructure, found within the landscape.

@ IC

WHY GREEN INFRASTRACTURE ?

The GIPL promotes informed decision making through critical thinking, pilot projects, collaboration, public participation, and community input which identify and quantify the human-based ecosystem functions and services specific to ecological integrity and human wellbeing.  Our team focuses on applied theory and adaptive strategies to best create communities - communities with the necessary resilience to change and to best receive benefits from the diverse landscapes around them.

 © Choteau

CONNECT THROUGH GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE 

Green infrastructure represents a valued strategy because it supplies an important connection between humans and the landscape.  Green infrastructure supports an inclusive approach to planning and design. Traditional landscape design and environmental planning focuses on ecological restoration and preservation, but green infrastructure also concentrates on the pace, shape and location of human development and its relationship to important natural resources and amenities such as food production and carbon sequestration.  Unlike more conventional approaches, the GIPL’s green infrastructure strategies actively seek to promote more efficient and sustainable land use and development patterns, as well as protect natural ecosystems and the many benefits they provide.

@ IC

WHY VALUE GREEN INFRASTRACTURE ?

There is important value in planning and designing using a green infrastructure approach: it allows the identification of valuable natural lands & social resources to better understand why it is important to connect those lands.  A simple way to think about what constitutes a green infrastructure approach is that instead of considering a parcel, a park, a wetland, or a forest as an individual site, consider how these resources are or could be tied or connected together.  

© Weiss-Manfreddi

© M. Desvigne

IMPACT THROUGH GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

Taking a green infrastructure approach requires identifying and understanding natural systems and protecting those systems first, before development or degradation begins, as well as seeking to restore connections and valued lands of the community in already developed landscapes. This systems approach must look beyond water systems and site-specific designs to the larger network and region in order to have greater impact and a significant economic, social, and environmental effect.

© M. Desvigne

© Weiss-Manfreddi

© WRT

THE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE PERFORMANCE LAB

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The Green Infrastructure Performance Laboratory

Director, Richard leBrasseur, PhD

r.lebrasseur@dal.ca

Dalhousie University

Department of Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences

20 Rock Garden Road, EE Building, Room 223

Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada  B2N 5E3