University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits

Type Policy Brief or Report
Year 2010
Level City or Town
State(s) All States
Policy Areas Community Development, Energy, Environment & Natural Resources, Finance & Procurement, Public Spaces
Green infrastructure (GI) is a network of decentralized stormwater management practices, such as green roofs, trees, rain gardens and permeable pavement that can capture and infiltrate rain where it falls, thus reducing stormwater runoff and improving the health of surrounding waterways. While there are different scales of green infrastructure, such as large swaths of land set aside for preservation, this guide focuses on GI's benefits within the urban context. The ability of these practices to deliver multiple ecological, economic and social benefits or services has made green infrastructure an increasingly popular strategy in recent years. In addition to reducing polluted stormwater runoff, GI practices can also positively impact energy consumption, air quality, carbon reduction and sequestration, property prices, recreation and other elements of community health and vitality that have monetary or other social value. Moreover, green infrastructure practices provide flexibility to communities faced with the need to adapt infrastructure to a changing climate.

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