By Steven Peck
Over the past two decades researchers have begun developing the tools for quantifying the multiple benefits of living green infrastructure. Living green infrastructure technologies cover a wide range of strategies from active and passive turf to trees, wetlands, structural soils, green walls and green roofs. Green infrastructure technologies are becoming increasingly recognized by policy makers as proven and effective ways to solve multiple urban problems. Yet the many contributions of green infrastructure to our natural and built environments, as well as to human health, are not fully reflected in public policies pertaining to buildings, design practice, community planning or capital and operational investments in infrastructure.
Green infrastructure can deliver preventative health care benefits that translate into reduced expenditures for health care, longer life spans and better quality of life. With society facing rapidly-escalating public and private health care costs, multi-billion dollar infrastructure deficits, extreme weather events ranging from heat waves to floods and ice storms, broader policy support for living green infrastructure systems provides opportunities to achieve multiple dividends and address multiple needs in our communities. We need to rapidly adopt new thinking about what constitutes ‘infrastructure’ and implement new policies so that green infrastructure investment can complement traditional grey infrastructure to derive the maximum taxpayer benefits from the billions of public dollars invested each year.
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Read the full paper on Exploring the Connections Between Healthy Communities and Green Infrastructure at http://goo.gl/jwNX6.
This topic will be more comprehensively presented during Grey to Green: A Conference on the Economics of Green Infrastructure, Designing For Health, which takes place August 25-26 2014 in Toronto, Canada. Save $100 if you register by June 16th. Visit www.greytogreenconference.org for more information.
Steven Peck is the founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.
Steven Peck is also co-founder of the Green Infrastructure Foundation in Toronto, Canada. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) is a membership-based industry association developing the green (vegetative) roof and wall industry in North America. GRHC’s mission is to increase the awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of green roofs and green walls, and other forms of living architecture through education, advocacy, professional development and celebrations of excellence. Visit www.greenroofs.org for more information.
Contact Steven at: firstname.lastname@example.org and Tel: 416.971.4494 (233).