Green infrastructure (in contrast with the grey concrete materials of built infrastructure) includes the complex, living network of natural systems and processes that work together to ensure a thriving ecosystem and support the life of its inhabitants. Green infrastructure is most known for its beneficial role in stormwater management, however, this more holistic definition emphasizes the role of healthy, vegetated “green space” in producing clean air and water, and mitigating the negative impacts of climate change and decreased air quality.
Because of the broadly mitigative effects and multiple benefits of supporting green infrastructure health wherever possible, the Long Range Transportation Systems (LRTS) guide provides additional information on implementation of “Green Street” design, such as specific roadway designs that incorporate green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and low-impact development (LID) principles.
Planting trees for shade and other vegetation for cooling via evapotranspiration is the most effective means of mitigating UHI. This can be done with new and retrofitted roadways in addition to improving greenery in locations like parks and residential properties. Sharing many of the benefits associated with green infrastructure the “triple bottom line” benefits (economic, ecologic, and social) of healthy urban trees are enormous and bear repeating.
Benefits of trees in the built environment include increased neighborhood property values, protection of biodiversity and habitat for migrating birds and pollinators, improved air quality, keeping pollutants out of waterways and reducing urban flooding, and cooling city streets.