Green InfrastructureGreen Infrastructure is the network of green spaces and water systems that delivers multiple environmental, social and economic values and services to urban communities. This network includes parks and reserves, backyards and gardens, waterways and wetlands, streets and transport corridors, pathways and greenways, farms and orchards, squares and plazas, roof gardens and living walls, sports fields and cemeteries. Green Infrastructure secures the health, liveability and sustainability of urban environments. It strengthens the resilience of towns and cities to respond to the major current and future challenges of growth, health, climate change and biodiversity loss, as well as water, energy and food security
The Green Infrastructure Evidence Base study comprised a review of credible, peer reviewed literature and other professional ssources covering a broad range of Green Infrastructure benefits. While the literature may not always be comparable between different fields of research, it does make a compelling case for integrating Green Infrastructure into the planning and design of our cities. While a great deal of the literature is US or European based, there is also a recent and growing body of local research which makes the case for Green Infrastructure as a means of addressing many aspects of human health and well-being, as well as addressing key environmental concerns such as climate change adaptation, urban heat island effects and more sustainable management of our water resources.
10.2 Future research
The literature review has identified a number of areas in which additional local research could be undertaken. These include but are not restricted to:
- Quantifying the ecosystem services provided by Adelaide’s urban forest.
- Investigating WSUD stormwater harvesting practices to sustain vegetation.
- Continuing research into the Adelaide urban heat island effect and mitigation strategies.
- Continuing research into the adaptation of green roofs and living walls to South Australian climatic conditions.
- The economic benefits of Green Infrastructure in terms of reducing public health costs.
- A comprehensive economic evaluation of the benefits provided by Green Infrastructure in South Australia.
- Local research into the benefits of Green Infrastructure for children.
- Qualitative research into the perceived benefits of Green Infrastructure by urban residents.
- More longitudinal studies into the benefits of access to nature and urban green spaces.
10.3 Key policy linkages
A key consideration will be linkages to wider strategic policies and to other components of the Green Infrastructure Working paper and Green Infrastructure Project Plan. Green Infrastructure initiatives will be strengthened by linkages to key strategies such as the state government’s 30 Year Plan, as well as State and National water, community health, biodiversity and climate change strategies, which also provide potential funding sources. Some of the key policy documents that will have an influence on the provision of Green Infrastructure include :
- The State 30 Year Plan.
- South Australia’s Strategic Plan.
- Metropolitan Open Space Strategy (MOSS).
- Greater Adelaide Open Space System (GAOSS).
- Regional Biodiversity Plans.
- The Hills Face Zone.
- Development Plans.
- Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Regional Natural Resources Management Plan.
- Strategic Infrastructure Plan for South Australia.
- Precinct and Structure Plans.
10.4 Green Infrastructure Design Principles
To design, build and maintain Green Infrastructure necessitates, in many cases, a new way of thinking about urban environments. To achieve the many potential benefits of Green Infrastructure it must be embraced as an integral element of the urban landscape. Government, industry and community sectors require a thorough understanding of the benefits as well as a robust capacity for design, development and maintenance. Planning and investment in Green Infrastructure need to be guided by principles that reflect and ensure a full acceptance of the concept.
We suggest that successful Green Infrastructure is underpinned by the following five principles:
- Integration: Green infrastructure is fundamental to urban planning and design frameworks for both new growth areas and redevelopments.
- Nature-based: Green Infrastructure utilises natural processes to provide essential services and functions that improve the quality of urban water, air, soil, climate and wildlife habitat.
- Collaboration: The design, development and maintenance of Green Infrastructure require open and on-going collaboration between government, industry and communities.
- Evidence: Green Infrastructure policy, planning and design are grounded in science and the lessons of experience, and are informed by emerging practices and technologies.
- Capacity: Green Infrastructure requires commitment to building motivation, knowledge, skills and access to resources.