A Look at the Elements of Green Infrastructure Implementation: The Green Infrastructure Community Partners Project
In 2012 the U.S. EPA began the Green Infrastructure Community Partners Project intended to advance the acceptance of green infrastructure by highlighting effective programs and overcoming barriers to green infrastructure by offering targeted technical assistance. Technical assistance was offered to communities in 2012, 2013, and 2014 that serves as an example of the types of effort often required to successfully implement green infrastructure practices and concepts and includes code and ordinance review to identify barriers; policy review to integrate green infrastructure concepts; conceptual designs to implement green infrastructure practices; and program evaluation to assess the benefits of green infrastructure. The following technical assistance projects serve as examples for other communities interested in implementing green infrastructure.
A review of development-related codes, ordinances, and policies to qualitatively assess the barriers posed by existing regulations that may hinder the use of green infrastructure at the municipal, neighborhood, and site levels was performed for the Cities of Phoenix and Dallas. Tt identified strengths and weaknesses of multiple codes and recommended changes to specific language and policies that could promote the use of green infrastructure.
In Los Angeles Tt qualitatively assessed barriers to green infrastructure in state and regional regulations and programs and described ways in which green infrastructure implementation can meet the goals of those regulations and programs. Guidance was provided to local agencies regarding how to address barriers in codes and ordinances and to better account for multiple benefits of green infrastructure.
Tt evaluated and identified potential sites for the implementation of multiple green infrastructure practice types including bioretention, permeable pavement, green roofs, and stormwater wetlands. Conceptual designs were developed for each site with details for incorporating green infrastructure practices including sketches and renderings showing appropriate depths and approximate square footage of each BMP. These details will be used as a standard for implementing BMPs in future projects. Conceptual designs were developed for Atlanta, GA; Denver, CO; Sanford, ME; Beaufort, SC, and Spartanburg, SC.
Tt and ECONorthwest, in cooperation with the City of Seattle, identified the environmental benefits associated with green infrastructure and estimated the monetary value of these benefits. A range of benefits were analyzed, with a particular emphasis on livability-related co-benefits such as public health, habitat provision, CO2 sequestration, energy conservation, drainage system resilience, educational value, and green job creation.
The experiences in providing technical assistance to each of these communities will be discussed to provide an overview of the typical elements required to implement a successful green infrastructure program.