What is Green Infrastructure
What is Green Infrastructure
Is the re-design of water in the Elmer Avenue Green Street Project approach a strong, weak, or transitional strategy for creating environmental sustainability*?
I believe the re-design of water in the Elmer Avenue Green Street Project approach a robust strategy for creating environmental sustainability because of some reasons. Firstly, the approach engaged majority of the residents in the area of the project; Elmer Avenue with the majority of residents participating in the project by selecting appropriate improvement they wanted to be made in their homes or city of residence. Depending on what each resident wished to, the residents who took part in the project adopted district and individualized features such as grass in the sidewalks as evidenced in the diagram below.
Moreover, I believe the approach is a strong one because it also takes into consideration the kind of maintenance that would need to be conducted to make it sustainable in the long run. As noted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (2018) to improve the positive impacts of green infrastructure designs on the environment and the costs associated with it, in the long run, the approach should take into consideration various maintenance factors. These factors include the kind of maintenance that would be needed, how frequent the maintenance is to be conducted, costs associated with the replacement of multiple components of the project like shrubs and plants.
Finally, I believe the approach of the project is a strong strategy for creating environmental sustainability in the long run because it also shows the immediate impacts of the project a few periods after its launch. For instance, after the project, the roads are clear from floods as it was the case before (Linton, 2010, July 8th) and this is a sign that the plan is likely to result into environmental sustainability if supported.
What is Green Infrastructure?
Green infrastructure is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (2017, January 19th) as a resilient and cost-effective means of managing the influence of wet weather in a manner that is beneficial to the general community. The green infrastructure treats and reduces the water caused by the storm at its source to offer significant economic, social and environmental benefits as opposed to moving water produced by the storm in the urban centers from the urban buildings that are often carried out through piped water and drainage systems. According to the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (2017, January 19th) water from the storm is one of the significant contributors to pollution of water within the urban centers.
During storms, rains often fall either on the streets, parking spaces, and rooftops and it cannot be adequately absorbed into the ground forcing it to drain through dirty storm sewers and gutters full of bacteria and several pollutants such as waste before they are channeled to centralized water collection points. Moreover, heavy storms result in soil erosion and flooding within the urban places and as a result, causing significant damage to people’s properties, infrastructures like roads as well as houses.
However, when a storm occurs and waterfalls into undeveloped and natural places such as the one in the above picture, the stormwater is adequately filtered and absorbed by plants and soils. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (2017, January 19th) further notes that utilization of vegetation and land as a natural restoration method for creating a cleaner environment and managing water in the urban centers like the one presented above helps in protecting the city from flooding, cleaner water, and air to urban dwellers.
Definition of Sustainable Development-what is Green Infrastructure
Many ways have been advanced to define sustainability. However, the most common definition of sustainability emanates from the Brundtland Report which outlined sustainability as an initiative that aims at meeting the present needs without altering the capability of the coming generations to cater for their own individual needs (International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2018). Today, the issue of sustainability is one of the most significant foundations for leading international cooperation’s frameworks.
On the contrary, previous authors such as Clark et al. (2009) argues that sustainability issue not only concerns with the development of new technologies but more to do with rethinking how to meet the future growth while simultaneously minimizing the negative impacts on the economy and the environment. A good example is evident in the above figure which involves rethinking how to utilize containers as water catchment and storage facility to prevent flooding from rainwater coming from the rooftops. Such strategy provides benefit for the current generation by for instance enabling them to get free water while at the same time ensuring that the environment is not polluted through soil erosion or flooding and this makes it possible for the future generation also to enjoy the benefits of having the healthier environment and better infrastructure. In their arguments as Clark et al. (2009) adds that sustainable development entails cleaner production which are environmental prevention methods integrated into the environmental strategy to minimize the risk of environmental pollution to the environment and humans and include various forms such as sustainable products and energy efficiency. Moreover, sustainable development entails design for sustainability such as the D4S eco-design systems which aims to integrate the planet, people and profit as the important sustainability pillars.
Linton, G (2010, July 8th) Elmer Avenue Green Street Project Explored. Available at: https://lacreekfreak.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/elmer-avenue-green-street-project-explored/ , Accessed on 5th November 2018 .
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (2018) Design and Build Approaches for Green Streets. Available at: https://www.epa.gov/G3/design-and-build-approaches-green-streets, Accessed on 5th November 2018 .
International Institute for Sustainable Development (2018) Sustainable Development. Available at: https://www.iisd.org/topic/sustainable-development, Accessed on 5th November 2018.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (2017, January 19th) Available at; https://www.epa.gov/green-infrastructure/what-green-infrastructure, Accessed on 5th November 2018.
Clark, G et al. (2009) Design for Sustainability: Current Trends in Sustainable Product Design and Development. Sustainability, 1, pp. 409-424