Green Infrastructure Definitions

Green infrastructure is a concept, not a set of rules and there are many interpretations this concept across Europe and indeed the rest of the world. In this project we will use the definition used by the European Commission. Below you will find various definitions that are currently being used, with each definition reflecting the specific interest of those providing the definition.

Green Infrastructure can be broadly defined as a strategically planned network of high quality natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features, which is designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services and protect biodiversity in both rural and urban settings. More specifically GI, being a spatial structure providing benefits from nature to people, aims to enhance nature’s ability to deliver multiple valuable ecosystem goods and services, such as clean air or water.

(Building a Green Infrastructure for Europe, European Commission.)

An interconnected network of natural areas and other open spaces that conserves natural ecosystem values and functions, sustains clean air and water, and provides a wide array of benefits to people and wildlife.

(Benedict, M. and McMahon. E., 2006, Green infrastructure. Linking Landscapes and Communities.)

Green infrastructure is the network of natural places and systems in, around and beyond urban areas. It includes trees, parks, gardens, allotments, cemeteries, woodlands, green corridors, rivers and wetlands.

(Commission for Architecture and Built Environment CABE, 2011.)

Green infrastructure is an approach to land use, underpinned by the concept of ecosystem services. Green assets such as parks, coastlines or embankments have generally been thought of in terms of their single functions — the approach that recognises their vast range of functions and their interconnectivity is called green infrastructure.

(Landscape Institute, 2009. Green Infrastructure Position Statement.)

Connections between Natura 2000 sites. Valuable green urban areas and man-made bridges to natural areas, ecological corridors and zones where habitats merge.

(European Commission, EC, 2011). 

Green infrastructure maintains and improves ecological functions in combination with multifunctional land uses. Natural and 'man-made' structures or a territory devoid of permanent man-made structures that provide — directly or indirectly, partly or totally — through the vegetation it supports, a series of services to society.

(Marco Fritz, European Commission, Environment DG) 

Green infrastructure is a strategic approach to land conservation, a 'smart' conservation that addresses the ecological and social impacts of sprawl and the accelerated consumption and fragmentation of open land.

(The Conservation Fund's Green Infrastructure Leadership Program, Benedict and McMahon, 2002.)

Green infrastructure is an approach to wet weather management that uses soils and vegetation to utilise, enhance and/or mimic the natural hydrological cycle processes of infiltration, evapotranspiration and reuse.

(US Environmental Protection Agency, 2008, Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure. Action Strategy.)

Green infrastructure is the actions to build connectivity nature protection networks as well as the actions to incorporate multifunctional green spaces in urban environment.

(EEAC, 2009, Green Infrastructure and Ecological Connectivity.)

Green infrastructure is a concept that is principally structured by a hybrid hydrological/drainage network, complementing and linking relic green areas with built infrastructure that provides ecological functions. It is the principles of landscape ecology applied to urban environments.

(Ahern, J., 2007, Green infrastructure for cities: The spatial dimension.)

Green infrastructure is a strategically planned and delivered network of high-quality green spaces and other environmental features. It should be designed and managed as a multifunctional resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality‑of‑life benefits for local communities. Green infrastructure includes parks, open spaces, playing fields, woodlands, allotments and private gardens.

(Natural England, Natural England, 2010.)

Green infrastructure (GI) is a term used to refer to high quality natural and semi-natural areas. This consists of a living network of green spaces, water and other environmental features in both urban and rural areas. Examples of this include trees, parks, gardens, road verges, allotments, cemeteries, amenity grassland, woodlands, rivers and wetlands.

(A Green Infrastructure Vision for Wales, Wildlife Trusts Wales 2016.)

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