The benefits of well-planned and well-managed Green Infrastructure are manifold. They go beyond those often associated with natural green spaces such as providing space for wildlife. Green Infrastructure also provides the benefits and services that we as human beings require to thrive and maintain a quality of life. It is therefore an important consideration in planning for development and meeting the needs of the population as well as protecting and enhancing biodiversity.
Green infrastructure should be considered as multifunctional, with different types providing different services/benefits dependant on local needs and circumstances. Those needs include making space for and protecting wildlife, providing access to nature, recreation and social interaction, reducing flood risk, improving despoiled landscapes (including those within our settlements) and reducing the negative effects of climate change among many others.
Green infrastructure has been proven to be a sound investment with returns far higher than the initial investment. Research in the United Kingdom has evaluated the benefits in terms of monetary value for example a proven reduction in costs to health services where Green Infrastructure is accessible and promoted. The most important aspect of a Green Infrastructure approach is promoting and demonstrating the benefits of it. This multifunctional understanding of Green Infrastructure is what makes it relevant to everybody and at levels of society.
For more information about benefits of green infrastructure we recommend the publication from the European Commission: Building a Green Infrastructure for Europe (2013)
Or watch the video "Investing in green infrastructure" from the Landscape Institute.
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