Green infrastructure refers to an interconnected, multifunctional network of greenspace and natural areas that shapes and is shaped by environmental, economic, social, and health outcomes in communities. It may refer to a wide array of natural features, engineered structures, or managed interconnected networks of green space and their associated ecosystem services, including parks, stormwater management features, greenways and trails, green streets, and watershed restoration projects, among other types of green spaces.
In-depth community engagement shapes green infrastructure projects and their impacts on communities. Use this tool to explore the role of community engagement and local knowledge in green infrastructure planning processes. Students will learn the importance of engaging communities in green infrastructure planning for incorporating local knowledge of community assets, needs, and priorities. The discussion questions will aid students in examining the potential opportunities and threats associated with green infrastructure; the importance of community engagement and knowledge sharing in shaping project outcomes; and how green infrastructure planning processes might be designed to prioritize local knowledge of community needs and priorities and to draw on community assets in order to support more sustainable and equitable outcomes.
In this case study, read about the 11th Street Bridge Park and its planning process, and learn about how community engagement in green infrastructure planning can help address equitable development concerns such as such as housing affordability, workforce development, small business development, and community culture. The 11th Street Bridge Park is a planned elevated green infrastructure amenity that is being developed on the piers of the old 11th Street Bridge in Washington, D.C.. The project is a unique example of green infrastructure in that its planning process has evolved to focus on how the park can support more equitable development in surrounding neighborhoods. Community engagement and leadership are important components shaping the park’s environmental, economic, and social outcomes. Serve-Learn-Sustain interprets sustainable communities as integrated systems, wherein nature, technology and society all inform each other.
The Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain aims to help students create sustainable communities, where humans and nature flourish in the present and future. One SLS Priority area concerning sustainable communities is Green Infrastructure, which focuses on achieving a society in which our buildings, neighborhoods, and cities promote environmental justice and allow the local environment to flourish.