Green infrastructure encompasses technologies and practices that use natural processes (or artificial systems that simulate natural processes) in order to improve the overall quality of the environment and provide social, ecological, and economic benefits. Green infrastructure is based on the idea that human societies can benefit from the protection of natural ecosystems and from the integration of these very ecosystems and natural processes into territorial planning and development.
Two key characteristics of green (or natural) infrastructure are its interconnectivity and multifunctionality. The first term highlights the importance of linking natural and man-made ecosystems and connecting natural processes to human infrastructural needs. The multifunctionality aspect refers to the ability of green infrastructure to deliver multiple benefits, meaning that the adoption of a nature-based strategy can provide versatile solutions for decision makers.
Green Infrastructure Can Reduce Flood Risks
The world faces a range of water-related challenges that are set to intensify over time. Increasing water demand, decreasing water availability, deteriorating water quality and extreme weather-related events are contributing to worsening global water security. All these problems can be mitigated—to different extents—by appropriate infrastructure.
Infrastructure can ensure that controls are in place to mitigate or avoid water contamination, promote resilience in the face of flooding or droughts, and curtail water withdrawals and reduce water losses in various processes. Green infrastructure stands out for its ability to create solutions to these problems through the restoration and preservation of natural ecosystems, which in turn contribute to enhanced water security.
Case Study: The Yolo Bypass – From Water Management to Food Security and Wildlife Protection