Countesswells Park, Aberdeenshire.  ©Stewart Milne Homes. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure plays a major role in our built areas, providing multiple benefits and opportunities for people and nature.

Green infrastructure is a tool for providing ecological, economic and social benefits through nature-based solutions. It is a network of nature, semi-natural areas and green spaces that deliver ecosystem services, which underpin human well-being and quality of life.

Green infrastructure is the green and blue features of natural and built environments and the connections between them that provide benefits for people and nature.

  • Green features include parks, woodlands, trees, play spaces, allotments, community growing spaces, outdoor sports facilities, churchyards and cemeteries, swales, hedges, verges, green roofs and gardens.
  • Blue features include rivers, lochs, wetlands, canals, ponds, porous paving and sustainable urban drainage systems.
  • Paths, cycleways and green corridors such as rivers provide connections through and between areas of green infrastructure.

Green infrastructure can provide multiple functions and benefits in the same space.

These functions can be environmental (including conserving biodiversity or adapting to climate change), social (such as encouraging active travel or public parks), and economic (through attracting businesses and raising property prices). The contrast with grey infrastructure solutions, which typically fulfil single functions, such as drainage or transport, makes green infrastructure appealing due to its potential to tackle several problems simultaneously.

Green infrastructure benefits:

  • Wildlife Habitats: conserving and enhancing the natural environment and providing wildlife corridors.
  • Climate adaptation and mitigation: providing sustainable drainage, flood storage and urban cooling.
  • Access Networks: providing walking and cycling routes for active travel to community facilities and transport hubs.
  • Open Space: providing space for community activities, as well as improving health and well-being, through relaxation and quiet contemplation, sport, recreation and children’s play.

 

Find out more:

Greening the Grey - Nature-based solutions podcast 

Urban Green Infrastructure Benefits Factsheet

Buildings and biodiversity

Biodiversity - transport and other infrastructure

Social and economic benefits of nature

Green exercise and its benefits

Learning in local greenspace