What is Green Infrastructure anyway?

This is the first post of several on the subject of Green Infrastructure, as I recently attended TCPA’s (Town and Country Planning Association) conference entitled ‘Small scale, big impact – retrofitting and enhancing green infrastructure’, which has stimulated a thought process connecting previous interests, some of which have featured in this blog.

I’m going to use the process of writing these posts to think some ideas about Green Infrastructure (GI) through, making connections on the hoof, to see where I end up.

In the October 2017 edition of the TCPA Journal, Peter Neal describes it as a term which ‘purposely reframes landscape and the natural environment, elevating it a similar status as other essential infrastructure providing power, water, communications and transport‘, emphasising it’s ability to enable us to tackle challenges such as environmental equity, public health and carbon capture (Vol, 86 p.397-398).


Conference speaker Tom Armour (Arup, Director of Global Landscape Architect) described GI as including permeable spaces, green rooves, high level green terraces, cooling rooves, brown habitat rooves, urban farming, wider stream restoration, living walls and urban forests.

I am excited about the possibilities of this reframing of our green spaces, especially in understanding them as multi-functional, providing value across the three key areas; the social arena (better place-making, food production, health and wellbeing, leisure etc), the environmental arena (poor air quality, biodiversity, improving water quality, flood mitigation etc) and the economic arena (jobs and training in the green economy etc).


I’ve posted a few blog posts that highlight projects and landscapes featuring, what I now know as GI.

On the Urban Food Justice programme, Leeds



On Stave Hill Ecology Park, Rotherhithe, London


On mapping green space


Image credit 1: Sarah Spanton, of speaker Imke van Moorselaar, Amsterdam

Image credit 2: Sarah Spanton, of Nigel Dunnet’s urban meadows, Sheffield

About waymarkingthesketchbook

Sarah Spanton is director of arts organisation Waymarking - www.waymarking.org.uk
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3 Responses to What is Green Infrastructure anyway?

  1. Pingback: Beauty, form and function: Sheffield and London | Waymarking The Sketchbook

  2. Pingback: The social, economic and environmental benefits of Green Infrastructure (GI) | Waymarking The Sketchbook

  3. Pingback: Sensing the city; artists, embodiment and urban space #1 | Waymarking The Sketchbook

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