Green infrastructure is an interconnected network of natural and social systems, such as rivers, trails, lakes, wildlife habitat, agricultural and working lands, and parks and open space.
Green infrastructure planning differs from conventional approaches to land conservation or natural resource protection because it looks at landscape ecology jointly with human geography and demographics. It conserves natural ecosystem functionality, sustains clean air and water, and provides a wide array of benefits. Green infrastructure planning brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to help form a scientific and unified planning approach.
For additional information regarding green infrastructure, please contact Ned Hacker.
Green infrastructure provides the following benefits.
- Protects critical habitats
- Protects habitat connections
- Conserves biodiversity
- Sustains working lands and forest lands
- Provides mental and physical health benefits
- Provides opportunities for recreation
- Protects valuable natural amenities
- Attracts tourism
- Directs growth away from areas prone to natural hazards
- Reduces opposition to future development
The following green infrastructure goals have been identified.
- Identify existing green infrastructure.
- Bring together diverse interests through collaboration.
- Explore a multi-jurisdictional approach to planning for green infrastructure.
- Utilize existing plans to ensure consistency.
- Quantify economic advantages.
- Identify implementation strategies.
The Wasatch Front’s green infrastructure plan (which can be found in the “(Re)Connect: the Wasatch Front Green Infrastructure Plan” section) can guide land development and acquisition decisions, funding allocations, and local and regional planning processes.
Asset Network Maps
Asset network maps can help determine which lands can accommodate growth and which lands are better suited to protect, preserve, or conserve. The asset network mapping process identifies and illustrates similar, existing, high-quality green infrastructure lands and categorizes them into five asset network maps. Each of the five maps has its own set of criteria. The criteria include more than forty datasets (which can be found in the “Asset Network Maps Data and Documentation” section) and is used to establish the cores, hubs, and corridors within each asset network.
- Cores are highly functional, high-quality lands, as well as geographically large, un-fragmented lands that are either connected or close to one another. These lands provide the most effective ecosystem services and sustained functionality.
- Hubs are lands that support cores, though they are not always connected to cores. The hubs have been identified through qualitative assessments rather than spatially defined locations that surround cores.
- Corridors are linear landscapes that physically link assets together and facilitate mobility between cores and hubs, and additionally support and enhance green infrastructure network resiliency.
The following graphic is an example of a green infrastructure network map design used by the Conservation Fund.
- Eccles Foundation
- Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, Utah Quality Growth Commission
- United States Forest Service
- Utah Forestry, Fire, and State Lands
- Whole Foods
- Center for Green Infrastructure Design
- Wasatch Front Regional Council