Is Green Infrastructure an Effective Solution? 1

As discussed in our previous blog entries, water scarcity and failing infrastructure are important sustainability concerns. If you look around, you may notice areas where our infrastructure needs replacement or repair, but so few communities can afford the overwhelming costs. The EPA believes that green infrastructure offers a resilient and affordable solution.

Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage water and create healthier urban environments.  Offering highly scalable options, green infrastructure includes anything along the lines of harvesting rainwater, permeable pavement, green roofs, and land conservation. Following suit with the definition of sustainability, these applications aim to mimic or incorporate nature harmoniously.

A prime local example is the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway that sits above Boston’s infamous Big Dig I-93 tunnel. Prior to the Big Dig, this area was a dark, barren, hazard-ridden wasted space. But now, there consists a mile-long path connecting several parks and neighborhoods resulting in a green infrastructure including public open space, storm water management, composting, and reduced costs of water and electricity.

This project came together during the new construction of the Big Dig. Would such a green infrastructure project be as effective amidst failing infrastructure? Is green infrastructure a step in the right direction for sustainability? Is it a fair trade to pour “green” into infrastructure projects in order to reap the return in environmentally-friendly “green”?