Locations around the world are turning to Blue-Green Infrastructure solutions that, in addition to restoring the natural environment and enhancing resilience, provide numerous social benefits.
A key aspect of Blue-Green Infrastructure is that it provides multiple environmental, economic, and social benefits. These benefits include:
- Improved water quality: When rain falls on a city’s surfaces Blue-Green Infrastructure captures all the dirt and grime such as oil and litter before it can pollute nearby waterways
- Reduced potential for flooding: Blue-Green Infrastructure can slow down and hold stormwater, allowing it to soak into the ground naturally, instead of flooding basements of buildings and turning carparks into paddling pools
- Lower wastewater bills: Blue-Green Infrastructure reduces the volume of water entering the sewer system for treatment by returning water to the natural water cycle, resulting in lower utility bills
- Recreational spaces: Blue-Green Infrastructure provides numerous recreational opportunities, for instance, a skateboard park in Rotterdam also stores excess rainwater during storms
Blue-Green Infrastructure Providing Opportunities
Blue-Green Infrastructure initiatives also provide meaningful educational, employment, and community-building opportunities, examples of which include the following.
Anglian Water’s Make Rain Happy
With climate change making heavy downpours and the risk of flooding more likely, Anglian Water in the UK is looking at Blue-Green Infrastructure solutions to not only reduce and slow down the rainfall entering the sewers but to also use them as tools to educate young children on the environment and water cycle. For example, a Blue-Green Infrastructure project at a primary school has a rain garden as well as a weather station to help the children monitor the climate at school.
Philadelphia’s Blue-Green Infrastructure Providing Green Jobs Too
Philadelphia has embarked on a Blue-Green Infrastructure program that protects local communities from excess stormwater runoff while providing new green job opportunities. A key part of the Blue-Green Infrastructure upgrade of the city is that small, local firms are encouraged to bid on and build Blue-Green Infrastructure. This creates more opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses to be involved. The city is also working with non-profit organizations to train at-risk youth for Blue-Green Infrastructure maintenance jobs.
Scotland’s Young Placechangers Enhancing the Environment
Greenspace Scotland is supporting youth groups to engage with others in their communities to take action to improve the environmental quality, biodiversity, playability, and vibrancy of neighborhoods. Seed grants are available to support Young Placechangers (between the ages of 12–25) who want to change their local environment for the better. The scale of projects eligible for funding can range from local greenspaces and community gardens right up to neighborhood-level initiatives such as implementing Blue-Green Infrastructure to improve local waterways.
Blue-Green Infrastructure contributes to the development of climate resilient, educated, and engaged communities.