By: Katherine Jacobs
At the beginning of November, I attended a conference on urban green infrastructure hosted by the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. “Green infrastructure” refers to strategies for managing stormwater with plants and soil rather than traditional concrete or metal methods. In the past, engineers focused on getting stormwater away from buildings, roads, and sidewalks as fast as possible, which we now realize caused a number of environmental problems. Green infrastructure projects are a fantastic investment because they address those environmental problems while providing public amenities.
I spent 7 years working on urban green infrastructure in the Seattle area, where the political and ecological climate is a little different from what we encounter in New England. This conference was a perfect opportunity to get up to speed on how these systems work here. We heard presentations from researchers who are quantifying the services provided by green infrastructure as well as both public and private sources of funding for these projects. We also heard insightful stories from managers of city-scale green infrastructure systems who have iteratively improved their approach to green infrastructure over time.
Thank you to the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology for organizing this relevant conference!