Green infrastructure creates numerous public health, social, environmental, and economic benefits beyond stormwater management. Co-benefits include improved water quality and air quality, reductions in localized flooding and the urban heat island effect, and increased access to public green spaces. While green infrastructure is an important tool in managing stormwater runoff, it is important to screen planned projects for potential unintended consequences that negatively impact overburdened populations.
Environmental justice communities in urban areas often experience flooding disproportionately due to high levels of impervious cover and aging water infrastructure. These communities would greatly benefit from green infrastructure solutions. Stormwater planning and design should be completed according to the unique needs of the community so as not to concentrate public improvements to wealthier areas.
To ensure the implementation of green infrastructure leads to the equitable distribution of benefits, the planning of projects should be community driven. It is also important to understand potential unintended consequences of community greening. While green infrastructure, state of the art parks and open spaces, and tree canopy cover are all aspects of a healthy and thriving community, it is imperative to ensure that these improvements do not price out current community members.
Equitable green infrastructure includes:
Steps to Integrate Equity into the GI Planning and Implementation Process of Projects
Explore the New Jersey Water Risk and Equity Map to visualize water-related issues in your community.