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Green Infrastructure : connected and multifunctional landscapes Annie Coombs FLI Contents Position Statement preparation Origins, Definitions, Chronology Funding Benefits Assets, Resource Functions, Approach, Scale Strategies South Essex & Thurrock’s Green Grid PUSH

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Presentation Transcript
  • Position Statement preparation
  • Origins, Definitions, Chronology
  • Funding
  • Benefits
  • Assets, Resource
  • Functions, Approach, Scale
  • Strategies
    • South Essex & Thurrock’s Green Grid
    • PUSH
  • Principles and Approach
  • Landscape Profession
  • The Mersey Forest / Weaver Valley

Photos throughout illustrate green infrastructure designed, managed, assessed, studied by landscape architects.


LI Policy Committee recommended topics

  • GI seen very much as the province of the landscape profession
  • Small working group
  • Call for case studies and comments on text from all LI members
  • Sub-group met to decide on case studies
  • Edits to text
  • Reviewed by Executive Committee and “critical friends”
  • Launched (May 2009)
  • Use (lobbying, consultation responses etc)

Position Statement


“Can I congratulate the Landscape Institute on the position statement for Green Infrastructure.  With so many simplifications and misunderstandings as to what GI really offers, this statement is clear, lacking waffle and usable.”

“My planning colleagues who are currently preparing the Council’s GI SPD as part of the Core Strategy think it looks excellent and would like to use it as part of the launch and publicity of the Borough's GI policy”

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origin of the term gi
Origin of the term GI

Ed McMahon

“Green space is not an amenity, it’s a necessity.”

This is the phrase that underpins his concept of green infrastructure.

“We coined the term to reposition the idea for the public,” explaining that the idea itself is not a new one.

definitions 1
Definitions (1)
  • Explosion of interest doesn’t equate to increased understanding
  • GI is term that can mean different things to different people
  • A number of definitions available
  • Significant common ground within the available definitions:
    • GI involves natural and managed green areas in both urban and rural settings
    • GI is about the strategic connection of open green areas and
    • GI should provide multiple benefits for people (public benefit).

definitions 2 milton keynes
Definitions (2): Milton Keynes

“A planned network of multifunctional green-spaces and interconnecting links, which is designed, developed and managed to meet the environmental, social and economic needs of communities across the sub-region. It is set within, and contributes to a high quality natural and built environment and is required to enhance the quality of life for the present and future residents and visitors and to deliver liveability for sustainable communities.”*

* Planning Sustainable Communities: A green infrastructure guide for Milton Keynes and the South Midlands

definitions 3 natural england
Definitions (3):Natural England

“Green Infrastructure (GI) is a strategically planned and delivered network of high quality green spaces and other environmental features. It should be designed and managed as a multifunctional resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities. Green Infrastructure includes parks, open spaces, playing fields, woodlands, allotments and private gardens.”

definitions 4 northwest region
Definitions (4): Northwest Region

“Green Infrastructure is the Region’s life support system – the network of natural environmental components and green and blue spaces that lies within and between the Northwest’s cities, towns and villages and which provides multiple social, economic and environmental benefits”

definitions 5
Definitions (5)

“Green infrastructure is the physical environment within and between our cities, towns and villages. It is a network of multi-functional open spaces, including formal parks, gardens, woodlands, green corridors, waterways, street trees and open countryside. It comprises all environmental resources, and thus a green infrastructure approach also contributes towards sustainable resource management.”

european landscape convention elc
European Landscape Convention (ELC)

Article 1 of the ELC states:

“ “Landscape” means an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors. The term “landscape” is thus defined as a zone or area as perceived by local people or visitors, whose visual features and character are the result of the action of natural and/or cultural (that is, human) factors. This definition reflects the idea that landscapes evolve through time, as a result of being acted upon by natural forces and human beings. It also underlines that a landscape forms a whole, whose natural and cultural components are taken together, not separately.”

gi chronology
GI Chronology
  • Victorian Parks and city fathers
  • Frederick Law Olmstead (Central Park etc)
  • Garden cities movement
  • 1947 Acts (green belt, national parks, AONBs)
  • New Towns’ movement
  • Ian McHarg: Design with Nature
  • Regional Parks
  • Groundwork Trust
  • Community forests, National forests
  • Ed McMahon coins the phrase “GI”
  • PPG17, green flag, open space strategies
  • Increasing use of GIS
  • Growth points, ecotowns, city regions
  • European Landscape Convention (ELC)
  • Regional Spatial Strategy policy (NW)
  • Forthcoming planning policy on GI (England)
gi funding
GI funding

CABE & Natural England:

  • call on local and central government to set new priorities for funding high-quality GI, highlighting the imbalance between investment in green & grey infrastructures.
  • say towns and cities could be transformed if GI receives a fraction of the public investment made in other areas.
  • suggest the government’s green stimulus package for low carbon housing be extended to incorporate GI; as part of a wider move to target public expenditure on greening cities.

gi funding 2
GI funding (2)

“A switch of public spending from grey to green infrastructure would trigger an environmental revolution. At a time when investment in grey infrastructure, such as the new road building and road improvement programmes, runs into billions, investment in green infrastructure remains tiny. We have to redesign our cities in response to the imperative of climate change, and this means investment in hundreds of thousands of green roofs, millions more street trees, more parks, and new urban greenways.”

Richard Simmons, CABE’s chief executive

funding royal parks
Funding: Royal Parks
  • 2,000 hectares historical parkland
  • Demand-led funding approach
    • Central gov & income generation
  • Contribution to environment, society & economy
  • Multifunctionality brings benefits:
    • Health & well-being
    • Tourism & economic value
    • Formal recreation & play
    • Community events
    • Ecology & biodiversity
    • Water management
    • Heritage
    • Climate change adaptation & mitigation
    • Amenity value

Climate change adaptation

  • Climate change mitigation
  • Water management
  • Dealing with waste
  • Food production
  • Biodiversity enhancement
  • Economic value
  • Local distinctiveness
  • Education
  • Health and recreation
  • Stronger communities


economic benefits of gi
Economic benefits of GI
  • Flood alleviation & water management
  • Economic growth & investment
  • Tourism
  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Quality of place
  • Health & well-being
  • Land & property values
  • Labour productivity
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Land & biodiversity
  • Products from the land

gi assets resource
GI assets & resource
  • GI assets are:
    • Particular areas of land and water
    • Serve one or more functions of public benefit by virtue of:
      • Use
      • Location
      • Intrinsic value
  • Multifunctionality
  • GI resource is a collective of:
    • open spaces, public places, rivers & coast, farmland, woodlands, natural elements & gardens.
gi functions the case for gi
GIfunctions (the case for GI)
  • Stimulating sport,recreation & play;
  • Improving health;
  • Sustaining biodiversity;
  • Protecting soil, water & natural resources;
  • Buffering extreme weather events
  • Providing a comfortable urban environment;
  • Creating distinctive settings;
  • Improving coastand water quality;
  • Sustaining cultural and historical places;
  • Stimulating business and regeneration;
  • Creating meeting points for cohesive societies;
  • Inspiring community environmental stewardship;
  • Maintaining productive rural landscapes.
gi approach
GI approach
  • Wide range of functions
  • Have a vision
  • Unlock maximum # of benefits
  • Demand more from the land
  • Manage conflicting demands
  • Retain single/limited land use functions in some areas
  • Ecosystem services:
    • Support (necessary for all – soils, photosynthesis etc)
    • Provision (food, fuel ..)
    • Regulations (air/water quality, erosion)
    • Culture (aesthetics, heritage, recreation)
gi scales neighbourhood
GI Scales: Neighbourhood
  • Street Trees / Home Zones
  • Roof Gardens (& Green Roofs)
  • Pocket Parks
  • Collective / Private Gardens
  • Urban Plazas
  • Village Greens
  • Local Rights of Way
  • Dedicated Gardens / Cemeteries
  • Institutional Open Spaces
  • Ponds & small woodlands
  • Play Areas
  • Local Nature Reserves

Neighbourhood Scale

gi scales town city district
GI Scales: Town/city/district
  • City Parks
  • Urban Canals & Waterways
  • Green Networks
  • Multi-user routes
  • Urban Commons
  • Forest Parks
  • Country Parks / Estates
  • Continuous waterfront
  • Municipal / Cathedral Plazas
  • Lakes
  • Major recreational spaces
  • Landmarks & Vistas & Gateways

Town / City /District Scale

gi scales city region
GI Scales: City-region
  • Regional Parks
  • Rivers & floodplains
  • Shoreline & Waterfront
  • Strategic & Long-distance Trails
  • Major (>100ha) woodlands
  • Community Forests
  • Open Access Sites
  • Landmarks & Vistas
  • Reservoirs
  • Environmental Management Initiatives
  • Strategic Corridors & Gateways

City-regional Scale

gi scales strategic
GI Scales: Strategic
  • Coastline Management Planning
  • Cross-boundary green networks (e.g. South Downs – New Forest linkages
  • Strategic River Catchment Plans
  • National Trails & Destinations
  • Strategic Infrastructure corridors
  • Sub-regional strategies
  • National policy statements
  • Behavioural & Societal Change

Strategic Scale

gi strategies
GI Strategies
  • Need to operate at the relevant scale / level
  • Sub-regional and regional
  • Embed across a range of policies / strategies
  • Robust and flexible enough to react to political change - Tories committed to remove the English RDAs and wider “bonfire of the quangos”
thurrock s green grid strategy
Thurrock’s Green Grid Strategy
  • TGGS developed in the context of the wider South Essex Green Grid (SEGG)
  • Used its own technical research (biodiversity, green infrastructure, landscape and urban capacity, flood risk, green belt review and open space) to tackle overarching themes and principles laid out in SEGG and other strategic plans (the Greening the Gateway plan, Thames Gateway interim plan and Essex county plans).
  • TGGS provides a finer grain framework than SEGG and gives expression to the aspirations of a wide range of partners and Thurrock’s own communities via its community strategy.
  • It will be developed into SPD.
thurrock s gi green grid
Thurrock’s GI & Green Grid




Open space

Green infrastructure



Green grid

gi strategy for urban south hampshire
GI Strategy for Urban South Hampshire
  • PUSH – Partnership for Urban South Hampshire identified GI as critical to support sub-region’s development
  • Polycentric urban region – Portsmouth, Southampton, Fareham, Gosport, Eastleigh & other settlements
  • 1 million existing population - new growth point – brownfield, urban infill & greenfield needed to deliver 80,000 new homes
  • Undertook:
    • an appreciation of the drivers for change
    • environmental quality and condition assessment (including landscape character)
    • Analysis of community attributes
    • Gap analysis of GI strategy with other initiatives
    • Vision and values with stakeholders
    • Threats and opportunities
public benefit
Public Benefit
  • Central to the research was the area’s social, environmental and economic characteristics
  • Potential for GI to address the deficits and deliver benefits in relation to:
    • Enjoying and protecting the special qualities of the environment
    • Restoring/enhancing environments degraded, in decline or at risk
    • Community needs and aspirations
    • Economic prosperity
  • Used GIS to bring together datasets and represent spatially the areas in need and the multiple benefits
community needs
Community needs
  • Needs are greatest near the urban areas based on deprivation, age, risk of adverse environmental quality etc
  • Potential for delivering community needs is a more diffuse picture – widespread opportunity for GI to deliver functions
push functional strategies
PUSH: Functional Strategies
  • Stakeholders identified “themes” reflecting priorities
  • Key quality of life issues for the area led to 8 headline themes
  • Each comprised a range of GI functions
  • Led to development of functional strategies:
    • Biodiversity;
    • Coast and Water;
    • Green Access and Movement;
    • Parks for the Future;
    • Working Landscapes;
    • Landscape Culture and Heritage.
example of gi principles
Example of GI principles
  • Contribute to management, enhancement, conservation of local landscape
  • Contribute to protection & conservation of historic, archaeological, built heritage
  • Maintain and enhance biodiversity
  • Provide connectivity, avoid fragmentation
  • Be designed to facilitate sustainable long-term management
  • Create new recreation facilities
  • Link town and country
  • Take account of natural systems
  • Designed to high standards
  • Provide for social inclusion, community development and life-long learning.
roles of landscape professionals
Roles of landscape professionals
  • Multidisciplinary approach
  • All scales
  • Contributing to:
    • Policy guidance
    • Strategies
    • Local Development Frameworks
    • Character/Sensitivity studies
    • Development control
    • Environmental assessment
    • Masterplanning
    • Design and implementation
    • Management
    • Research
    • Facilitation & creative engagement
the mersey forest
The Mersey Forest
  • The North West GI Guide sets out a 5-stage process for green infrastructure planning:
    • Partnership and priorities
    • Data audit and green infrastructure resource mapping
    • Functional assessment
    • Needs assessment
    • Intervention plan.
1 partnership priorities
1. Partnership & priorities

The Mersey Forest Delivery Plan 2009 - 2014

  • Goals delivered achieve partners objectives:
    • Public service agreements
    • Local Area Agreements
    • Local Authority strategies (health, education, open space, regeneration..)
    • Regional Forestry Framework
    • Regional Spatial Strategy
    • Regional Climate Change Action Plan
    • Regional Economic Strategy.
  • Gross Value Added (GVA)
    • Developing ways to assess Mersey Forest achievements against partners monitoring targets of outcomes and outputs.
2 resource mapping types
2. Resource mapping: Types
  • general amenity space
  • outdoor sports facilities
  • woodland
  • water courses
  • water bodies
  • grassland, heathland & moorland
  • coastal habitat
  • agricultural land
  • allotments, community gardens & urban farms
  • cemeteries, churchyards & burial grounds
  • derelict land
  • private domestic gardens
  • trees
  • institutional grounds
  • wetlands
  • other?? (e.g. verges)
  • orchard street trees
3 gi functions cheshire sub region
3. GI functions:(Cheshire sub-region)
  • recreation - public
  • recreation - private
  • green travel route
  • aesthetic
  • water storage
  • water interception
  • water infiltration / natural drainage
  • storm protection - coastal
  • shading from sun
  • evaporative cooling
  • trapping pollutants
  • noise absorption
  • habitat for wildlife
  • corridor for wildlife
  • soil stabilisation
  • heritage
  • cultural asset
  • carbon storage
  • food production
  • timber production
  • biofuels production
  • water supply
  • wind shelter
  • learning
3 4 gi functions definition need
3.& 4. GI Functions: definition & need
  • recreation – public
    • DEFINITION: area anyone can use without having to pay or get keys
    • GREATEST NEED: high population density (present & future), low population mobility, poor health, much leisure time
  • water storage
    • DEFINITION: Stores flood waters.
    • GREATEST NEED: upstream of urban areas intersecting flood plains
  • shading from sun
    • DEFINITION: Shading of people, buildings, and surfaces from solar radiation.
    • GREATEST NEED: high population density (present & future), high quality agricultural land, schools, shopping areas, visitor attractions
what you can do
What you can do....
  • Raise awareness about GI
  • Lobby planning system at all levels
  • Adopt a multi-disciplinary approach
  • Press for vision for the natural environment and functions
  • Ignore administrative boundaries – promote ELC “landscape” definition
  • Promote advance consideration – GI often needed before growth (levies)
  • Make the case for revenue as well as capital expenditure
  • Argue for investment in management
  • Communicate the benefits
  • Involve the private sector
  • Provide case studies to the LI library.
photo credits
Photo credits
  • Giles Barnard
  • Bill Blackledge
  • Cheshire East
  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Annie Coombs
  • Chris Driver
  • Gillespies
  • Groundwork
  • Gustafsson Porter
  • HED
  • Andy Lane
  • North Lincolnshire Council
  • ODA
  • Place Design + Planning Ltd
  • Mike Roberts
  • TEP
  • Townshend Landscape Architects
  • Karen Wright Photography
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