Living Green Infrastructure Declaration Your Call to Action Past planning, design and development practices have turned our urban and suburban areas into vast areas of
paved surfaces and dark rooftops that despoil our water and air and alienate our citizens from the natural environment and each other. Our communities have lost much of their ability to cool themselves through natural shading and evaporation, resulting in unnecessary energy and water use, air pollution and negative impacts on our health and well-being.
The time has come to reverse this trend by embracing Living Green Infrastructure technologies through
policies and public infrastructure investments that protect, renew and restore ecosystem functions to our communities and generate local employment.
Given that Green Infrastructure provides multiple social, environmental and economic benefits to society,
there is a basis for more widespread public policy implementation. Green Infrastructure technologies include:
urban forests (street and backyard trees, existing remnant forests); green roofs (intensive, extensive, and semi-intensive); green walls (facades, living walls and biowalls); green spaces such as turf, parkland, community gardens and boulevards; rain gardens and bioswales; greenways and green streets; natural and engineered wetlands; porous paving systems; water harvesting, processing and distribution technologies used for irrigation; and healthy soils and composting systems.
Whereas Living Green Infrastructure: … is a powerful and under-utilized opportunity for addressing climate change and reducing energy consumption by cooling hard surface temperatures through evaporation, transpiration, shading and by providing wind breaks; … makes our communities become more resilient in the face of extreme weather events by reducing unnaturally hot temperatures in urban areas – the urban heat island effect; … allows us to manage stormwater more effectively thereby reducing the risk and number of combined sewer overflows from overburdened sewage systems; … improves water quality and facilitates the recharging of ground water resources; … improves air quality by capturing airborne pollutants and filtering out harmful gases; … is more labour intensive than conventional forms of grey infrastructure, thereby creating more local and regional jobs in manufacturing, design, installation and maintenance; … complements grey infrastructure by extending the life expectancy of concrete, asphalt, and waterproofing systems;
… improves local property values and increases local tax revenues; … enhances urban livability by providing opportunities for walking, bicycling, outdoor recreation and active lifestyles that reduce obesity and improve public health; … facilitates community planning, community cohesion and involvement; … supports numerous opportunities for local urban and suburban food production and social justice; … encourages environmental education and community empowerment; … supports renewable energy through beneficial use of biomass and improves rooftop solar PV performance; … provides a place for native plant species, bees and birds; and … supports improved mental and physical health within our communities.
Be it resolved that: … the many proven benefits of Living Green Infrastructure warrant a strong, focused and immediate policy and funding commitment; … we fundamentally rethink the ways we invest in infrastructure and reimagine how we could design and rebuild our metropolitan and urban neighborhood areas; … business, union, government and community leaders endorse Living Green Infrastructure as a national, provincial/state and local/regional government priority; and … governments: Recognize Living Green Infrastructure as an important type of infrastructure in all relevant policies and programs, and redirect funding for implementation of green infrastructure projects in our communities; Establish performance targets for Living Green Infrastructure such as a doubling of the urban tree canopy, and a 25 per cent reduction in the overheating of our communities; Fund Green Infrastructure planning, training and technical assistance for local communities; Support research into best practices and performance metrics and apply these measures to ensure accountability and track progress in our communities; Update building codes to encompass Living Green Infrastructure, and add compliance measures for water and air regulations that include living green infrastructure solutions; Lead by example in terms of adapting publicly owned buildings and land use practices to incorporate Living Green Infrastructure; and Encourage regulatory agencies to allow energy, transportation and water utilities to provide funding for Living Green Infrastructure for their own facilities and lands and to their broader customer community as a demand side management tool.
Go to greenroofs.org/declaration and sign on to the principles of this declaration, to act upon its recommendations and to call upon the pri...