How Green Infrastructure Standards can deliver better placemaking

How Green Infrastructure Standards can deliver better placemaking

By Sophie Jones, Communications and Learning Manager

(Building with Nature)

The need to deliver a robust practical response to the climate, biodiversity and public health crises has never been more pressing. The UN secretary general António Guterres recently warned that the goal of limiting global heating to 1.5C is “gasping for breath”. Alongside this, the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, with more than one in seven native species facing extinction, and more than 40% of species in decline[1]. Many people are now observing these population declines directly in their own communities, as once familiar birds, such as swifts and house martins, are now on the red list for ‘highest conservation concern’[2]. Post-covid, public health is also still under pressure, with almost half the UK population living with a long-standing health problem[3] and 1 in 6 adults experiencing mental health issues[4]. Covid also highlighted the disparities in people’s access to natural spaces and increased interest in seeking out nature[5].

Better placemaking[6] can enable the built-environment to support positive local responses to the climate, biodiversity and public health crises, creating places that are good for people and the natural world, fostering community wellbeing, encouraging active lifestyles and improving the environment.

World of Water: Visualisation of entrance to visitor centre and cafe through new wetland feature (ep projects)

High-quality green infrastructure (GI) plays a critical role in placemaking, offering a nature-led design approach that delivers biodiversity gains, nature recovery and climate resilient development, whilst also delivering healthy, inclusive communities at a neighbourhood and landscape-scale, with practical and impactful nature-based solutions.

What is high-quality green infrastructure?

‘Green infrastructure is a network of multi-functional green space and other green features, urban and rural, which can deliver quality of life and environmental benefits. Green infrastructure is not simply an alternative description for conventional open space. It includes parks, open spaces, playing fields, woodlands – and street trees, allotments, private gardens, green roofs and walls, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and soils. It includes rivers, streams, canals and other water bodies, …


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