From the Alliance for Community Trees, Seattle, WA (April 2, 2014):
University of Washington researcher Kathleen L. Wolf recently made the case in "Stormwater Report" for trees and green infrastructure to both manage stormwater runoff and also offer a host of health benefits. According to Wolf, “Every small patch of nature in cities and built areas can be ‘hyperfunctional’ and provide co-benefits. While performing the primary purpose of stormwater management, green infrastructure also can be designed to augment park systems and provide places of respite, recreation, and delight.“
The article, “Water and Wellness: Green Infrastructure for Health Co-Benefits,” shows that “with careful design, green spaces can manage runoff and provide a range of co-benefits. Integrated planning of green infrastructure and parks systems helps to cost-effectively provide multiple benefits and contributes to more livable communities.”
Wolf studies the human dimensions of urban forestry and urban greening. In this roundup of research, she outlines the great opportunity for bridging urban forestry and urban greening into the realms of public works and civil engineering.
Wolf cites precedent for this approach. While once land use was segregated, today green infrastructure installations can be integrated with citywide parks and green spaces. And designing green infrastructure for stormwater management as well as co-benefits, particularly human health, can include a broader set of economic returns. “Green infrastructure that provides better human habitat is a win-win for community buy-in.”
Wolf reports on a the small but growing sample of evidence about the importance of nearby nature in cities and towns, and the benefits to the environment and human well-being. Here are a few of the benefits she highlights and how they can co-exist with green infrastructure to support stormwater management:
Read the full article, “Water and Wellness: Green Infrastructure for Health Co-Benefits.” Visit Green Cities: Good Health, a University of Washington project which features a collection of more than 2,800 scholarly works, most peer reviewed, which demonstrate how trees, parks, gardens, and natural areas enhance quality of live, and improve human health.
Photo credit: Kathleen Wolf
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