What is it?
Green Infrastructure is a network of systems that helps to allow a developed environment to perform as similar to nature as possible.
Why Is It Better?
Green Infrastructure systems can be categorized into a few bigger groups: Hardscapes (man-made, built environments), Softscapes (involving plants and other organisms), and Methodologies (ways of doing things).
Street pavements takes up a large area of physical footprint in urban settings. When it rains, most of the raindrops that falls onto the streets flows towards the street curb, down the road and into the sewer. If it is a heavy storm, lots of water suddenly flows into the sewer systems and sometimes the system cannot handle the volume of water and overflows (which is why you shouldn't swim in some rivers if it had rained recently). A good storm water management system can eliminate this problem. Thinking about the pavement material can contribute greatly to a good storm water management system
Here are some of the common paving materials and their pros and cons:
Cobblestone is common to older cities. Sometimes there are existing cobblestone paving that have been covered over by asphalt.
Asphalt paving came into fashion in the early 1900’s, when the oil industry needed somewhere to put the by-product of oil refining, and the auto industry wanted a smoother driving surface than cobblestone. Thus asphalt paved street happened.
Concrete street paving can be found in area with heavy duty traffic, since it can be very durable if properly designed and maintained
Pervious Concrete, in a nutshell, is concrete with gaps (imagine rice crispy treats) to allow water to flow through.
Other possibilities (but not limited to this):Solar roadway
Ground plant choice and maintenance practice based primarily on visual effect: single-species plant growth (lawn grass), which results in raking and the disposal of grass clipping and fall leave again for visual effect. But doing so reduces the fertility of soil that then requires artificial fertilizer. To maintain the single specie lawn, constant physical weeding or chemical poisoning is required, with increased hazard to pollute the greater environment or children and pets.
Also, lawn grass are typically not native to the area of planting, which results in the need of regular watering during the dry season.
Plant a variety of native species that can serve as food for human, insects, or city animals. Doing so will increase the biodiversity with several advantages: if one disease strike and kills off all of one specie, the rest are still there. The variety of living creatures reduces the need of artificial pesticide with their natural predators.
Plant food for human consumption- fresh vegetables, reduces living costs.
Visual appeal of having constant rotating stock of specimens in bloom and in fruit.
Planting as barrier (psychological or physical) to define land ownership. Can be used with fence or in place of fence
Not common- older houses have vines and ivy
Living wall (vines/a.k.a. plants that likes to climb upward): Use plants to buffer weather. Vines can be used to provide shade and evaporative cooling for the house, windbreak and possible food production (for human: grapes, hops, kiwi, gourds, peas, for animals: any flowering and berry bearing plants will do).
Living wall (plants in a vertical configuration): plant choice will be more limited to plants that are hardy to the area, do not require constant maintenance (since they are likely to be difficult to access), and wind resistant.
According to EPA, The average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day. To meet this demand, we have been pumping water from lakes, rivers, and the ground. In an urban setting, the water gets pumped to water treatment plants, then piped to our homes, through a fixture and then flows straight into the sewer pipes to either be treated in a sewage treatment plant, or straight into a body of water to start the natural process of recycling via evaporation and raining. But compared to the way it happened thousands of years ago, now much less water goes through the filtering process by percolating through the ground, resulting a much lower water table. This lack of ground water recharge, combined with less surface vegetation and more impervious surfaces, reduces the ground's capacity to retain water. As a result, cities tend to flood during heavy rain events, and bare soil and trash are washed away, further clogging the already overloaded sewer system. Cities are then forced to build larger sewage treatment plants to meet the rising demand, as we demand more and more convenience in our daily lives by using more water to irrigate our lawns, in-suite bathrooms, or leaving the tap running while washing our hands.