COLOUR COORDINATING: “It’s time to design smarter 21st century systems that restore and maintain green infrastructure as a critical component of urban resilience and vitality,” says Jan Cassin, Water Initiative Director, Forest Trends Foundation (September 2019)

Note to Reader:

Forest Trends works to conserve forests and other ecosystems through the creation and wide adoption of a range of environmental finance, market, and other payment and incentive mechanisms. Beginning in 1996, a small group of leaders from the forest industry, philanthropic community, and environmental groups began to meet to consider the array of challenges facing forest conservation and to identify common ground. 

In 1998, the group agreed on an organizational model for the new organization. Forest Trends would be a small, nimble, and responsive non-profit organization with three principal roles: convening market players to advance market transformations, generating and disseminating critical information to market players, and facilitating deals between different critical links in the value chains of new forestry.

Our forests, wetlands, urban green spaces, and sustainably-managed farms and ranches provide clean and reliable water for most of the world’s urbanites, yet they are often treated as little more than scenic intervals between cities. To save them, we should view them as real assets, just as valuable as our roads, dams, dykes, and wastewater treatment plants, argues Jan Cassen.

Jan Cassin is Director of Forest Trends’ Water Initiative, where she leads the organization’s work on scaling nature-based solutions for sustainable water management.

Blue-Green Infrastructure (photo credit: Ramboll Group, Denmark)

Color coordinating: How urban green infrastructure can build resilience

“Most of our attention has been on our gray infrastructure — the pipes, pumps, dams and treatment plants that provide safe drinking water, manage floods and provide water for irrigation and energy,” wrote Jan Cassins in an article published online by GreenBiz.

“While gray infrastructure is extremely important, another kind of infrastructure deserves much more attention — the natural, “green” infrastructure of forests, wetlands, floodplains, urban green spaces and well-managed farms and ranchlands.”

What can we do to re-imagine infrastructure?

“How can we move from viewing green infrastructure in terms of ‘nice to have’ extras, to putting green infrastructure at the center of how we value and invest in the infrastructure we need for vibrant, resilient cities? A number of innovations can move us in this direction,” stated Jan Cassin.

“Our forests, wetlands, sustainable farms and ranches and urban green spaces should be viewed as real assets, just as valuable as our roads, dams, levees and wastewater treatment plants. Cities should consider their natural assets, both inside and outside city boundaries, to address infrastructure challenges. What benefits do these assets provide? How do they help improve the performance, or reduce the vulnerability of gray infrastructure?”

To Learn More:

To read the complete article by Jan Cassin as published by GreenBiz, download a copy of Color coordinating: How urban green infrastructure can build resilience