A new video featuring the City of Lancaster’s Mayor Rick Gray and Director of Public Works Charlotte Katzenmoyer speaking to the emerging Green Infrastructure strategy the City is undertaking to reduce stormwater overflows and continue to build a healthy, vibrant community.
What are the benefits of green infrastructure?
There are lots and lots of benefits to green infrastructure. Here’s a quick summary:
The most obvious benefit is environmental. Green infrastructure:
- Cleans the water Access to clean drinking water is essential to life. Green infrastructure restores and protects the quality of surface and ground water providing a source of clean drinking water for many people.
- Manages stormwater By allowing water to soak into the ground or be temporarily held, green infrastructure reduces the amount of polluted stormwater flowing into the City’s combined sewer system.
- Cleans the air Air quality is a major factor that contributes to asthma and other health issues. Trees and other plant life absorb pollutants like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide and release oxygen, thereby naturally cleaning the air.
- Reduces energy use Homes surrounded by trees are naturally cooler during the summer months. Talk a walk down a street on a hot summer day and you’ll immediately notice the difference when you are on a shady, tree lined street. Cumulatively, trees can help reduce air temperatures in the City, which are typically higher than nearby rural areas because buildings, roads and other structures retain heat.
- Restores habitat Trees and other native plants provide a natural habitat for birds and other animals, which in turn helps to maintain the existing biodiversity of plant and animal life.
Green infrastructure makes dollars and sense! And…
- Increases property values Homes with trees or those that are located on tree-lined streets have higher resale values. A 2005 study by the University of Pennsylvania found that planting a tree within 50 feet of a house can increase its sale price by 10-15 percent.
- Benefits the local economy People who shop in neighborhoods where there is more green space will pay 10 percent more compared to when shopping in areas without green space.
- Costs less than gray infrastructure In contrast to gray infrastructure, green infrastructure costs significantly less to build and maintain because it is essentially mimicking natural habitat and doesn’t require energy to operate.
- Enhances a community’s livability Improving parks and recreation areas and adding more green space to a community enhances quality of life for residents and attracts more visitors who contribute to the local economy.
Living and working in and around significant green space has positive social effects including:
- Healthier people Green urban communities have lower rates of obesity and long-term health-related diseases.
- Less crime Research has also shown that green communities have less crime.
- Happier people People who regularly interact with nature tend to be happier.