On December 17, 2015, the NADO Research Foundation, in partnership with the University of Louisville Center for Environmental Policy & Management’s Environmental Finance Center, hosted a webinar titled Regional Engagement for Green Infrastructure Decision Making & Implementation. In cities, towns, and regions throughout the country, green infrastructure has emerged as a powerful tool for enhancing community livability, economic competitiveness, and resilience in the face of a changing climate. At the regional level, green infrastructure is defined more broadly as an interconnected system of local interventions or a larger network of natural lands, working landscapes, and open spaces that provide a range of eco-system services. Since these complex systems often span local jurisdictional boundaries, regional development organizations (RDOs) and other regional planning entities throughout the country are increasingly recognizing their growing role in the evolution of green infrastructure.
The webinar showcased two regional green infrastructure decision-making approaches. Developers of the Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Scenarios Tool shared how the tool helps decision makers understand the multiple benefits of green infrastructure using a system dynamics simulation that tracks the stocks of green and grey infrastructure based on a user’s decisions about allocation of investment. Elizabeth Sawin, Co-Director of Climate Interactive and Ben Gramling, Environmental Health Director of Sixteenth Street Community Health Center described the engagement process for the development and utilization of the tool which included consultation with a broad group of partners and advisors in the region.
In addition, developers of Low Impact Development: Opportunities for the PlanET Region shared the evolution of this visually rich resource designed to help municipalities, developers and the general public on understanding best practices. Jeff Welch, Director of Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization and Brad Collette, Assistant Professor at UT College of Architecture and Design highlighted methods for regional stakeholder engagement in green infrastructure decision making, with special emphasis on nontraditional and underrepresented groups.
- Elizabeth Sawin, PhD, Co-Director, Climate Interactive
- Ben Gramling, Environmental Health Director, Sixteenth Street Community Health Center
- Jeff Welch, AICP, Director, Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization
- Brad Collett, Assistant Professor, UT College of Architecture and Design
- Andrea Pompei Lacy, Research Facilitator, University of Louisville Center for Environmental Policy and Management
- Sara James, Program Manager, NADO Research Foundation