Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation: Conceptualizing urban green infrastructure

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM (MDT)
Room: Balcony K, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Organizers: Sara Meerow, Marissa Matsler
Chairs: Sara Meerow


There are numerous strategies that cities can take to enhance social-ecological resilience and adapt to climate change, but one of the most popular approaches is to expand green infrastructure. These nature-based solutions are increasingly presented as a panacea for many urban challenges. Yet definitions of green infrastructure vary. Some scholars and practitioners conceptualize it more narrowly as a decentralized approach to stormwater management, including bioswales, rain gardens, etc. The US Environmental Protection Agency also classifies nonvegetated pervious pavements as green infrastructure ( An alternative definition (e.g. Benedict and McMahon 2002) considers the entire network of natural and constructed vegetated areas in and surrounding a city as green infrastructure, everything from a street tree to a large conservation area. There are also those who argue for a blue-green infrastructure approach that combines water bodies and vegetation. These different definitions focus our attention on very different scales and services, which have implications for how they are managed: each of these different kinds of green infrastructure are the jurisdiction of a different city department, each with differing, and sometimes conflicting, mission statements; the public interacts with each kind of green infrastructure differently due to differing accessibility and visibility; and each kind of green infrastructure is paid for through different investment and funding mechanisms privileging specific kinds over others; just to name a few. We would like to propose an AAG panel that brings together different green infrastructure scholars to discuss the various conceptualizations and frameworks for green infrastructure.
Potential discussion questions may include:
• How do definitions of green infrastructure differ across disciplines and the theory-practice divide?
• What are the implications and tradeoffs of these different conceptualizations?
• Can we come up with a common framework to classify the various perspectives?


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Laura Schifman U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 20
Panelist Dustin Herrmann 20
Panelist Ian Mell University of Manchester 20
Panelist Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman University of Maryland 20
Panelist Dexter Locke Clark University 20

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