Whose Green Is It Anyway? The Challenges of Operating Green Infrastructure in Residential Neighborhoods

Authors: Nermin Dessouky*, University of California
Topics: Urban Geography, Middle East
Keywords: Green Infrastructure, Nonwestern, Small-scale
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Jefferson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Announcements of zero energy communities, ecovillages, green neighborhoods, and many other communities which utilizes green infrastructure in its design are common among knowledge platforms. Yet follow-ups on how these communities perform after the operation are rare. The small-scale application of green infrastructure in residential neighborhoods brings many challenges in operation, maintenance and shared responsibilities that are not evident on the scale of the city. The term infrastructure often implies a technical side that does not need the resident’s involvement, which results in conflicting perceptions of expectations and responsibilities. The paper presents the study of a neighborhood development project in Dubai UAE and its incorporation of many of the mainstream western green infrastructure designs such as water recycling and urban farms. The paper will discuss the operation challenges which reflect the dynamics of local applications and shared responsibilities between the management and the residents. The main objective is to discuss the utilization of green infrastructure designs in a nonwestern small-scale context and map the different obstacles faced due to its unique circumstances in terms of location, climate, local regulations, and culture. The paper utilizes data collected over the first three years of operation including 47 interviews with both the residents and management. The findings indicate the need for mainstreaming a more flexible and realistic image of green infrastructure that involves the users while contemplating both the success and failures.

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