Exploring Urban Residents’ Interest and Socio-ecological Value of Living Green Infrastructure in Philadelphia, PA

Authors: Annie Yachen Yuan*, University of Toronto - Mississauga, Tenley Conway, University of Toronto - Mississauga, Lara Roman, United States Department of Agriculture
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Social Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Environmental knowledge, socio-environmental relationships, green infrastructure, private yards, Philadelphia
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Living green infrastructure (GI) is an emerging concept that refers to trees and other vegetated spaces that contribute human benefits through ecosystem services. Recently, living GI has been adopted in landscape planning and policy because it provides a natural-based solution for storm water management and many other critical ecosystem services. Public awareness and involvement are essential for GI development and policy implementation, but knowledge of GI is mostly shared within professional fields with few studies examine residents’ knowledge and attitudes towards GI. We surveyed residents living in the City of Philadelphia, about environmental concerns to identify barriers and opportunities to GI installation and its long-term management. The project explores the following questions: (1) What knowledge do residents have about the concept of GI and specific local programs that promote GI? (2) Do GI program participants value GI differently than the general public? (3) What opportunities exist to promote public involvement in GI development? Results indicate that residents’ knowledge of living GI is limited and most also have relatively minimal concerns about urban flooding, the main focus of Philadelphia’s GI programs. GI program participants are not only more likely to have multiple GI features (e.g., trees, rain gardens, pollinator gardens) on their property than residents who have not participated in GI programs, but also are more likely to intend to install additional GI features in the future. The presentation will end with a discussion of the implication of these findings in the context of opportunities for GI expansion in residential landscapes.

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