Green Infrastructure Resource Guide

This resource guide is aimed at providing practitioners involved in the planning and development of sustainable infrastructure projects with a better understanding of green infrastructure (GI) and identifying GI interventions that can be integrated into USAID projects.

The first section of the guide presents the definition of GI in the context of USAID’s activities and priorities, describes how GI can be used to help communities adapt to human induced and environmental stressors, and introduces the twelve benefits (represented by the icons below) that are associated with GI interventions.

Following the introductory section, a series of GI interventions are introduced to address eleven topics:

  1. Groundwater recharge for water security;
  2. Water retention and detention for water supply and ecosystem maintenance;
  3. Erosion control;
  4. Urban storm water management;
  5. Rural flood mitigation;
  6. Pollution abatement;
  7. Resilience to drought;
  8. Reduced urban heat island effects;
  9. Building energy efficiency;
  10. Food security; and
  11. Managing soil and slope stabilization after wildfires.

A general description is provided for each issue, which is followed by specific GI engineering design options that can be implemented to address the issues. Applicable benefits are discussed for each design option as well as the functional responses (i.e., how the benefits are realized) and relevant indicators to aid in monitoring the performance of a GI solution. Important elements for integrating community needs and local conditions into site-specific GI design are also presented, and examples are provided to illustrate how GI should be planned in coordination with community stakeholders and tailored to site-specific conditions.

The resource guide concludes with a discussion of how GI can be applied to various settings and scales, including urban, rural, and watershed landscapes, which require an understanding of the range of available opportunities and constraints. A discussion is also provided on how GI can build resiliency into the environment by reducing flooding impacts and leading to less emergency response situations.



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