Green Infrastructure


Investments in so called “green” infrastructure solutions such as wetland restoration or agricultural best management practices are increasingly recognized as cost effective ways to achieve environmental quality outcomes relative to investments in “gray” infrastructure such as wastewater treatment or water filtration plants. For example, the Center for Neighborhood Technology asserts “[t]he research shows that green infrastructure measures are as effective as conventional approaches in relieving flooding, and can be installed more cheaply and quickly.” Moreover, green infrastructure is considered a lasting source of ecosystem service benefits for communities that appreciates rather than depreciates over time.

greeninfrastructure1CSE and other partners have pioneered an analytical technique for quantifying the economic and financial tradeoffs between green and gray infrastructure in three decision-making contexts: (1) disaster risk reduction; (2) regulatory compliance, and (3) infrastructure investment. This technique – green vs. gray analysis (GGA) – extends conventional public infrastructure analysis models used to evaluate the cost effectiveness of technological solutions like new reservoirs by factoring the unique role wetlands, forests, riparian zones and other green infrastructure elements can play in enhancing water quality and flow or achieving other environmental objectives. GGA is used to determine whether investing in these green infrastructure options is a more cost-effective approach.


Pay for Performance: Maximizing the Impact of BMP Investments

Pay for Performance: Maximizing the Impact of BMP Investments

Agricultural best management practices (BMPs) such as streamside buffer zones and cover crops are increasingly being used to reduce nutrient pollution from fertilizers into water bodies. Eutrophication from fertilizer runoff is the key driver behind growth of hypoxic “dead zones” where fish production comes to a standstill. The extent of ... Read More

Hawaii’s FARM Center Showcases Innovative Model of Agro-Forest Restoration

Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE) is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Hawaii-based Forest Agriculture Research Management Center (FARM) to propagate an innovative model of forest restoration designed to manage watersheds as successional agro-forests. FARM Center’s mission is to assist in the recovery and vitalization of our planet’s ... Read More
Baltimore’s Stormwater Management Plan Will Generate Significant Social and Economic Returns

Baltimore’s Stormwater Management Plan Will Generate Significant Social and Economic Returns

In December 2014 the City of Baltimore released an ambitious management plan for reducing stormwater pollution from nearly 24,000 acres of pavement within City limits. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediments contained in this stormwater are responsible for recurring hypoxic “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay devoid of fish, crabs, and other ... Read More