At the landscape level, a green infrastructure network includes park and trail systems, green spaces, and open vistas that improve our quality of life, create wildlife habitat, and provide for cleaner air and water. Permanent protection of these features can be accomplished by land preservation and the use of Low Impact Development (LID) techniques, which limit the impact of development by concentrating improvements to areas where they are most appropriate.
Limiting earth disturbance and hard, impervious surfaces to as small a footprint as possible reduces the need for gray infrastructure: pipes, curbs, inlets, and detention structures that disrupt the natural way water flows through our communities.
When the disruption of natural water flow is unavoidable, green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) can provide significant water quality protection. Using GSI features—extended detention, bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs—a designer puts plants between sky and soil, and soil between plants and streams, recreating and better mimicking the natural processes that allow water to soak into the earth.