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Open Space and Green Infrastructure

Open Space and Green Infrastructure

Impermeable surfaces such as concrete, asphalt and compacted soils do not allow water to infiltrate. In watersheds with a lot of impermeable surfaces, stormwater races downhill, gathering speed and picking up dirt and debris along the way. If storm drains become clogged with that debris, the stormwater has nowhere to go, and flooding occurs

Large floods are uncommon in watersheds where there are lots of open spaces and permeable surfaces like fields and parks that allow water to infiltrate, or where there are wetlands that buffer flood effects.

Urban communities that want to reduce flooding know they must slow down the runoff and increase the number of permeable surfaces in their cities. They can do this by incorporating green infrastructure into planning and design of their neighborhoods, business districts, and transportation and drainage systems. That way they turn a nuisance – stormwater – into a valuable resource that nourishes parks and other green spaces.


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