As the 116th Congress begins work on legislation to close an estimated $2 trillion investment gap for national infrastructure modernization, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invite you to learn more about the economic, environmental, and public benefits of green infrastructure. Experts from ASLA’s interdisciplinary Blue Ribbon Panel on Climate Change and Resilience will discuss their report, Smart Policies for a Changing Climate, which outlines a bold vision for 21st century infrastructure investment to create healthy and resilient communities from coast to coast.
Executive Vice President and CEO, American Society of Landscape Architects
Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome
Senior Program Officer, Environment, The Kresge Foundation
Managing Principal, Sasaki Associates Inc.
Director, Department of Environmental Protection, Montgomery County, MD
Historically, federal policies and funding for public transportation, energy systems, and flood protection have focused primarily on “gray” infrastructure constructed of mostly non-permeable materials like concrete and asphalt. Much of that infrastructure is old and in serious need of repair or replacement, earning a “D” average grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for the last 21 years. But business-as-usual development practices that disrupt natural systems are increasingly putting communities at greater risk from extreme weather events. Policy and technical experts alike are now questioning the costs and risks posed by the traditional “pave the planet” approach.
Conversely, green infrastructure—or the “sponge city” approach—uses trees, plants and permeable hard surfaces to capture and filter stormwater to reduce pollution run-off, mitigate the urban heat-island effect, and provide community amenities and assets. More broadly, utilizing natural systems and integrating green infrastructure into the built environment can be the most cost effective solution for meeting multiple public policy objectives. Communities across the country are embracing these practices, but a national investment strategy will provide the greatest public good.