Regulating Green: Is Your Municipality Promoting Green Infrastructure?

Zoning Practice — September 2010

By Mami Hara, AICP, David Rouse, FAICP


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Green infrastructure is an approach to development that closely replicates the hydrological functions of nature and harnesses the natural forces of wind, sun, water, and geothermal heat. Development of green infrastructure in urban environments often entails retrofit of traditional "gray" infrastructure such as streets and other paved areas. in addition to features such as street trees and rain gardens, such development can necessitate inclusion of traditional infrastructure components such as cisterns, sections of pipe for conveyance of stormwater to a specific part of a site, or grates to protect pedestrians from changes in grade.

Green infrastructure maintains or enhances the value and functions of natural ecosystems, while bringing a range of associated social and economic benefits. With increasing use of a triple-bottom-line approach to assessing public costs and benefits, investments in green infrastructure are becoming increasingly compelling.

This issue of Zoning Practice provides and overview of the regulatory context for green infrastructure and uses case studies of Atlanta and Philadelphia to illustrate how planning, policy, and regulation can be used to promote green infrastructure at the local level.


Page Count
Date Published
Sept. 1, 2010
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American Planning Association

About the Authors

Mami Hara, AICP

David Rouse, FAICP
David Rouse, FAICP, ASLA is a consultant, educator, and author with over 40 years of experience in urban and regional planning and design. From 2013 to 2019, he served as Managing Director of Research and Advisory Services for APA, where he supervised programs and initiatives such as Green Communities, Planning and Community Health, the Sustaining Places Comprehensive Plan Standards, and Planning for Autonomous Vehicles. Prior to joining APA David was a principal at the planning and design firm Wallace Roberts & Todd in Philadelphia, where many of his projects received professional awards for excellence. David's areas of expertise include comprehensive planning, green infrastructure, and planning for emerging technologies. With Rocky Piro, he co-authored The Comprehensive Plan: Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Communities for the 21st Century, published in 2022 by Routledge Press.