Municipal budget officers have long been familiar with the intricacies of capital improvement planning, which allows governments to align infrastructure investments with their communities long-range comprehensive plans.
Conventional stormwater management systems (often called "gray") contain stormwater runoff in reservoirs and massive underground pipes and tunnels — large scale public works projects — to prevent polluted runoff from draining directly into waterways. Green infrastructure uses largely natural processes (trees, soil, floodplains, and wetlands) to retain and treat stormwater at its source, reducing the amount of water and improving the quality of the water that eventually enters a community's waterways. Because a system based on natural vegetation is inherently different from one based on concrete, these types of projects have unique characteristics that, when compared to traditional gray infrastructure, require special consideration in the budget process.
About the Author
Jennifer Henaghan, AICP
Jennifer Henaghan, AICP, is APA's Deputy Research Director.