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Design, Implementation and Cost Elements of Green Infrastructure Projects


Design, Implementation and Cost Elements of Green Infrastructure Projects

The study contributes to the EU’s post-2010 biodiversity policy and the development of the upcoming EU strategy on green infrastructure

Ecologic Institute and GHK produced a comprehensive overview of the design, implementation and cost efficiency of green infrastructure projects in the EU to solidify the understanding of this concept. The study was presented at the workshop "Insights from Green Infrastructure projects in the EU", held in Brussels on 17 January 2012. Given the cross-sectoral nature and relevance of the subject, attendees included representatives from DG Environment, DG Clima and DG Regio, amongst others. The study contributes to the EU’s post-2010 biodiversity policy and the development of the upcoming EU strategy on green infrastructure. The final report is available for download.

The increasingly fragmented nature of European habitats as a result of human-induced land cover change and land use intensification necessitates the integration of biodiversity and habitat considerations into other policies and sectors (such as agriculture, forestry, water, marine and fisheries, regional and cohesion policy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, transport, energy and land use policy) in order to strengthen ecological coherence within Europe. The planned EU strategy on green infrastructure aims to address this issue and reconnect fragmented natural areas, maintain healthy ecosystems and restore damaged habitats as well as to provide solutions to climate change adaption. Investing in and building up Green Infrastructure needs smart and integrated approaches to spatial planning to ensure that Europe's limited land is turned into areas capable of providing multiple functions for nature and society. In the planned strategy, particular attention is paid to strengthening the integration of green infrastructure aspects in the EU’s various funding programmes (e.g. structural and cohesion funds, CAP, LIFE+) throughout the current and future financial programming period starting in 2013.

This project aimed to support the development of an EU-wide strategy for green infrastructure as part of the EU’s post-2010 biodiversity policy by improving the understanding of green infrastructure projects in terms of their design, implementation, funding process and cost-and benefit ratios. More specifically, the project aimed to identify all kinds of green infrastructure projects and measures, both in rural and urban areas in the EU, including e.g. the restoration of nature, management of floodplains, sustainable urban drainage systems or cooling systems using green spaces, improving natural water retention and purification by reforestation, wetland restoration or soil management. The study focused on projects of EU relevance that are local/regional, national or transnational, explored how they have been designed and promoted and looked at how planning co-ordination between actors and cross-border cooperation, if applicable, have been achieved.



Naumann, Sandra, McKenna Davis, Timo Kaphengst, Mav Pieterse and Matt Rayment (2011): Design, implementation and cost elements of Green Infrastructure projects. Final report to the European Commission, DG Environment, Contract no. 070307/2010/577182/ETU/F.1, Ecologic institute and GHK Consulting.

Mav Pieterse
Matt Rayment
138 pp.
Project ID
Table of Contents

1 Executive summary
2 Introduction
2.1 Scope and objectives of the study
2.2 Evidence base
2.3 Analytical framework
3 Definition and typology of green infrastructure
3.1 Definition of green infrastructure
3.2 Typology of green infrastructure projects
3.3 Spectrum of green infrastructure projects
3.4 Application of typology - Selecting case studies
4 Initiation, design and implementation of green infrastructure projects
4.1 Drivers of green infrastructure projects
4.2 Green infrastructure design and implementation
4.2.1 Approaches to project set-up and management
4.2.2 Type and role of stakeholders involved
4.2.3 Building awareness, capacity building and stakeholder involvement
4.2.4 Financing of green infrastructure projects
4.2.5 Monitoring and evaluation
4.3 Barriers and enabling factors
4.3.1 Key barriers to the implementation of green infrastructure initiatives at the project level
4.3.2 Enabling factors for successful green infrastructure projects
4.4 Concluding remarks
5 Cost and benefits of green infrastructure projects
5.1 Introduction and methods
5.2 Costs of green infrastructure
5.2.1 Types of costs
5.2.2 Evidence from the database
5.2.3 Evidence from the case studies
5.3 Benefits of green infrastructure
5.3.1 Types of benefits
5.3.2 Evidence from the database
5.3.3 Evidence from the case studies
5.4 Comparison of costs and benefits
5.5 Discussion of grey vs. green infrastructure options
5.6 Issues regarding measurement and monitoring
5.7 Concluding remarks
6 Outlook/wider implications for EU and national and regional policy action
6.1 Recommendations for EU policy actions
6.2 Recommendations for regional and national policy actions
Annex: Project fiches

Green infrastructure, biodiversity, nature conservation, cost-benefit analysis, ecosystem-based approach, Natura 2000, connectivity, green networks, EU Member States, European Union, Europe