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Raising the standard: Developing a benchmark for green infrastructure

Sinnett, Danielle; Jerome, Gemma; Smith, Nicholas; Burgess, Sarah; Mortlock, Roger


Gemma Jerome

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Nicholas Smith
AHOD in Geography & Planning Cluster Leader

Sarah Burgess

Roger Mortlock


© 2018 WIT Press Green infrastructure (GI) is globally recognised as an essential component of liveable and sustainable places. It is valued for its multifunctionality and the connectedness of the individual features to each other, the surrounding countryside and urban populations. It brings together many land uses (e.g. parks, gardens, cemeteries, allotments, nature reserves, surface water), urban design (e.g. street trees, landscaping) and functional features (e.g. sustainable urban drainage systems, green roofs) operating at differing spatial scales. It is widely acknowledged that GI is the primary mechanism for delivering ecosystem services in towns and cities, and there is a substantial body of research demonstrating the multiple benefits of GI to urban populations. Despite this evidence base, there is still considerable uncertainty about the best way to design, deliver and maintain GI. This paper presents an emerging benchmark that has been developed through a combination of literature review and engagement with key stakeholders. It provides a suite of standards that are flexible enough to be used across different spatial scales depending on the specific needs of the location, covering the form and function of GI including nature conservation, water management, health and well-being, environmental and design quality. It allows an assessment of GI policy, and the planning, design, delivery and long-term management of GI in new and existing places, ensuring that current good practice is adopted at all stages. The development of the benchmark to date is summarised along with the outcome of preliminary testing using the outline planning applications for two contrasting mixed-use developments. This found that the benchmark performed well, with standards set at a level to ensure that high-quality GI is rewarded but without requiring a level of GI provision and quality that would only be expected on truly exemplary developments. Plans for the future development and testing of the benchmark are provided.


Sinnett, D., Jerome, G., Smith, N., Burgess, S., & Mortlock, R. (2018). Raising the standard: Developing a benchmark for green infrastructure. International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, 13(2), 226-236.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 30, 2017
Online Publication Date Oct 1, 2017
Publication Date Jan 1, 2018
Journal International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning
Print ISSN 1743-7601
Electronic ISSN 1743-761X
Publisher WIT Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 2
Pages 226-236
Keywords green infrastructure, planning, urban design, landscape architecture
Public URL
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