Green Infrastructure

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In Fall 2015, the Green Infrastructure Center Inc. (GIC) and Virginia Department of Forestry provided the City of Hampton with an in-kind grant of technical assistance to help our community map, evaluate and plan for conserving our best natural resources. Our project is focused on the Downtown and Kecoughtan Master Plan areas in the City. The grant provides free technical assistance for our locality to create green infrastructure maps and plans that meet local needs and protect or enhance our highest valued natural assets.

Overview


The Green Infrastructure Community Planning Grant (GICPG) is administered by the nonprofit GIC with support from the Virginia Department of Forestry and funding from the Southern Region of the USDA Forest Service. Our locality will use the information to provide direction for future efforts to plan or restore natural assets (e.g. tree plantings). We will be placing additional priority on those natural resources that are important from an environmental standpoint, and provide community benefits as well.

GIC project area
GIC Project Area (in pink)

How This Work Can Help Us!


  • We can increase biodiversity and ecological resilience!
  • We can make smarter investments in community water, trees, trails, and parks!
  • We can create a healthier community since the greener the community, the cleaner the air and water and the greater the options to exercise outdoors!
  • We can prevent excessive stormwater runoff and flooding by increasing infiltration!
  • We can make our community more attractive to businesses!

Green Infrastructure Planning Overview


Green infrastructure includes intact forests, tree canopy, wetlands, dune systems, parks and rivers, or agricultural soils that provide clean water, air quality, wildlife habitat and food. These natural assets create healthy communities and sustain the local economy. However, if we don't know where our green infrastructure is located, we can lose it over time. Communities can reap many benefits from their natural systems if they identify, rank and map them as part of the community’s “infrastructure.” Communities create maps and strategies to form a green infrastructure plan. These plans can help facilitate development in ways that reduce its impact on the landscape, or to restore environmental functionality where it has been lost. There are also many social benefits too! For example, assessing trees and planting more can reduce asthma rates, crime and utility bills!

Communities can use their green infrastructure plans for many purposes such as revitalizing a downtown business district, protecting current and future water supplies, protecting or expanding their economy, creating healthful cities, protecting wildlife and biodiversity, providing or identifying new outdoor recreation options, informing transportation, comprehensive plans or zoning decisions. Example plans are available and can be found on GIC’s website at http://www.gicinc.org/projects.htm

This is not a planning process for site design or master plans – this planning work is intended for a broader scale. This is green infrastructure planning at the landscape scale. It is not stormwater best management practices such as raingardens, green rooftops or constructed wetlands. For example plans and definitions see www.gicinc.org and select projects to see planning examples at large scales.

Process


Our locality is participating actively in the mapping effort including conducting data analysis, planning assessment and helping to identify priorities and implementation opportunities.

Our community will be engaged through a stakeholder committee and the Planning Commission. Once we have maps available to review, we’ll invite the community to comment on them as well.

With assistance from GIC, our community will create a prioritized base map of the green infrastructure and themed overlay maps to highlight important related features such as water resources, outdoor recreation, forestry, etc.

Questions?


Contact Lucy Stoll, City Planner, at 757-727-6301 or by email.
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