Green Infrastructure Plans For Houston-Galveston
Galeveston Bay. Photo courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr
Greater Houston is America’s sixth-largest metroplex—and growing. In less than 30 years, the Houston-Galveston area is expected to gain 3.5 million people, bringing the area population to nearly 10 million. Now is the time for officials, planners, builders and other regional leaders to establish strategies that ensure the area remains competitive and attractive. Planning for a greener region is one such strategy.
In a recent survey by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), 95% of respondents agreed that steps should be taken to preserve the region’s wetlands, forests, prairies and shorelines.
Now, we have developed a toolkit of maps and analysis for regional leaders to take these steps strategically. Working in collaboration with H-GAC and Houston Wilderness, and with support from several local foundations, we have crafted a green infrastructure network and ecosystem service planning initiative to:
- Inform land use policy and development decisions with sound, shared science.
- Encourage development into strategic locations.
- Save money by strategically addressing flooding, food production and livability.
- Enhance current green and gray infrastructure planning.
- Inform growth scenarios, so development is purposeful and public.
- Identify programs, policies, and financing mechanisms to implement conservation.
By preserving the best natural areas, directing development away from flood-prone regions, and ensuring that residents have safe and easy access to local parks, trails and green space, the Houston-Galveston area can achieve lasting benefits in water management, air quality, climate, and community livability.
These benefits include costs savings that can be calculated and environmental rewards that will endure for generations.