Green infrastructure such as green walls, raingardens, and wetlands can increase the sustainability and liveability of cities through benefits like greening, habitat, cooling, water quality and waterway health. As our cities try to manage hotter weather conditions, higher flood risks and more pollution, green infrastructure can play an important role in improving liveability.
Explore our research on green infrastructure including research findings, reports and applications.
Research findings and reports
Our extensive research has uncovered some valuable information on green infrastructure:
- This thought piece sets out the agenda for transformative cities, and advocates using hybrid systems to drive this transformation. These hybrid systems combine critical existing infrastructure with flexible decentralised local solutions as part of their urban renewal program. (Harnessing hybrid systems for transformative cities)
- Green infrastructure can perform multifunctional roles from increasing water quantity and quality to improving amenity and biodiversity. (Green-blue infrastructure for sustainable cities: innovative socio-technical solutions bringing multifunctional value)
- Widespread implementation of raingardens can bring the catchment water balance closer to its pre-development state. (Water retention by raingardens: implications for local-scale soil moisture and water fluxes)
- Managing the many sources of stormwater runoff, green infrastructure presents the best opportunity for managing stormwater impacts. (Blueprint 2103)
- Green infrastructure can support old drainage systems to cope with increased runoff, delaying upgrade works. (Retrofitting urban drainage capacity to cope with change: a case study for Nhiec Loc – Thi Nighe Basin change in Ho Chi Minh City)
- The benefits of green infrastructure, such as passively irrigated street trees and wetlands, can significantly outweigh the costs. (INFFEWS Benefit–Cost Analysis Tool Booklet of applied examples)
You will find a range of research reports on green infrastructure under the categories below.
Drainage and hydrology
- An interdisciplinary and catchment approach to enhancing urban flood resilience: a Melbourne case
- Modelling of green roof hydrological performance for urban drainage applications
- Source-control stormwater management for mitigating the impacts of urbanisation on baseflow: A review
- Factors that affect the dydraulic performance of raingardens: implications for design and maintenance
- Methodologies for pre-validation of biofilters and wetlands for stormwater treatment
- Verifying a stormwater biofiltration model
- Stormwater biofilters: a new validation modelling tool
Water quality and treatment
- Seasonal operation of dual-mode biofilters: The influence of plant species on stormwater and greywater treatment
- Quantifying sediment export from an urban development site: Heron Park
- Dual-mode stormwater-greywater biofilters: the impact of alternating water sources on treatment performance
- Biofilters and wetlands for stormwater treatment and harvesting
- Integrated multifunctional urban water systems: key findings from project C4.1
- Optimising nitrogen removal in existing stormwater biofilters: benefits and tradeoffs of a retrofitted saturated zone
- A preliminary model on E.coli removal in stormwater biofilters
- Validation framework for water-sensitive urban design treatment systems
- Health risk assessment of urban stormwater
Our research on green infrastructure has been applied to a range of projects, including:
- The Scenario Tool worked example: Highett Gasworks demonstrates how the tool was used to assess how various development options will impact urban heat and the water cycle in a hypothetical development at the Highett Gasworks.
- In Kings Square in Perth, a network of raingardens were constructed into the streetscape to provide stormwater treatment, protect groundwater flows into the Swan River, improve the long term health of street trees, enhance amenity, and integrate with the surrounding built form.
- A wetland project in China’s Jiangsu province improved the water quality of five large park lakes to provide water treatment, water recirculation, and flooding storage within a park landscape.
- Angus Creek Stormwater Harvesting system in Blacktown NSW supplies up to 200 ML of fit-for-purpose water per year from storage ponds, floating wetland rafts, and wetland and screen filters. It also provides chlorination and UV disinfection services.
- The Sydenham to Bankstown urban renewal project demonstrates how green infrastructure can reduce impacts of development at a range of scales and locations in an urban growth corridor.
- Liveability outcomes in infill development are achievable in a range of configurations using green infrastructure.
- A development at Officer (in Melbourne, Vic) demonstrates how green infrastructure such as biosponges achieve a range of community and environmental outcomes.
You'll find more applications of green infrastructure research below:
- Kings Square raingardens
- Forest Park ecological wetland
- Randolph Avenue streetscape upgrade
- Angus Creek stormwater and reuse scheme
- Ideas for the Subiaco Strategic Resource Precinct
- Ideas for Fishermans Bend
- Solutions for Norman Creek
- One Central Park Green Walls
- Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor, On Ground Opportunities
- Ideas for Townsville
- Eric Singleton Constructed Wetland: Monitoring and assessment for optimal stormwater treatment performance
- Collaborative planning for the Fishermans Bend Urban Redevelopment
- Assessment of non-market benefits of implementing large-scale WSUD: Greening the Pipeline Case study
- Ideas for Queens Park Regional Open Space
- Salisbury case study final report: Water sensitive outcomes for infill development
- Green walls, roofs and facades in the City of Melbourne
- Victorian Planning Provisions Amendment (V154 – Stormwater management) case study
- Marrickville West Primary School eco water garden
- Wanyarram Dhelk case study
Tools and guidelines
Several tools, guidelines and frameworks have been developed for use by practitioners including:
- Adoption guidelines for green treatment technologies demonstrate how green and living walls can treat stormwater and greywater.
- Adoption guidelines for stormwater biofiltration systems highlight the flexibility of scale and application of biofilters.
- The Policy framework for water sensitive urban design in 5 Australian cities can help practitioners understand how green infrastructure, like wetlands and biofilters, fit into a broader range of mechanical treatment options like media filtration systems and UV disinfection.
- The Water Sensitive Cities Scenario Tool assists with planning urban development, water networks and population over time to assess optimal water sensitive city scenarios.
The following infographics can be useful for demonstrating urban heat concepts:
Stormwater treatment technologies achieving specific end-use water quality requirements (Wong et al., 2013. blueprint2013 – stormwater management in a water sensitive city. Melbourne, Australia: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, p. 30.)
Effectiveness of plant species in stormwater filters (Deletic et al., 2014. Biofilters and wetlands for stormwater treatment and harvesting. Melbourne, Australia: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, p. 23.)
Key processes influencing the porosity and pore structure of a raingarden’s surface and consequently the infiltration behaviour (Virahsawmy et al., 2014. ‘Factors that affect the hydraulic performance of raingardens: implications for design and maintenance’, Water Science and Technology, 69(5), pp. 982-988.)
Conceptual models of nitrogen cycling pathways (Roberts et al., 2018. Effectiveness of nitrogen removal using urban wetlands – summary report: Monash University component of Project B2.2/B2.3. Melbourne, Australia: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, various pages.)
Images of green infrastructure and their benefits and costs (CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, 2020. INFFEWS benefit cost analysis tool: booklet of applied examples. Melbourne, Australia, various pages.)