Green infrastructure


Green infrastructure refers to the public and private green spaces in our cities that provide water cycle benefits. These green spaces range in scale from single trees in a city street to golf courses, parks and waterway corridors. Some are natural, such as remnant native vegetation, while others are more engineered, for example green roofs, green walls, biofilters and raingardens.

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:

You will find a range of research reports on green infrastructure under the categories below.

Research application

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:

Tools and guidelines

Several tools, guidelines and frameworks have been developed for use by practitioners including:


The following infographics can be useful for demonstrating urban heat concepts:

Infographic 1

Biofilter design with submerged zone (Wong et al., 2013. blueprint2013 – stormwater management in a water sensitive city. Melbourne, Australia: CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, p. 29.)

Infographic 2

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.)

Infographic 3

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.)

Infographic 4

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.)

Infographic 5

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.)

Infographic 6

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.)

Infographic 7

Infill design typologies incorporating green infrastructure (Meng X and Kenway S, 2018. ‘Analysing water sensitive urban design options’. Water e-journal, 3(4), p. 3.)