Increasingly, city governments are facing major costs for maintaining water infrastructure and water quality.
Through a series of interconnected and multidisciplinary working groups, this project will explore new ideas, approaches, and governance models involved in integrating ecosystem services proactively in the urban and regional planning and policy processes, and the potential for this to result in better environmental and social outcomes.
Creating a framework to integrate ecosystem services in the planning process brings the possibility for new ideas. This project can explore how to estimate the scale of benefits possible if ecosystem services were maximized within an urban system, and how this threshold will change with climate, physiography and spatial scale. As population increases, is there an optimum balance between green and gray infrastructure? If so, what does that look like? Is there some threshold for diminishing return on investment? How does that relationship change with region and scale? Can this knowledge inform the policy and planning process? What kind of governance structures and regulations can help?
This work is funded through the generous support of the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative.