Assess the nature of the problem in your area


Credit: Climate UK


Consider the vulnerabilities of neighbourhoods and building types in your area using the Climate Just map tool as a starting point for understanding community needs. These can be supplemented with locally held information about the characteristics of neighbourhoods in your local area, including average amounts of green space in different communities and how they compare to the national average.


Identify the magnitude and likelihood of hazards associated with the changing climate, including flooding and heat-waves.

  • Consider how patterns of vulnerable groups and neighbourhood characteristics compare with patterns of potential exposure to flooding and heat-waves.
  • Draw on existing risk assessments, adaptation tools such as the UKCP09 projections and the UKCP18 (which will update UKCP09 over UK land areas and sea-level rise, giving greater regional detail) as well as other local information (for example following UKCIP's Local Climate Impacts Profile (LCLIP) process). See this example of an LCLIP for Greater Manchester.
  • Examine the impacts of extreme weather events including their location, timing, costs and the effectiveness of responses by using the Severe Weather Impacts Monitoring System (SWIMS) tool to record local experiences and support continuous learning.

Keep informed about emerging evidence, policy recommendations and tools through the National Ecosystem Services Assessment programme of activities, the Government’s Ecosystem Services guidance and the Town and country Planning Association (TCPA) Green Infrastructure Partnership.


Review the case studies in the Further Resources section to see what others have done.

Take ‘an ecosystems approach’ through which green infrastructure and its services can be considered throughout your decision making process. This is defined in the Government’s Ecosystem Services guidance as “a way of looking at the natural environment throughout your decision making process that helps you to think about the way that the natural environment works as a system. In doing so you will also be thinking about the spatial scale of your interactions with the natural environment, the range of constraints and limits at play and the people involved in supplying and receiving ecosystem services and benefits. Carrying out economic valuation of the ecosystem services involved will help you to incorporate the value of the natural environment in your decision”.


Consider the types of green space which can be established or enhanced in your local area. The National Ecosystem Services Assessment identified the following land uses as associated with urban green infrastructure:


  • natural and semi-natural greenspace (woodlands, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), urban forestry and scrub)
  • street trees
  • public parks and formal gardens
  • domestic gardens
  • green corridors
  • outdoor sports facilities and recreational areas
  • amenity greenspace
  • allotments, community gardens and urban farms
  • cemeteries, churchyards and burial grounds
  • previously developed land (brownfield)
  • water, e.g. lakes, ponds, rivers (including Sustainable Urban Drainage initiatives)
  • peri-urban areas (or the area between the edge of built up zones and the wider countryside)

Fine-scale and building-level interventions such as green/brown roofs and green walls can also be added to this list and this emphasises that initiatives can be established even where there is limited space. Individually benefits may be small, but each makes a contribution as part of wider greening strategies.


Review existing local plans for green infrastructure development, generate an evidence base and develop a set of actions. If a green infrastructure plan is not available, step-by-step guidelines are available.

  • See for example the Mersey Forest Guidelines and actions developed by the Landscape Institute3:
    • Identify the most locally important and achievable benefits for your specific local area. Refer back to the evidence identified at the start of this resource for more information.
    • Inventory existing resources and assess the potential for the introduction or improvement of elements of green infrastructure, including into vacant or previously developed land. Mapping resources and benefits can help to give new perspectives on existing resources and establish where interventions are most needed4.
    • Connect small initiatives into a larger whole, e.g. patches of green and blue spaces into corridors and networks.
    • Promote green infrastructure standards and goals within local planning activities
    • Develop partnerships of relevant organisations with a stake in delivering and benefiting from green infrastructure interventions, including with local businesses.
    • Ensure that maintenance issues are considered and accounted for.
    • Make specific consideration of the role of interventions in relation to managing the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.
    • Account for local characteristics in the development of interventions, including historical contexts.
    • Assess the benefits and potential drawbacks of green infrastructure and identify ways that these can be effectively managed. For example, local communities may have concerns about greening interventions, e.g. perceptions about street tree planting resulting in darker, less safe neighbourhoods, or how tree roots might impact building foundations.  Green infrastructure itself may also be affected by climate change5 and so schemes will need to consider which measures, vegetation species and management regimes will maximise resilience while continuing to yield a full set of benefits.


Consider issues of environmental justice and tackle inequalities in the distribution of green infrastructure benefits. Patterns of existing green spaces and their benefits are often disproportionately distributed and tend to benefit better off communities6. Improved consideration of patterns of greenspace size, quality and accessibility can help to redress some of the other social inequalities which exist between people and communities. Although large scale initiatives can yield important outcomes, these are not always possible. Furthermore, some researchers have suggested that smaller scale interventions may help to retain community cohesion and character over the longer term7


Use green infrastructure related interventions as a means of improving community engagement and cohesion. Community-based measures can help to develop and enhance social networks. Furthermore engagement on a green infrastructure related issue can help to provide the foundation for a two-way process of engagement on other local issues. 

See the map tool for more information.


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  1. Landscape Institute (2011) Local Green Infrastructure Helping communities make the most of their landscape
  2. Kazmierczak, A and Carter, J (2010) Adaptation to climate change using green and blue infrastructure. A database of case studies GRaBS project, University of Manchester 
  3. Landscape Institute (2011) Local Green Infrastructure Helping communities make the most of their landscape  
  4. Butlin et al (2011) The Value of Mapping Green Infrastructure
  5. Wilby, R.L. and Perry, G.L.W. (2006) Climate change, biodiversity and the urban environment: a critical review based on London, UK Progress in Physical Geography 30: 73-98 
  6. Wolch, J. R., Byrne, J., Newell, J. P (2014) Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’ Landscape and Urban Planning 125 234-244  
  7. Wolch, J. R., Byrne, J., Newell, J. P (2014) Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’ Landscape and Urban Planning 125 234-244.