Published at 37 Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review 41 (2010)

Document Type



Green infrastructure is an economically and environmentally viable approach for water management and natural resource protection in urban areas. This Article argues that green infrastructure has additional and exceptional benefits for the urban poor which are not frequently highlighted or discussed. When green infrastructure is concentrated in distressed neighborhoods—where it frequently is not—it can improve urban water quality, reduce urban air pollution, improve public health, enhance urban aesthetics and safety, generate green collar jobs, and facilitate urban food security. To make these quality of life and health benefits available to the urban poor, it is essential that urban leaders remove both legal and policy barriers to implementing green infrastructure projects. This Article argues that overcoming these obstacles requires quantified methods and regulatory reform. Increased public financing and other incentives are also necessary. Furthermore, legal structures that facilitate green solutions must be put in place. Lastly, awareness of green infrastructure solutions among policy makers and the wider public must be enhanced so that our nation's more distressed urban populations may realize the benefits that such solutions yield.