How do heat and flood risk drive residential green infrastructure implementation in Phoenix, Arizona?

Sara Meerow, Alysha M. Helmrich, Riley Andrade, Kelli L. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Green infrastructure is an increasingly popular strategy to simultaneously address challenges associated with urbanization and global environmental change, including increased flooding and rising temperatures. While many cities aim to expand green infrastructure to deliver ecosystem services, their impacts will be limited without significant uptake on private property. Most studies and programs to date focus on public land, so little is known about what would motivate private residents to implement green infrastructure. This study addresses this gap, combining household survey and spatial data from the Phoenix metropolitan region in Arizona by examining what factors predict green infrastructure implementation, with a particular focus on flooding and heat risks. The results suggest that residents are generally aware of their relative exposure to these hazards, but their risk perceptions do not translate into increased implementation of green infrastructure. Prior experience of flood damage is a predictor of stormwater infrastructure implementation, but experience with heat did not impact planting vegetation to mitigate the effects of extreme temperatures. Instead, the decision to implement green infrastructure is likely constrained by limited capacity based on income and homeownership, which can impede people’s ability to make management decisions on private residential property. More research is needed to unpack the seemingly complex factors that shape residents’ decisions to implement green infrastructure on their property.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-1000
Number of pages12
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Climate change
  • Ecosystem services
  • Flooding
  • Green infrastructure
  • Heat
  • Risk perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Urban Studies


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