The politics of multifunctional green infrastructure planning in New York City

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88 Scopus citations


Cities are expanding green infrastructure and presenting it as a panacea for social and environmental challenges, but the reality is more complex and inherently political. We need to advance our understanding of these politics, which I divide into the politics of green infrastructure performance and planning. I use New York City as a case study to begin unpacking these politics of planning. New York City's green infrastructure program focuses on water quality, but aims to provide other sustainability benefits. How are potential benefits prioritized, factored into planning, and what are the implications of these decisions? I examine these questions by combining spatial analyses, survey, and interview data. I survey local stakeholders about the relative importance of six benefits of green infrastructure (managing stormwater, reducing social vulnerability, increasing access to green space, improving air quality, mitigating the urban heat island effect, and increasing landscape connectivity). Second, I use spatial multi-criteria analysis to identify priority neighborhoods for green infrastructure based on those criteria. I examine tradeoffs and synergies between criteria and compare modeled priorities with existing green infrastructure locations. Interviews with key decision-makers provide a deeper understanding of planning processes. Results illustrate why spatial planning represents a critical challenge for green infrastructure planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102621
StatePublished - May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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