Oxford researchers receive ‘Green Infrastructure’ funding

Two projects benefit from NERC’s £1.2 million Green Infrastructure Innovation Scheme.

Two Oxford University research projects are among those to gain from NERC’s recent £1.2 million green infrastructure research investment. Green infrastructure (GI), such as wetlands, verges, parks and gardens, provide many benefits to society and the built environment. However, these benefits are often overlooked by decision-makers, who struggle to quantify the full value of GI, and thus limit the scope for the inclusion of GI options in standard decision making. NERC’s funding aims to help overcome these challenges by supporting a number of innovative projects to help decision makers make better use of GI improve urban life, and create sustainable cities.

The first project, A National Scale Model of Green Infrastructure for Water Resources led by Professor Jim Hall, Director of the Environmental Change Institute (ECI), will explore how GI can be factored into national water resource planning. The project will consider how the benefits of new green infrastructure, such as new wetlands or forests can be evaluated, the robustness of such options in a changing climate, and how GI compares to conventional infrastructure. It builds upon earlier research on modelling water resource systems conducted by the Oxford team, adapting a pre-existing national water resource model to include both green and conventional water infrastructure. The research is expected to have significant implications for water resource management in the UK, helping to improve flood and drought management, against a backdrop of ever increasing pressure on water resources and ecosystems, in a changing climate.

The second project takes a more local focus. Tools for planning and evaluating green infrastructure – Bicester and beyond, led by the ECI’s Pam Berry, considers GI in the context of Bicester, a rapidly growing Oxfordshire market town set to double over the next 20 years under a government eco-towns initiative. This process not only puts pressure on existing GI, but also creates major scope to develop new green GI. Researchers will help develop planning tools to help decision-makers negotiate this process.

Further information on both these projects can be found below.

Project details

Project: Tools for planning and evaluating green infrastructure – Bicester and beyond

Researchers: Pam Berry, Alison Smith, Rob Dunford and Paula Harrison

Contact: For further information about this project please contact Dr Pam Berry or Alison Smith.

Project: A National Scale Model of Green Infrastructure for Water Resources

Researchers: Jim Hall, Mike Simpson, Matt Ives

Contact: For further information about this project please contact Professor Jim Hall or Dr Mike Simpson.

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