This online course is for policy makers and professionals seeking to understand green infrastructure (GI) and its potential for managing the impacts of water in urban settings. Participants in this course will join the network of professionals engaged with the challenges and opportunities of blending nature and infrastructure.

Green infrastructure and related nature-based solutions are gaining widespread support as effective components of healthy city building as well as as climate adaptation strategies. The course provides an overview of how GI systems work, the benefits they can provide, and how they can be employed effectively. The 12 modules of the course lay out a comprehensive overview of the current and growing green infrastructure theory, design, and practice and the associated challenges and opportunities.

  • Modules 1-3 The Grey to Green Transition identifies the different types of GI, the reasons that motivate cities, suburbs, and towns to adopt and expand GI systems, and the multitude of benefits associated with them, and showcases successful employment of specific GI strategies.
  • Modules 4-6 Design and Implementation discuss the principles and practices behind successful GI design and implementation, identifies design elements, targets and guidelines used to regulate GI implementation, and considers the data needed to inform GI design and implementation decisions, and potential sources for the relevant data.
  • Modules 7-9 Policy and Governance focus on the policies, institutions, and systems that govern and drive green infrastructure employment in cities around the world, highlights specific tools and regulations for GI, and compares and contrasts GI policies and governance.
  • Modules 10-12 Planning and Leadership for Green Cities review recent advances and most innovative examples of GI design, policy, and practice.  This section explores what GI may offer cities in the future and how these progressive visions might be realized.
Funding for this course is provided by Adaptation Learning Network, (Links to an external site.) an initiative supported through Natural Resources Canada BRACE (Links to an external site.) and the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Course Material

This course consists of written material, readings, videos, and activities designed to enhance understanding of core concepts and evolving best practices of GI. The course draws on primary and secondary sources, practitioner knowledge and has been reviewed by leading experts in the field.

The course is primarily self-guided. Working through the module will take up to three hours to complete. Learning activities for each module are in the form of active group discussions, reflection pieces, quizzes and case study research. Additional resources are also included in each module should you wish to pursue further study beyond the scope of this program.

Core Documents

The following documents will be referenced throughout the course. And although you won’t be expected to read all of them in one sitting, they are excellent resources to keep handy during the course and beyond.


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Green Infrastructure in Urban Centres: Policy, Design and Practice Copyright © by Joanna Ashworth and Nick Mead-Fox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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