Departments that work together on projects and use natural infrastructure, like the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in Singapore, can achieve a variety of benefits. Neil Howard / Flickr

World - Collaboration on Nature-Based Solutions Is Key to Resilient City Infrastructure

Capital City, a (hypothetical) seaside metropolis, has a growing population. However, much of its infrastructure was built 100 years ago and is straining from deferred maintenance, unable to meet the city’s future needs.

Nature-based solutions, such as greenways and marine habitat restoration on Vancouver’s waterfront, can make communities more resilient while addressing the needs of multiple city departments. Lisa Beyer / World Resources Institute

To make matters worse, Capital City has seen damage from increased flooding and shoreline erosion. Its residents, especially those already burdened by environmental pollution, are suffering from increasing heat as well as poor air quality from industry and heavy traffic.

The mayor summons the heads of the city’s major departments to a joint meeting to hear how they plan to address the city’s needs.

They all present a solution in line with their own department’s mission, each of which would be effective in responding to a specific issue: the head of the Water Utility proposes upsizing pipes and building a large underground tank to hold more stormwater; the head of the Port Authority describes a plan for elevating shoreline streets and building a seawall; the Transit Agency is planning brand new transit shelters for all stations; and the Parks Department proposes new recreation centers that can serve as cooling centers.

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