Integrated Green Grey Infrastructure Framework Accelerator

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Geographical & Earth Sciences


Green infrastructure is a term used to describe the elements of the natural environment we see in our towns and cities - traditional grass, trees, flower beds and parks but also more innovative elements like green roofs and green walls.
The IGGIframe project examined around 40 innovative techniques to include green infrastructure on "grey" (non-building) infrastructure that needs to remain primarily grey. These examples are not normally included in green infrastructure policy and practice - our project addressed this gap. For example, sea walls are typically made of smooth concrete, but by casting them to have some texture, e.g. to mimic natural stone, they can provide habitat for barnacles and other species, which can in the case of barnacles, also protect the concrete from damage, helping to extend the design life of coastal structures.

The IGGIFrame project developed a framework to determine how well these examples worked, and how much they cost compared to traditional 'business as usual' grey options such as a smooth sea wall. This created a clear benefits assessment and financial basis for choosing a green grey solutions compared to conventional grey options. This project was co-produced by key government and industry partners across the UK and is designed to support others who want to implement these green infrastructure innovations.

Whilst the IGGIframe project was co-produced, there was limited time for testing and embedding the tool in partner organisations beyond their assistance with designing the tool. Partner organisations have also requested additional materials to support implementation within their organisations (e.g. Evidence Summaries requested by Natural Resources Wales). The follow-on funding would allow us further test and embed the tool within 5 different organisation. This would also allow us to examine how consideration of IGGI and IGGIframe could be included in how the organisations make decisions, and then to create a strategic plan - a road map, to help them include green grey infrastructure in the future.

The process of embedding would be iterative and allow us to develop an improved, tested version of IGGIframe with clear testimonials of how it has been used by partner organisations. This improved version would then be hosted on a website (e.g. where other people such as engineers, local authorities and consultants could upload the details of their scheme for others to learn from, support and contribute to. This would create a living inventory of IGGI examples that practitioners could draw on.

Planned Impact

This proposal is for innovation follow-on funding, to provide support for follow-up activities from a NERC Green Infrastructure Innovation funded project. Knowledge exchange and activities to generate impact are thus integral to the scope of work described in the case for support. In the pathways to impact section we described specifically how we intend to accelerate and evaluate the quality and reach of impact arising from this follow-on funding for the five partner organisations. The key impacts that could potentially arise from this work include increased awareness and application of Green Grey infrastructure approaches (which we call IGGI, short for Integrated Green Grey Infrastructure) in policy and day to day practice of the five partner organisations. This will help them delver their statutory requirements for green infrastructure and biodiversity, and as these IGGI approaches are applied it will lead to improved health and wellbeing of cities and nature in our cities and towns.

We will also seek to extend potential impacts of our IGGIframe follow-on activities to the project advisory board members and via information exchange platforms hosted by them (e.g.) or third parties (e.g. Oppla, the Ecosystems Knowledge Network or the Landscape Institute). We have also been invited by the Editor to produce an article for the Environmental Journal. It aims to bridge "the gap between those who are developing solutions to pressing issues ranging from pollution to greener transport and practitioners tasked with putting ideas into practice," Environment Journal (2017). Two key online platforms would also host the outputs: Oppla and CIRIA, where webinars would be arranged to raise awareness of these outputs and to provide continuing professional development training. Both web platforms are needed as they reach different audiences, with CIRIA being more aligned with the construction industry and Oppla being favoured by local authorities and NGOs. We would use these articles, webinars and training sessions, along with key networks (e.g. CIRIA's, Central Scotland Green Network, Green Infrastructure Partnership, Linear Infrastructure Network (LINet)), to share the results of the IGGIframe project and to generate enthusiasm and input to the Oppla living library of IGGI best practice case studies.

More widely, the general public will be engaged about the proposed project as part of the Edinburgh Living Landscapes exhibition in 2018. A recent NERC funded Public Engagement pilot project funded the installation of two Vertipools which are also a coastal case study in the IGGIframe project. This event will provide an excellent platform for engaging the general public about coastal IGGI and the IGGIframe project more generally.


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