Green Infrastructure as a climate change mitigation strategy: quantification of environmental & economic benefits for the City of Somerville

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Silvia Cioci
Matthew J. Eckelman
Annalisa Onnis-Hayden


The growing awareness of the negative impact of human activities on climate has led to adopt territorial adaptation and mitigation policies. Strategies capable of coping with increasingly extreme and sudden negative impacts make their way into the scenario of territorial planning, which focus on choices that create more resilient cities. A suitable strategy for this new approach to territorial planning includes green infrastructure a multifunctional tool designed to mitigate impacts of climate change and to intervene on "urban waste" and dismiss places to re-naturalize and make them more inclusive. The paper examines the innovative scenario of the Inner Core in Boston, Massachusetts, exploring the policies of the city of Somerville, which focus on the implementation of green infrastructure to provide multiple benefits.
Former industrialized area of Somerville, the Inner Belt is one of the settlements most exposed to the climate crisis and particularly weak territorial context from a social, economic, and political point of view. The evidence of a settlement that "ceded to environmental blackmail" in exchange for jobs, required a procedural approach by rethinking the area in a strategic perspective capable of combining the needs of the community with adaptation to change. The Inner Belt was thus reconsidered as a hub (system of places), that is, as an integral part of the new vision of a green infrastructure network for the city of Somerville and an urban area of ​​planning emergency in the re-composition and identity re-appropriation of its widespread and pervasive waterproofed spaces. This choice highlighted the importance of the local scale in the process of redesigning the public space and forgotten places in the evolution of green infrastructure. This study analyzes and quantify the environmental and economic benefits provided by the green infrastructure, demonstrating the effectiveness of the adoption of this multi-functional strategy.


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CiociS., EckelmanM. J., & Onnis-HaydenA. (2020). Green Infrastructure as a climate change mitigation strategy: quantification of environmental & economic benefits for the City of Somerville. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 5(2), 39-50.


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