EcoDistricts Living Infrastructure Guide
Living infrastructure refers to the network of natural systems and engineered systems, such as storm and wastewater practices, that affect ecological processes including the hydrological and nutrient cycles. EcoDistricts, in advancing a new model of urban regeneration and community development rooted in collaboration and social, economic, and ecological innovation, recognized living infrastructure as a powerful tool in this work. However, as neighborhoods come together to build more sustainable districts, they found that the stakeholders did not have a common understanding or frame of reference to think about living infrastructure potential. EcoDistricts hired Biohabitats to develop the EcoDistricts Living Infrastructure Guide so that users could develop a shared understanding of the strategies that create a living infrastructure, have clear steps for selecting the strategies best suited to their conditions, and see examples of living infrastructure projects.
Working with a small group of technical experts, Biohabitats convened a stakeholder review committee that provided advice and guidance for the Guide as well as case studies of projects that support living infrastructure.
A district with a robust living infrastructure fulfills the following conditions:
1. Harbors and supports indigenous flora, fauna, migratory species, and pollinators
2. Conserves and replenishes fresh water, protects and restores fertile soils, and regenerates food and fiber
3. Connects people to nature
4. Employs strategies to eliminate or regulate impacts to climate, hydrologic cycles, nutrient flows, natural hazards, and pests