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Stakeholder perceptions of the ecosystem services provided by Green Infrastructure in New York City

Miller, Stephanie M., Montalto, Franco A.
Ecosystem services 2019 v.37 pp. 100928
cities, community gardens, ecosystem services, green roofs, parks, rain, stakeholders, storms, stormwater, stormwater management, surveys, water quality, wetlands, New York
US cities are investing heavily in green infrastructure (GI) to manage stormwater and improve local water quality. However, many other ecosystem services (ES) are attributed to these same GI systems. Some of these services, such as the amount of rainfall that can be attenuated in a green roof, are well documented; others, such as the role of coastal wetlands in protecting properties from storm surge, are difficult to quantify or so dependent on local conditions that results are not generalizable. This paper presents a snapshot valuation of the urban ES provided by GI in New York City. Structured surveys were administered to four stakeholder groups, representing a gradient of familiarity with GI. Survey results were compared against the scientific literature to explore how stakeholder perceptions compared to the biophysical capacity of GI to provide ES. Results indicate that, while stormwater management is the primary driver of GI investment in NYC, residents view other ES more favorably. Municipal programs that create multifunctional GI systems may be more widely supported than those focused exclusively on stormwater management. The results also suggest latent public support for GI initiatives that include new and enhanced Parks & Natural Areas and Community Gardens.