Green Infrastructure Symposium Demonstrates the Value
of Greener Western Pennsylvania Communities

A view of a green downtown Pittsburgh

A symposium hosted by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy brought together national experts and local community leaders to discuss the economic, cultural and environmental benefits of green communities.

The term “green infrastructure” describes land-use planning and implementation that manages both natural and built landscapes to protect ecosystems and water quality – providing benefits to the communities that depend on these priceless resources. Speakers at the event, which was made possible through the support of the Colcom Foundation, offered compelling evidence that this type of planning and investment yields measurable, positive outcomes.

“Just as you would not build a house without a Blueprint, we should not continue to build our communities without a Greenprint,” said Chuck Flink, Founder and President of Greenways Incorporated and co-author of two award-winning books about greenways and trails.

Flink was one of seven distinguished guest speakers at the symposium, which was attended by area community leaders, neighborhood organizers, elected officials, nonprofit representatives and urban planning professionals. The speakers described benefits associated with greening trees, trails, gardens and parks, as well incorporating stormwater management strategies, into development plans for cities, towns and neighborhoods:

Information and ideas presented at the symposium guided afternoon roundtable discussions geared towards application of leading green infrastructure strategies in local communities. In addition, through support of the Colcom Foundation, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will provide technical assistance to several communities ready to do detailed analysis and strategic thinking about green infrastructure.

“The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is so glad that we’re able to provide landscape enhancements to our public schools, trees along city streets, flowers and plants in downtown Pittsburgh, and gardens throughout the region,” said Cynthia Carrow, vice president of government and community relations for WPC. “Our goal is to help other organizations and community leaders realize how valuable greening projects like these are to their communities.”

Presenters at the symposium also included: