Enhancing Sustainability by Spinning Green into a Grey Infrastructure: The Design of Parks and Greenways in a Community's Fabric

EPA Grant Number: SU832502
Title: Enhancing Sustainability by Spinning Green into a Grey Infrastructure: The Design of Parks and Greenways in a Community's Fabric
Investigators: Shafer, Scott
Current Investigators: Shafer, Scott , Barnes, Gayla , Moore, Jason , White, Jennifer , Fogle, Ken , Clann, Kristan , Minarcik, Lauren , Maynard, Lee , Bartlett, Stephanie , Bundy, Topher
Institution: Texas A & M University
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2005 through August 31, 2006
Project Amount: $9,952
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Students from the Texas A&M University Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences will develop an ensemble of model policies and designs that can be used to incorporate a green infrastructure into a city's landscape for enhancing community sustainability. These products will be geared to the specific needs of the city of College Station, TX, but will also be broadly applicable to other cities. Increased development in and around American cities has long generated concern over growth of the "grey infrastructure" (such as hard surface roads and parking lots) that is associated with development. It has been well established that the grey infrastructure disrupts regional hydrologic regimes and can lead to higher peak runoff rates, increased flooding and soil erosion, and rapid transport of numerous organic contaminants. It also supports an automobile based society in which roadways dissect natural areas, fragmenting habitats and separating neighborhoods from each other and from the city center. The ubiquitous grey infrastructure inhibits walking and bicycling, both for recreational enjoyment and for transportation. Loss of these forms of exercise as natural parts of daily life can lead to the gradual degradation of public health and well being. The use and development of greenways to address these challenges is an idea that has long had merit. However, the actual implementation of the greenway idea in any specific community depends on a complex set of factors. Who are the stakeholders? What will be the benefits, costs, uses, and functions of greenways? Where will they be located? How will they be built and maintained? Will they actually promote reductions in resource consumption? In order for green infrastructure policies and designs to successfully enhance community livability and sustainability, they need to be fully integrated into the ongoing city development planning process. Students in this proposed project will work in collaboration with faculty advisors, and with key staff members from the city of College Station planning and public works departments to understand how greenway planning decisions are influenced by local and regional stakeholders, and how to best inform the planning process for greenways that produce the maximum benefit to the community and its long-term livability and sustainability.

Supplemental Keywords:

built environment, community sustainability, community livability, green infrastructure, stakeholder, public policy,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Urban and Regional Planning, green design, urban planning, environmental sustainability, environmental conscious construction, alternative infrastructure design, Urban Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering Program, collaborative urban planning, land use, environmentally conscious design

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report