Boston has announced a new policy that will require city projects to include environmental benefits and stormwater mitigation using green infrastructure.  

Green infrastructure has been proven to help reduce flooding and filter pollutants from runoff. This will also help increase the urban tree canopy which is a key component in the Urban Forest Plan which protects existing trees and improves neighborhood tree data. 

The city of Boston’s first green infrastructure policy will set a new standard for safer, more sustainable roadway infrastructure throughout the city by establishing green alternatives for curb extensions. 

The idea is to improve pedestrian safety but create small, unusable paved spaces with green infrastructure. This could range from rain gardens, porous paving or even low-grown fescue or wildflowers. 

City officials have said that this will reduce chances of flooding, filter pollutants and help with groundwater recharge. 

The green infrastructure designs should work alongside the city’s existing network of nearly 36,000 catch basins and pipes, which are maintained by the Boston Water & Sewer Commission. 

“Innovative green infrastructure policies offer an additional pathway to adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as stormwater flooding and sea level rise, while making our communities more resilient,” said Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space. 

The policy will also provide a volunteer program that will assist in the maintenance of select infrastructure sites.