Part of the challenge with green infrastructure is that it goes against the norm of what we expect as public works projects to manage water. Infrastructure is either invisible because it’s underground or above our heads, or it’s become so common that we don’t even notice. So introducing green infrastructure solutions, while in some cases very aesthetically pleasing, can cause confusion or protest because it goes against the norm.
Even in quite environmentally and socially progressive cities like Portland, Oregon, instituting green infrastructure as a standard practice required strategic outreach and engagement strategies to build support. This blog post written by Lisa Stiffler from Sightline Daily highlights Six Tips for Selling Green Stormwater Solutions learned from Portland’s experience, particularly with installing rain gardens in residential areas.
1. Communicate early and often with property owners
2. Work every angle – provide outreach in a number of different media to repeat and explain the benefits of green infrastructure
3. The benefits package – emphasize the full range of benefits and multiple functions provided by green infrastructure
4. Freebies and rebates – consider implementing or make known incentives available for projects on private property
5. Keeping score at home – publicize the goals and keep track of progress; engage the community in reaching those goals
6. Won’t you be my <green> neighbor? – encourage and facilitate neighbor-to-neighbor engagement