Green Infrastructure: Advance Climate Resilience and Promote Health Equity

California is increasingly suffering from climate-related burdens to health, including impaired water quality from extreme precipitation events, more frequent and intense heat waves increasing the risks of heat stroke and dehydration, and degraded air quality due to increasingly pervasive wildfires.1
Whether it’s floods, fires, heat waves, or other climate disasters, the road to recovery is unequal.2 Vulnerable populations lack resources to adequately prepare, respond, and recover from climate impacts. Structural and systemic inequality and racism have exacerbated climate-related inequities, resulting in Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities bearing the brunt of climate-driven extreme heat, flooding, poor air quality, forest fires, and natural disasters. Low-income and BIPOC communities have been denied the resources and investments needed to build community climate resilience.3  

There is substantial evidence that Green Infrastructure (GI) not only improves water quality, reduces carbon emissions, and protects communities from the impacts of climate change. GI should incorporate parks, trails, and green spaces as a public health equity strategy to improve physical and mental health. Tree canopy, green roofs, and permeable pavements can lessen the impact of heatwaves and the urban heat island effect. Green streets and parks can reduce not only stormwater runoff but also improve air quality and integrate active commuting and recreation to improve health. As California increases investments in infrastructure to address climate change and promote community resilience, it is essential that GI is prioritized as a critical strategy to promote public health, environmental justice, and equity.
Green infrastructure is the umbrella term for an interconnected web of nature-based or nature-mimicking strategies to provide multiple benefits to a system and/or community. Strategies such as urban greening, vegetated rooftops, bioswales, and permeable pavement can be used as part of a comprehensive system to promote green stormwater management, reduce urban heat island effect, improve air quality, increase community access to parks and greenspace, and protect marginalized communities from the impacts of climate change.

New Report: Green Infrastructure, Climate Resilience, and Health Equity Policy Agenda

With generous support from the Resources Legacy Fund, the Public Health Alliance of Southern California developed the Green Infrastructure, Climate Resilience, and Health Equity Policy Agenda to guide diverse stakeholders to take action in local, state, and federal policy and funding processes. Below is the full Policy Agenda, as well as four in-depth policy briefs and a high-level educational brief outlining the nexus of green infrastructure, climate change, and health equity.

For more information contact, Savannah North (she/her), Climate & Health Manager –
Green Infrastructure & Health Equity Educational Brief
Data Brief

Webinar: Green Infrastructure, Climate Resilience, and Health Equity Policy

On Wednesday 5/25, 11:30am-12:30pm PT the Public Health Alliance and esteemed colleagues shared more about the Policy Agenda, including how the proposed policies and recommendations may apply to your work. We welcome participants from all sectors and agencies to learn more about the critical intersection of green infrastructure, climate resilience, and health equity.

Guest speakers included:  
Tiffany Wong, Policy & Research Associate, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) -  
Francesca de la Rosa, Campaign Manager, Living Schoolyards Coalition, Trust for Public Land -  
Karen Cowan, Executive Director, California Stormwater Quality Association -
Savannah North, Climate & Health Manager, Public Health Alliance of Southern California –

Meeting Materials