Green Infrastructure

The City of South Bend has implemented "green infrastructure" across the city. This approach to water management protects, restores, or mimics the natural water cycle by utilizing both ecosystems and engineered systems to provide clean water, conserve the function of the natural environment, and provide benefits to people and wildlife.

The map below highlights select sites where green infrastructure has been installed to accomplish these goals. These sites may include:

  • Rain Gardens: areas planted with specially selected native vegetation to capture and treat runoff
  • Bioretention: areas that manage runoff volume and peak discharge rates and filter suspended solids and related pollutants from stormwater runoff
  • Wildflowers: plantings of wildflowers that produce substantially less stormwater runoff, enhance rainfall absorption, and stabilize soils

View Sustainability Methods Used in South Bend story map in full browser window.


Environmental Benefits

  • Improves quality of ground and surface waters
  • Provides natural stormwater management
  • Reduces air pollution and energy use by reducing the need for mowing and spraying
  • Improves aquatic and wildlife habitat
  • Reduces atmospheric CO2 emissions through:
    • Reduced energy demand
    • Increased carbon sequestration through tree coverage and green roof vegetation
  • Reduces urban heat island effect by:
    • Increasing the amount of shade
    • Increasing the amount of water vapor
    • ​Decreasing the amount of heat-attracting infrastructure (e.g., impermeable pavement)

Social Benefits

  • Improves aesthetics and livability of urban communities by:
    • Reducing noise pollution
    • Increasing recreational opportunities
    • Increasing green space
  • Improves water and air quality by:
    • Decreasing emissions
    • Removing harmful pollutants already in air and stormwater runoff
  • Fosters environmental education opportunities by:
    • Providing locations for learning about natural processes, water quality, and ecology

Economic Benefits

  • Increases property values
  • Reduces existing and future costs of gray infrastructure via:
    • Avoided costs associated with managing stormwater runoff
    • Reduced construction costs