Achieved outcomes and impacts:
In total, over 500 hectares have been audited in 19 Business Improvement Districts, identifying the potential for over 300 rain gardens, 200 green walls and more than 100 hectares of green roofs, as well as other small scale interventions such as planters and window boxes. These audits have revealed the potential to introduce 1 million m2 of new green-cover. Greening the Districts has also successfully generated interest in and increased awareness of urban greening. This in turn encourages businesses to invest in green infrastructure as part of their longer-term refurbishments and regeneration strategies. The programme delivered 16 green infrastructure demonstration projects and a further 101 additional installations, that leveraged over €5 million (4.3 million GBP in private funding). The Green Infrastructure Best Practice Guide was published in 2013, based on the experiences made in the Victoria Business Improvement District, to support other Districts willing to undertake a green audit.
Success factors and lessons learned:
The programme was successful in making the case for private investment in nature-based solutions by using green infrastructure audits to showcase the benefits that can be derived by local businesses by investing in green infrastructure. Those benefits, relevant to the business include aesthetics, improving the look and feel of business areas for visitors, workers and residents, attracting investment, and improving the Business Area District through the reduction of flood risk, improving air quality, increasing biodiversity and understanding existing assets. The programme was also successful by working with coalitions of businesses (the Business Improvement Districts - BID), rather than individual businesses - which allowed for pooling the costs of both the audits and the implementation of green infrastructure elements. The project can be replicated by other BIDs (there are 1,500 BIDs across the world). To support this aim, a dedicated best practice guide for green infrastructure audits in Business Improvement Districts as well as a brochure of nature-based solution installation case studies were created. The programme has advanced the evidence base about the benefits and performance of green infrastructure in the urban realm, to help attenuate surface water (and reduce localized flood risk), improve air quality, and assess public perception, providing clear incentives for local investment.