Stanford Researchers Propose Data Platform to Evaluate Multi-Sector Performance Metrics for Financing Green Infrastructure

April 10, 2017 | Water in the West | News

Devon Ryan

Integration of green infrastructure, an approach to water management that protects, restores, or mimics the natural water cycle, into grey infrastructure, the man-made, concrete constructed projects often envisioned with the word “infrastructure,” would provide multiple benefits to the water sector, such as managing stormwater, recharging groundwater, mitigating urban heat island effects and other helpful efficiencies. However, widespread adoption of green infrastructure is challenged by limited access to funding, permitting issues, and other barriers. The core of these impediments is the inability of stakeholders to know how to monitor and measure and assess the performance of green infrustructure systems that go beyond traditional infrastrucutre performance measures and standards and encompesses air quality, energy, climate change, habitat and wildlife, as well as social and community benefits.

To tackle this challenge, a team of researchers led by Newsha Ajami, Director of Urban Water Policy at Stanford’s Water in the West program, has proposed to develop a platform to help identify appropriate technologies and resources to more effectively assess the performance of green infrastructure systems. The platform will allow stakeholders to better understand the environmental, economic, and social benefits that their green infrastructure systems can provide, which can in turn be used to attract project financing from multiple sources and build a more diverse funding portfolio for such projects. . The long-term objective is to increase the dissemination of green infrastructure systems.

Read more about the Data for Green Infrastructure project.

This project received an Honorable Mention in Imagine H20’s 2017 Water Policy Challenge, which aims to strengthen the quality of water management by accelerating the development of water data innovations and technologies.


Newsha Ajami is the Director of Urban Water Policy at Stanford’s Water in the West Program, co-leads the Urban Water Systems & Institutions Thrust at the NSF ReNUWIt Engineering Research Center, and is a member of the Bay Area Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Team Members:

Kim Quesnel, PhD Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University

Beatrice Gordon, Research and Communications Analyst, Water in the West, Stanford University