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A Comparison of Natural and Grey Infrastructure Solutions
June 2019
Nature-based solutions offer adaptive and more resilient infrastructure outcomes, particularly in the face of a changing climate that is expected to increase the frequency and severity of weather events. In this report, we compare the full range of outcomes and benefits associated with natural and conventional grey infrastructure solutions to address three distinct challenges in the Canadian context:
- Flood control
- Coastal resilience
- Urban temperature rise
Case studies compiled from natural infrastructure initiatives undertaken across the country are used to illustrate the potential costs, additional benefits and added value of such solutions. In addition, side-by-side comparisons of natural and grey infrastructure are drawn and presented in graphical tables for the purposes of helping governments, businesses and organizations to assess the benefits of deploying natural infrastructure solutions as a viable and cost-effective approach to infrastructure development. 

- Canada’s wetlands help to control and mitigate damages from flash floods while providing a range of additional benefits for overall watershed management.
- Coastal ecosystems provide benefits for resilience to natural hazards including flooding and storm surges, while supporting culture, recreation and maritime industries in coastal communities.
- Urban forests can mitigate the increased temperatures in towns and cities, while providing important benefits for climate adaptation, human health and well-being, as well as essential habitat for wildlife.
Benefits of Adopting Natural Infrastruct
2 MB
46 Pages
2 MB
48 Pages
This report was commissioned by
Environment and Climate Change Canada