Community resiliency is at the core of the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA’s) mission. Green infrastructure (GI) makes cities and towns stronger. GI uses nature-based methods to reduce flooding, enhance water quality and produce other benefits. GI and this Evaluation Framework are at the heart of NRPA’s Great Urban Parks campaign. The goal is to help communities across the nation implement not only new green infrastructure projects but also evaluate the impact of these GI projects in new and practical ways.

What Is the Purpose of NRPA's Evaluation Framework?

Seeing a need for a practical, community-centered evaluation guide, NRPA designed this Green Infrastructure Evaluation Framework as a collection of tools, research-informed analysis, worksheets and other resources to help park and recreation agency staff, local government officials and others involved in parks and recreation evaluate the benefits of GI projects.

What Benefits Are Covered?  

GI has produced enormous benefits in communities throughout the United States. But measuring the impact of those benefits focuses mainly on stormwater treatment. Even a triple bottom line approach — which incorporates environmental, financial and social outcomes — can overlook key community benefits. This Framework will guide you through:

  • Environmental benefits for water, air, land and wildlife in and around your GI project area
  • Health benefits for the physical and mental health of community members 
  • Social benefits focused on community cohesion and public safety, as well as how the project has boosted the neighborhood’s GI knowledge and use
  • Economic benefits for the local workforce and business development

How Do I Use the Framework?

Click on each of the three steps below to get started:

  • Step 1 will help you define your project goals 
  • Step 2 will give you information and tools to collect your benefits data
  • Step 3 will help you use the data once you have collected it

Then visit the Resources section on the right side of the page to download more: 

  • Executive Summary gives you the essential evaluation steps you need to take during each step 
  • Community Survey Tools give you short, high-impact surveys that you can implement on the ground to get feedback about your project from community members
  • Benefit Measurement Tables show detailed information about how to measure benefits across environmental, health, social, and economic project results
  • Worksheets will give you an organized, comprehensive plan for how to measure your project's benefits
  • BioBlitz Guide shows you how to conduct a wildlife count with community members around your project site 
  • Appendix cites every single resource used to develop this Framework

Step 1: Define Your Benefits & Measures

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In this step, you will define the array of benefits that can come from your project, through a green infrastructure benefits web tool.

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Step 2: Collect Your Data

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Follow this step to decide how and when you should collect data on the benefits realized from your green infrastructure project. You then will be able to complete your measurement plan.

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Step 3: Use Your Data

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Learn how you can use data to strengthen your future green infrastructure work, and at the same time, trumpet your existing project’s achievements to build good will, awareness and even funding for your organization.

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