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Carla-Leanne Washbourne and Claire Wansbury, editors of ICE Manual of Blue-Green Infrastructure, discuss their book and why it is an essential read for civil engineers. 

ICE Publishing at the Frankfurt Book Fair
A new resource to create thriving places for people and nature
  • Updated: 14 Feb 2023
  • Author: Carla-Leanne Washbourne and Claire Wansbury

A new resource to create thriving places for people and nature  

14 February 2023 by Carla-Leanne Washbourne and Claire Wansbury

Carla-Leanne Washbourne and Claire Wansbury, editors of ICE Manual of Blue-Green Infrastructure, discuss their book and why it is an essential read for civil engineers. 

The ICE has been involved in raising awareness, supporting research and improving practice on Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI) for many years, tracing the growing demand from those working in civil engineering and landscape professions. This long-term work has culminated in the publication of the ICE Manual of Blue-Green Infrastructure.

In response to great demand from ICE members for a manual on this topic, ICE Publishing have published The ICE Manual of Blue-Green Infrastructure, available in print and as an eBook. As editors, we are proud to have had the chance to work with such an excellent team of more than 50 authors, many of whom are world-leading experts on their chapter topics. We have produced a book that we hope will inspire you to integrate BGI into your future work, enable you to explore a range of practical examples and help you advocate for its wider adoption in design. 

What is it? 

BGI is defined in this manual as the ‘managed network of terrestrial and water spaces found across our urban and rural landscapes that help deliver socio-economic and ecological benefits, supporting ecosystem functions and societal wellbeing’. There is a growing recognition that these benefits are best achieved through considering and integrating blue-green spaces and their functions throughout project lifecycles (planning and design, implementation and maintenance).

Why now? 

There is a great groundswell (from both supply and demand) towards BGI being integrated into higher education syllabi and continuing professional development. At the same time, BGI and nature-based solutions are being ever more demanded by clients as a meaningful component of effective projects. 

BGI is truly no longer a novel approach but increasingly embedded, and rightly so, in mainstream design and planning across the globe. The addition of the new ICE Manual of Blue-Green Infrastructure to the Institution’s suite of publications is very welcome. It has been increasingly recognised that engineers need to be environmentally and socially literate. ICE has shown a real commitment to leading on key environmental and social topics in creating this manual. 

The publication of this manual is particularly timely as we recognise that our society must respond to the intertwined global emergencies of climate change and biodiversity loss. Launched in January 2023, this publication followed hot on the heels of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Moreover, much of the authoring effort took place around Covid, a time when the value of local publicly accessible green space has been evidenced, not just through academic studies of impacts on physical and mental wellbeing, but by the direct experience of people during the lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What’s new about the manual? 

The manual provides up to date coverage of established and novel types of BGI. Recognising that the sheer breadth of the topic means a single book cannot cover every detail, we encouraged the chapter author teams to signpost to a range of existing, detailed resources, in addition to normal source referencing. Throughout the manual there is an emphasis on how to effect BGI solutions in the real world, underpinned by examples of successful projects. You can find a more detailed explanation of the manual’s contents, including the full list of chapters on ICE Bookshop. 

How will it help me? 

The manual will help users explain the value of BGI, embed it into new development projects, retrofit it to older ones, and provide for its long-term successful maintenance. As a vital part of infrastructure engineering design, BGI has the potential to provide multiple benefits across many scales and sectors. As such, the manual is written by experts from a wide range of sectors. It should be a valuable resource, providing guidance and inspiration for those working in development and local authorities, and for students aspiring to work in these fields.  

Our thanks to the exceptional author team 

As is usual in such publications, readers will find details of the author team for each chapter in the preliminary pages of the manual. However, the timing of this publication - created in almost its entirety under great personal and professional uncertainty wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic - has made us feel that we must add to this standard recognition of the authors’ contributions. We express particular thanks to all the author teams, working within an ever-changing and unpredictable set of circumstances and challenges, such as remote working and homeschooling, to deliver their excellent contributions.

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