Green Infrastructure Spatial Planning (GISP) Model

Green infrastructure (parks, greenways, green roofs, bioswales, etc.) is an increasingly popular strategy for cities to enhance resilience and ecosystem services, from improved public health to stormwater management. It is commonly promoted on the basis of its multifunctionality, but in practice green infrastructure plans and studies tend to focus on one or a few benefits, such as stormwater management, and rarely assess potential synergies and tradeoffs between other desired functions. As a result, green infrastructure may not be strategically sited to maximize social and environmental benefits. The Green Infrastructure Spatial Planning (GISP) model provides a stakeholder-driven methodology for identifying green infrastructure tradeoffs, synergies, and ‘hotspots’. The model is designed to facilitate spatial planning at a citywide scale, to be followed by detailed suitability assessments at smaller spatial scales. 

The GISP model is made up of six GIS layers corresponding to planning priorities (stormwater management, social vulnerability, access to green space, air quality, the urban heat island effect, and landscape connectivity). Individual criteria are mapped and spatial tradeoffs and synergies assessed. The six criteria are weighted based on local expert stakeholders' priorities and combined to identify hotspots. 

I Initially applied the approach in Detroit, Michigan, but the methodology is designed to be generalizable and I am in the process of developing GISP models for Los Angeles, New York City, and Manila (Philippines). Below is an animated GIF of the web-based Story Map of the Detroit GISP Model. The full version is available at To read a more detailed description of the model and Detroit results see the article in Landscape and Urban Planning.