Green Infrastructure

Our green infrastructure program helps manage stormwater and increase green space in the city.
Green Infrastructure
Green Infrastructure

What is Green Infrastructure?

Green Infrastructure is a collection of vegetated and pervious practices that mimic the natural environment. They help manage stormwater, increase green space in the city, and improve air and water quality. They also create local habitat, conserve energy and water, and enhance community experience. In the City of Minneapolis, green infrastructure is being added to roads, boulevards, bikeways, and other public spaces.

The City of Minneapolis has 2 categories of green infrastructure: 

  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI): Set of green infrastructure practices that also capture and treat stormwater. They do this by infiltration, filtration, or detention.  
  • Sustainable Landscaping (SL): Set of practices that work with natural environment. They help to sustain local habitat, conserve energy and water, and improve air and water quality and user experience. Examples include trees and native plants. 

Types of Green Infrastructure in Minneapolis

Angled curb with grass
Bioretention:Vegetated Side Slopes is a basin with trees and native plantings that capture and infiltrate or filter stormwater
planter box in sidewalk with trees and plants
Bioretention: Planter Style is a bioretention basin with vertical walls of curb, fencing, benches, or other materials
Grassy boulevard next to a bike lane
Sustainable Landscaping includes native plantings, trees, and other green space in boulevards and medians
Rain Garden with flowers next to a garage
Rain Gardens are gardens planted with native plantings that collect and treat stormwater
Orange Leafed Tree in a sidewalk planter box.
Tree Trenches are bioretention facilities with trees in engineered soil where water enters below the surface
Giant rain barrel behind yellow bollards
Rain Barrels, Cisterns, and Stormwater Reuse are various methods to capture, store, and reuse stormwater as a resource
Asphalt that water can infiltrate through in a walking path
Permeable Pavement is pavement that allows stormwater to flow through the surface for infiltration or filtration
Roof with plants on top
Green Roofs are vegetated roofs that absorb rainwater, provide habitat, and improve water and air quality

Benefits of Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure is used to help manage our city’s stormwater and the natural vegetation and trees, soils, and other elements provide several additional benefits aside from stormwater management. 

  • Stormwater management: Promotes infiltration, removes pollutants, reduces volumes, and recharges groundwater. Green Infrastructure works together with grey stormwater infrastructure like storm drains and pipes to manage stormwater. This improves the water quality of local rivers, lakes, and streams. 
  • Community: Creates community amenities, supports a green economy, and green spaces improve mental health. 
  • Habitat creation and biodiversity: Preserves and creates space for pollinators, bugs, and other species to thrive in an urban environment. 
  • Combats climate change: Carbon sequestration, reduces urban heat island effect, vegetation is drought, salt, and flood tolerant. 
  • Soil health: Adding nutrients to the soil improves soil health. Native plant roots extend deep into soil to better absorb water, remove pollutants. Healthy soils and stable vegetation also help to prevent erosion. 
  • Native Plants and sustainability: Native plants, commonly used in green infrastructure projects, require less water and maintenance, create less waste, soak up more water, and provide habitat for pollinator species. 

City of Minneapolis Green Infrastructure Projects

Green Infrastructure projects can be seen throughout the City of Minneapolis on both large and small scales and is a growing practice in the City. It aligns with policies and goals around reducing the impacts of climate change, improving air and water quality, and creating complete streets for all users.

The city right-of-way accounts for about 22% of the land in the city. As a result, many green infrastructure designs are frequently seen next to roadways. See completed and future Minneapolis green infrastructure projects below.

Completed GSI Projects

Grassy boulevard next to bike boulevard

See completed sustainable landscaping projects

See completed sustainable landscaping projects


Contact us

Surface Water & Sewers

Public Works




Public Service Center
250 South 4th St, Room 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415

(Our office is closed to the public at this time)

Office hours

Monday – Friday
7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

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