Assessing the economic benefits of blue-green infrastructure

Blue-green infrastructure provides multiple benefits to humans and ecosystems, including health and biodiversity, but little data exists on economic benefit.

A case study in the Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment, “Valuing the Multiple Benefits of Blue-Green Infrastructure for a Swedish Case Study: Contrasting the Economic Assessment Tools B£ST and TEEB,” written by Frieder Hamann, Godecke-Tobias Blecken, Ph.D., Richard M. Ashley, Ph.D., and Maria Viklander, Ph.D., uses two tools to monetize the benefits related to amenities, home values, and health.

Read the abstract below or peruse the full findings free in the ASCE Library.


In addition to flooding and water quality management, blue-green infrastructure (BGI) provides multiple benefits to humans and ecosystems, including health and biodiversity. Various tools are available for assessing these benefits but few evaluate economic benefits. Two tools that monetize the benefits, the Benefits Estimation Tool and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Netherlands), have been used to estimate value for a case study in Luleå, Sweden. Three options for a newly developed area were assessed in comparison with two different baselines. The main economic benefits of the newly developed area were related to amenities, home values, health, and social cohesion rather than to stormwater. However, as a result of the proposed development, negative economic benefits (i.e., costs) were attributed to carbon sequestration and biodiversity when considering the value of the existing area due to a loss of green spaces and trees. B£ST gave higher negative impacts than TEEB. Direct comparison of each category used in each tool was not possible since these categories and the way in which the monetized values are determined in each case differ. While the overall approach used in both tools is applicable in Sweden, calculations and data used need to be adapted to local circumstances and valuation.

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