Urban communities that opt for green infrastructure, such as rain gardens and on-site water treatment features, might be able to find willing volunteers to help maintain it. Because it is decentralized across a city and requires constant maintenance and upkeep, green infrastructure is difficult to maintain for public works departments. A study by the University of Illinois and Reed College found that residents value such landscaped features and some said they would be willing to help maintain them.
The researchers in Chicago and Portland, Ore., offered respondents a series of hypothetical scenarios aimed at reducing flooding, improving water quality, and strengthening aquatic habitats in local rivers and streams. The study found that people would be willing to spend a considerable amount of time working to support environmentally beneficial features especially if it directly benefitted their local community. Respondents strongly valued efforts to improve habitat for aquatic creatures and to reduce water pollution to make rivers and streams more usable.
The study also indicated support for fees or taxes to fund these projects.