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Green spaces are areas covered by vegetation (e.g. grass, bushes or trees), where water can permeate through the soil and vegetation, filtrating part of the sediment and pollutants before reaching the underlying groundwater. Green spaces and permeable surfaces are particularly relevant in urban settings, where they help to uptake and infiltrate water, decreasing runoff rates. The water also often contains excessive amounts of pollutants. This subsequently reduces pressure on water drainage systems and treatment facilities. The high retention capacity of vegetation makes it important for mitigating floods and managing urban storm water.
Managing rainwater infiltration rates has become increasingly important to meet the challenge of increased frequency and severity of cloudbursts resulting from the changing climate. Apart from storm water management’s applicable value, green spaces also contribute to improved living environments by creating recreational areas for urban populations, contributing to air quality and creating habitats for urban biodiversity. Examples of urban green spaces include: forests, wetlands, parks, sports fields, agricultural land, gardens and green roofs. Public green spaces are protected, designed (if necessary), managed and maintained by local municipalities.