Greenprint Resource Hub

Greenprints Defined

Aerial view of an expansive housing development alongside a river that flows beside coastal wetlands.
Beach Haven West, New Jersey Aerial image of Beach Haven West, New Jersey, on the mainland side of Manahawkin Bay, and across the water from Long Island Beach. © George Steinmetz

A greenprint is a plan, tool or process that reveals the range of benefits provided by natural infrastructure.

It is a flexible, collaborative, strategic approach that engages partners and uses the best available science to identify multiple-benefit nature-based solutions for decision-makers. Greenprints identify diverse solutions to increase community and ecosystem resilience.

These solutions can range from conserving natural lands to protect drinking water to preserving working lands to support rural economies, and from restoring habitat to protect wildlife to expanding urban forests and designing parks to improve community health.

View on a clear day from the summit of a mountain, looking down toward forested slopes and a valley below, with trees in the foreground.
Spruce Knob At 4,863 feet, Spruce Knob is the highest point in the state of West Virginia and the summit of Spruce Mountain, the highest peak in the Allegheny Mountains. © Kent Mason

Greenprinting is an adaptable process that:

  • Highlights environmental interests and concerns
  • Promotes engagement and user-centered design
  • Stimulates multidisciplinary support
  • Provides a wide range of benefits
  • Utilizes place-based analysis
  • Helps translate data
  • Is implementation-oriented
Aerial view of a river winding through a delta region.
Louisiana Aerial photo of a distributary in the Atchafalaya River Delta, Louisiana. © Carlton Ward, Jr.
Grassland in a valley with rolling, elevated terrain in the distance.
Rio Limay Landscape and grassland of the Limay River (Rio Limay) valley, in Neuquen Province, Argentina. © Bridget Besaw

What greenprints are

  • A starting point for long-term collaborative planning
  • A plan or tool to guide investments in conservation or green infrastructure
  • A platform to work with diverse partners to identify opportunities to achieve multiple goals
  • An assessment that identifies the natural features and conservation values that are most important to partners or communities
  • A resource that helps understand shared priorities and facilities collaboration
A hiker looks through binoculars while standing in moving water in a canyon.
Canyon hiking with binoculars Celeste Andresen, TNC ranch manager and outreach liaison, hiking from the west side trailhead of Aravaipa Canyon Preserve, Arizona. © Justin Bailie

What greenprints are not

  • A map of land use prohibitions or a regulatory plan that dictates specific land use
  • A complete inventory of everything important within an area
  • Determined by one (or just a few) perspectives
  • Limited to protecting one conservation value (like wildlife habitat)
  • An effort to subvert private property rights or related to condemning or taking private property
  • A requirement that agencies or partners engage in specific projects

Getting started

How do you determine if a greenprint is right for you? These key questions are intended to be a roadmap in guiding practitioners through the most important elements of designing a successful greenprint.