Green / Blue Cities Of The Future
Worldwide, urban areas have to deal with climate change. Consequences: to much water, drought and not enough drinking water. It’s time for climate change adaptation. More water and flora (making the city greener) will make the city more resilient during periods of extreme rainfall or drought.
Adaptation leads to increased biodiversity in cities and stimulates ecological added value for the city. This can be seen throughout the city, from green roofs and wilderness school playgrounds to natural riverbanks and pleasant green surrounding countryside. At the same time the city is becoming a more attractive place to live.
Climate change adaption presents a range of opportunities for strengthening the area-specific eco-systems. Especially for delta-cities. The estuary ecology with its gradual transition from fresh water to salty water and from wetlands to dry land can be reincorporated in the city in the form of tidal parks and tidal nature.
Increase your water storage capacity
In all parts of a city, rainwater can be captured and retained where it falls and drainage delayed.
Rainwater should be used to augment the groundwater and to irrigate the flora of the city. However, that in itself will not be enough.The increase in short, sharp downpours means that the urban water system has to become more resilient. The water storage capacity of public areas needs to be increased. Possible measures:
- water squares can be an attractive solution for heavily used areas with little available space
- ‘Blue Roofs’ that can be combined with the re-use of rainwater within the building
- store the rainwater using ‘intelligent street profiles‘ which warns the owners of a building to take action and protect the building against flooding
- the construction of underground water storage in combination with other techniques as porous paving stones, is useful in places with limited space
- the drainage capacity can be increased through the above-ground drainage of rainwater
- don’t forget to take care of your water pipes because a lot of water is spilled because of failing infrastructure systems
Such waterproof public areas are capable of temporarily storing water on the streets without causing any damage. And the inhabitants can play an active role, which in turn improves social cohesion.
The main added value for the city is the creation of an attractive and green-blue environment with sustainable solutions for coping with rainwater.
Many of the measures that effectively combat low groundwater levels and drying up, are part of the standard measures for creating a ‘climate proof’ city: a ‘Green/Blue City’.
An effective robust measure is to create extra surface water in the city like expansion of existing or the creation of new alkes, canals, waterways and ditches.
Adaptive measures make the system more resilient and less vulnerable to periods of drought.
Such projects directly contribute to increasing the infiltration capacity of the ground and making the city act as a sponge.
Greenery in the city
- not only incorporate more green like trees and bushes along the streets and along the infrastructure (boulevards, quays, open areas, cycle and walking routes)
- also good management and extension of parks and greenbelts, such as ‘Blue Corridors’
- infiltrating vegetation (bioswales and bioretention ponds)
- ‘Paving out, Plants in!’: replacing paving in gardens – trees can absorb more water and reduce runoff
- adaptive measures may also be taken on private property like ‘Green Roofs‘
- playgrounds and wilderness playgrounds to ‘building with nature’
- use highly reflective materials in public areas
- and incorporate water features (fountains) providing refreshing and attractiveness
This article will help (delta)cities implementing a strategy and for devising action perspectives for the various stakeholders. The development of these instruments, frequently in cooperation with SMEs, is a good example of using climate change adaptation to create (economic) added value.
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- Don’t spill a drop of water, collect rainwater on roofs
- Dozens of America’s east coast cities face routine tidal flooding under climate change
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