To raise the quality of our lifestyle, mental and physical health and well-being are important factor. As we all know good quality natural landscape in urban areas can influence how people feel.
What is blue-green infrastructure?
Typically green and blue infrastructure is natural and semi-natural landscape elements that could form a blue-green network. For example, hedgerows, copses, bushes, orchards, woodlands, natural grasslands and ecological parks can be said as green infrastructure. On the other hand, landscape elements linked to water might be blue infrastructure such as pools, ponds and rivers.
Green and blue infrastructure can generate some physical benefits such as improved air quality, less noise pollution, which relates to enhancing urban livability. Additionally, blue and green infrastructure can offer a possible and valuable solution for urban areas facing the challenge of climate change such as droughts and cloudbursts. It links with urban hydrological functions with urban nature, landscape design and urban planning. So, green and blue infrastructure also has impacts on climate change such as reduced risks from flooding or heat waves. In the term of mental wellbeing, it has impacts on social network and sustainable communities and urban green space can improve the public’s health. On the other hand, it costs to maintain, which is a significant problem.
Newcastle as Blue-Green City
Newcastle City Council has committed to blue-green infrastructure plan. This plan is led by the University of Nottingham. Their research has found increasing the amount of storage ponds, water channels, green roofs, green walls and green space in Newcastle, which can work to prevent flooding while providing environmental, socio-cultural, economic and ecological benefits to the people, as well as improving air quality and biodiversity.
Situation: It is estimated that the City Council highlighted a £70m gap to keep flood risk on the Ouseburn and City Center at current levels by 2030 due to the factors such as climate change and population growth. Local partners have already been working together to follow these approaches into the city, including in the final masterplan for ‘Science Central’. A new urban water facility is a part of Newcastle University’s new Urban Science Building. In addition, by dividing a section of the Ouseburn is for creating more water storage space, so the existing water channel will be used for storage in times of heavy rainfall.Ground flood map
Future flood map
Strategy: Professor Colin Thorne, from the University of Nottingham said “The project has provided us with new insights, which not only confirm how effective using blue-green infrastructure can be, but gives cities the tools to implement it. The City Council and all stakeolders have been so engaged, and the launch of the pledge can only help maintain momentum”. The multidisciplinary team led by the University of Nottingham hopes that other local and national organizations will follow their approaches to make cities as blue-green city.
- Sustainable drainage systems coupled with advanced sensing networks
- Evaluating the performance in the long term and wider interactions of blue-green infrastructure
- Understanding how climate change will influence on cities in future
- Open platform for stakeholder engagement on blue-green infrastructure
- Finding ways to optimize blue-green infrastructure to deliver multiple benefits to cities
- Overcoming barriers to innovation for achieving urban flood resilience
Next Step: Next step is achieving urban flood in future, which is set to run until 2019. The team hopes that blue-green infrastructure can turn increases in urban storm water from a threat into a resource and to identify appropriate sites for installation of their approaches in UK cities.
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Newcastle Council. (2011), Newcastle City Council Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment.
Newcastle Council. (2017), Preparing for climate change [online], Available from: https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/environment-and-waste/climate-change-and-energy-saving/preparing-climate-change [Accessed 13rd Jan].
RAMBOLL. Blue/green infrastructure design [online], Available from: http://www.ramboll.com/services-and-sectors/planning-and-urban-design/blue-green-infrastructure-design [Accessed 13rd Jan].
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE. (2016), Assessing the benefits of blue-green infrastructure [online], Available from:http://www.iph.cam.ac.uk/blog/assessing-benefits-blue-green-infrastructure/ [Accessed 13rd Jan].