Smart Sustainable Districts webinar presents revolutionary Blue Green Systems approach

Urban planning that considers synergy and is collaborative is essential to making cities more resilient and sustainable, as well as generating societal benefits such as safety and health. This was a major point of discussion in Climate-KIC’s Smart Sustainable Districts webinar on Blue Green Systems, an urban planning approach that deploys nature-based solutions to help cities cope with the impacts of climate change. It’s further asserted that the Blue Green Systems approach leads to more attractive living, overall.

Cities get the most out of nature-based solutions by considering multi-functional potential

The Blue Green Systems approach harnesses the power of nature-based solutions—green infrastructure installations such as green roofs, tree pits, and swales—but takes them one step further by exploiting their multi-functional potential. “Cities often do not get the best out of nature-based solutions, because they tend to use them in a mono-functional way, ignoring that a greener infrastructure can help solve not only ecological but also other urban challenges,” says Maarten van Reeuwijk, a senior lecturer at London’s Imperial College and member of the Blue Green Dream team. To illustrate the synergy benefits of nature-based solutions, Maarten uses the example of outdoor air evaporative cooling, which reduces the risk of surface floods resulting in better conditions for pedestrians, in turn increasing the attractiveness of a city to citizens and visitors, and boosting local trade and earnings.

Meaningful data needed to make informed choices

The systemic use of synergies is a main feature of the Blue Green Systems approach. Three other key ingredients—the full quantification of all benefits, extensive stakeholder involvement, and pre-planning for optimal design—create the framework for resilient, sustainable, and cost-effective urban development. Frans van de Ven, expert advisor at Deltares, an independent institute for applied research in the field of water and subsurface, said the vast number of measures that can be taken to increase a city’s resilience can be quite overwhelming for city planners: “Making the right choice can only be achieved by quantifying all effects of each measure.” The Blue Green Systems approach supports this process with a number of tools and metrics, and a systematic pre-planning methodology that results in a conceptual design brief with proposed solutions. Furthermore, the metrics can be customized to suit different locations, with different climates. “There is often inertia associated with what we bring, but our experiences have shown that the results are so much better when you combine solutions and bring all experts and stakeholders around one table to plan collaboratively,” says Maarten van Reeuwijk. He adds that investors are simply willing to invest more if provided with a full picture of socio-economic benefits resulting from nature-based solutions.

Utrecht develops second city centre

Jeanet Hekhuis, from the Municipality of Utrecht, shares her experiences from a customer point of view. Utrecht joined the SSD network looking for expert advice and support for the development of its second city centre, aiming for CO2-neutral housing, and infrastructure with a focus on green and healthy urban living. “There is so much knowledge out there. Do take the time and use it for the benefit of your own project,” says Jeanet Hekhuis. With the need to house a population that is growing by 25 per cent, Utrecht’s city planners—supported by the Smart Sustainable Districts and the Blue Green Systems team—developed four scenarios, calculating costs and benefits of each option in order to get a detailed picture of what could be done where and how. Hekhuis stresses the need to quantify the effects of different measures and to involve the community into the planning process: “We now know that we can become energy neutral as a city, but we have seen through this process that we can achieve even more.” This article was written by Daniela Schwartz. For more information on the Blue Green Systems approach, please visit www.bgd.org.uk or contact our Smart Sustainable Districts team: Tim.Taylor@climate-kic.org.uk. The webinar recordings and presentations are available on climate-kic.org/ssd.

 
Location
Articles you may be interested in
In The News
A new air and climate plan for Milan

The City Council of Milan approved the Air and...

A new air and climate plan for Milan
In The News
Meet the three EIT Climate-KIC innovators nominated for EIT Awards

Three innovators from EIT Climate-KIC’s community have been nominated...

Meet the three EIT Climate-KIC innovators nominated for EIT Awards
In The News
100 European cities take up the challenge to become carbon neutral by 2030

On Monday 13 June, the representatives of the 100...

100 European cities take up the challenge to become carbon neutral by 2030
In The News
The role of cities and regions in transforming wood value chains

Climate smart forest economies It’s a crucial decade for...

The role of cities and regions in transforming wood value chains
In The News
Glasgow City Region pioneering forest economy innovation to drive climate acti...

Scotland’s largest city region is actively tackling climate change...

Glasgow City Region pioneering forest economy innovation to drive climate action
In The News
Forging sustainable timber construction in Europe

EIT Climate-KIC and Built by Nature, announce an initiative...

Forging sustainable timber construction in Europe
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC launches new Circularity Thinking training programme

EIT Climate-KIC is launching Circularity Thinking courses to tackle...

EIT Climate-KIC launches new Circularity Thinking training programme
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC announces four winners of EIT Community Booster

EIT Climate-KIC selected four cleantech start-ups to be part...

EIT Climate-KIC announces four winners of EIT Community Booster
In The News
Science reveals last paths to stop irreversible planetary damage

Climate change is going to get worse, but curbing global warming is...

Science reveals last paths to stop irreversible planetary damage
In The News
EIT Community presents New European Bauhaus Ideation Awards winners

Supported by the EIT Community, the New European Bauhaus...

EIT Community presents New European Bauhaus Ideation Awards winners
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC joins forces with the Government of Ireland to stimulate clima...

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Marine of...

EIT Climate-KIC joins forces with the Government of Ireland to stimulate climate innovation in the agri-food sector
In The News
Climate Lab: EIT Climate-KIC co-initiates hotspot for Vienna’s climate ambit...

Climate Lab in Vienna will give climate actors an...

Climate Lab: EIT Climate-KIC co-initiates hotspot for Vienna’s climate ambitions
In The News
Seven takeaways from the latest IPCC report

On 28 February, the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)...

Seven takeaways from the latest IPCC report
In The News
EIT launches new Global Outreach website

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has...

EIT launches new Global Outreach website
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC and Amazon launch call for sustainable start-ups

Working on transformative, systemic innovation to accelerate a net-zero...

EIT Climate-KIC and Amazon launch call for sustainable start-ups
In The News
Votes open for the 2021 New European Bauhaus Ideation Awards – Audience Awar...

Do you want to support innovative solutions that integrate...

Votes open for the 2021 New European Bauhaus Ideation Awards – Audience Award
In The News
Brill Power’s new innovation radically increases battery life and storag...

Brill Power, supported by EIT Climate-KIC, has launched the...

Brill Power’s new innovation radically increases battery life and storage capacity
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC CEO Dr. Kirsten Dunlop gives TEDx Talk

EIT Climate-KIC CEO Dr. Kirsten Dunlop delivered a talk,...

EIT Climate-KIC CEO Dr. Kirsten Dunlop gives TEDx Talk
In The News
Putting theory into practice: EIT Climate-KIC Pioneer innovating the Greek mar...

To tackle complex climate challenges, we need a broader...

Putting theory into practice: EIT Climate-KIC Pioneer innovating the Greek maritime sector
In The News
EIT launches call for proposals to boost innovation in Higher Education Instit...

Unlocking the potential of higher education institutions for innovation...

EIT launches call for proposals to boost innovation in Higher Education Institutions
In The News
The Dolomites forging climate resilience

The Italian Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are...

The Dolomites forging climate resilience
In The News
People-powered resilience: Andalusia announces new climate action plan

The region’s climate action plan has been announced, with...

People-powered resilience: Andalusia announces new climate action plan
In The News
Built by Nature: new initiative to accelerate the transition to sustainable co...

The built environment accounts for close to 40 per...

Built by Nature: new initiative to accelerate the transition to sustainable construction in cities
In The News
The State of California and EIT Climate-KIC advance partnership for climate in...

Glasgow, 8 November – The California Governor’s Office of...

The State of California and EIT Climate-KIC advance partnership for climate innovation
In The News
COP26: UN Climate Change and EIT Climate-KIC partner to establish new Global I...

A new digital Global Innovation Hub has been launched at...

COP26: UN Climate Change and EIT Climate-KIC partner to establish new Global Innovation Hub
In The News
ClimateLaunchpad announces 2021 competition winners

EIT Climate-KIC’s ClimateLaunchpad – the world’s largest green business...

ClimateLaunchpad announces 2021 competition winners
In The News
EIT Cross-KIC New European Bauhaus launches Ideation – Deadline Extended

EIT Climate-KIC has launched a call for ideas on...

EIT Cross-KIC New European Bauhaus launches Ideation – Deadline Extended
In The News
Call for proposals: Scaling the New European Bauhaus Ventures

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has...

Call for proposals: Scaling the New European Bauhaus Ventures
In The News
Glasgow City Region in the race to resilience

Glasgow, which is hosting this year’s UN Climate Change...

Glasgow City Region in the race to resilience
In The News
Gipuzkoa’s quest for sustainability

Gipuzkoa, the smallest Spanish province located in the Basque...

Gipuzkoa’s quest for sustainability