A team of the world’s leading researchers within urban development has joined forces in a new project aimed at improving life in cities. Ramboll’s Liveable Cities Lab spearheads the initiative.
Orestad, Denmark, 25-7-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — Every day, urban population rises by 180,000 people. More people means less space and a growing number of environmental and socio-economic challenges. Add frequent flooding incidences, sea level rise, higher temperatures and heat stress, and you have a situation that calls for new and innovative solutions within blue-green infrastructure to ensure the well-being of citizens.
Resilient and cost-effective solutions
With these global challenges in mind, a team of the most recognised scientists from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the German Zeppelin University (ZU) recently gathered at the latter in Friedrichshafen. Here they kicked off the research project, “Enhancing Blue-Green and Social Performance in high density Urban Environments”, organised in close cooperation with Ramboll’s Liveable Cities Lab.
– Traditionally infrastructure was mono-functional but as populations continue to grow, open spaces need to be multifunctional, serving as spaces for people as well as for different infrastructural needs. The project will address these challenges and provide answers for more resilient solutions that are cost-effective and meet social, environmental and economic objectives, says Herbert Dreiseitl, expert in urban development and Director of Liveable Cities Lab.
This approach aligns with the recommendations made in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report 2014 which states that options for mitigating emissions in urban areas vary, and are likely to be most effective when policy instruments are used together.
Softer skills in demand
The hypothesis of the project is that the reason for the lack of qualified blue-green infrastructure should not solely be sought in technological know-how, but also in soft skills like the management, implementation, evaluation, performance and image of such projects.
– We’ll have a strong focus on the societal benefits of blue-green and on the management skills necessary to make a good case for city decision makers and urban planners, who often lack arguments for the implementation of innovative urban technologies against the mainstream, Herbert Dreiseitl explains.
Best practice inspiration
The research team will find inspiration in best practice examples from European, Asian and American cities of different climate zones and cultures, like the Bishan Ang-Mo Kio Park in Singapore, Emerald Necklace in Boston, Cultural Centre of Tianjin in China and Kronsberg housing estate for the World Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany. Moreover, experience from less successful cases can provide important learnings about potential obstacles for implementation.
The Ramboll Foundation has donated DKK 4 million to the project. The results will be made accessible to the public through publications and presentations at conferences.
About blue-green infrastructure (from Wikipedia):
Blue-green infrastructure is a network providing the “ingredients” for solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature. The main components of this approach include storm water management, climate adaptation, less heat stress, more biodiversity, food production, better air quality, sustainable energy production, clean water and healthy soils, as well as the more anthropocentric functions such as increased quality of life through recreation and providing shade and shelter in and around towns and cities.
Director of the Liveable Cities Lab
Phone +49 7551 308330