Spatial evaluation of multiple benefits to encourage multi-functional design of sustainable drainage in Blue-Green cities

19 Feb 2018

Urban drainage systems that incorporate elements of green infrastructure (SuDS/GI) are central features in Blue-Green and Sponge Cities. Such approaches provide effective control of stormwater management whilst generating a range of other benefits. However these benefits often occur coincidentally and are not developed or maximised in the original design. Of all the benefits that may accrue, the relevant dominant benefits relating to specific locations and socio-environmental circumstances need to be established, so that flood management functions can be co-designed with these wider benefits to ensure both are achieved during system operation. The paper reviews a number of tools which can evaluate the multiple benefits of SuDS/GI interventions in a variety of ways and introduces new concepts of benefit intensity and benefit profile. Examples of how these concepts can be applied is provided in a case study of proposed SuDS/GI assets in the central area of Newcastle; UK. Ways in which SuDS/GI features can be actively extended to develop desired relevant dominant benefits are discussed; e.g., by (i) careful consideration of tree and vegetation planting to trap air pollution; (ii) extending linear SuDS systems such as swales to enhance urban connectivity of green space; and (iii) managing green roofs for the effective attenuation of noise or carbon sequestration. The paper concludes that more pro-active development of multiple benefits is possible through careful co-design to achieve the full extent of urban enhancement SuDS/GI schemes can offer