Delivering and Evaluating Multiple Flood Risk Benefits in Blue-Green Cities
University of Nottingham
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Blue-Green Cities (2013-2016)

The Blue-Green Cities Research Project was led by Prof Colin Thorne, University of Nottingham, and ran from 2013-2016. Nine UK Universities were involved in addition to numerous academic, industry and local government partners. 

The Research Consortium developed new strategies for managing urban flood risk as part of wider, integrated urban planning intended to achieve environmental enhancement and urban renewal in which multiple benefits of Blue-Green Cities are rigorously evaluated and understood. 

The project outputs are outlined in the Key Project Outputs Summary (Feb 2016) (5.8 MB PDF file icon) and factsheets.

This includes the GIS Multiple Benefits Toolbox for the assessment of the relative significance and spatial distribution of the benefits of Blue-Green infrastructure.   

 *The team are now embarking on a new EPSRC-funded research project - Achieving Urban Flood Resilience in an Uncertain Future - see*


What is a Blue-Green City?

A Blue-Green City aims to recreate a naturally-oriented water cycle while contributing to the amenity of the city by bringing water management and green infrastructure together. 

This is achieved by combining and protecting the hydrological and ecological values of the urban landscape while providing resilient and adaptive measures to deal with flood events. 

Blue-Green Cities generate a multitude of environmental, ecological, socio-cultural and economic benefits. 

What is a Blue-Green City? Read our detailed definition. 

Read more about our Research.

Meet the Blue-Green Cities Research Team

Blue-Green Cities is an interdisciplinary research project led by Colin ThorneUniversity of Nottingham

Learn more about the Blue-Green Cities Research Team.

Example publications

Allen D, Haynes H, Arthur S. Contamination of Detained Sediment in Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems. Water, 2017, 9(5), 355 - 274. DOI: 10.3390/w9050355. 

O’Donnell E, Woodhouse R, Thorne C. Evaluating the multiple benefits of a Newcastle surface water management scheme. Proceedings of the ICE – Water Management, 2017. DOI: 10.1680/jwama.16.00103. 

Everett G, Morzillo A, Lamond J, Matsler M, Chan F. Delivering Green Streets: An exploration of changing perceptions and behaviours over time around bioswales in Portland, Oregon. Journal of Flood Risk Management, 2015. Access article here

See more publications  by the Blue-Green Cities Research team.

2014 UK-US collaboration

Clean Water for All Research Project (CWFA)

Portland, May 2014: combining research expertise of the Blue-Green Cities and Portland-Vancouver ULTRA (Urban Long-term Research Area) Projects.

CWFA dissemination: this research was presented at the  Urban Water and Flood Risk Management: The Blue-Green Advantage. A China-UK-US Knowledge Exchange Workshop, June 2015, Ningbo China.

Blue-Green Cities end of project dissemination event Feb 2016

On the 18th February, the Blue-Green Cities Research Consortium and partners from the project demonstration city, Newcastle UK, hosted an event to disseminate research findings, showcase influential speakers and discuss how a Blue-Green vision for improved flood resilience might progress.  

Keynote speakers included:

  • Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development 
  • Richard Warneford, Waste Water Director, Northumbrian Water
  • Marie Fallon, Area Manager – North East, Environment Agency 
  • Colin Thorne, BGC lead, University of Nottingham 
  • Chris Kilsby and Clare Rogers, Newcastle University
  • Mary Dhonau, Chair of the Flood Protection Group for the Property Care Association, CEO of the ‘Know Your Flood Risk’ campaign  

Read more about the event and download the associated documents.

2015 demonstration case study: Newcastle

In 2015, the Blue-Green Cities team focussed their research on Newcastle, UK, and the assessment and evaluation of the multiple benefits of different flood risk management strategies in the urban core and middle Ouseburn catchment. Read more (WP5).  

Find out about the Newcastle Learning and Action Alliance (LAA)

 A photograph of a church in Newcastle, 2013  

A photograph of Newcastle SuDS (storage pond), 2013


The Need for Multi-functional Design

In this blog, Dick Fenner examines how the multi-functional design of sustainable drainage systems can enhance the multiple benefits they can produce across an urban landscape. Introduction 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 ...

The post The Need for Multi-functional Design appeared first on Blue-Green Cities.

How are transport networks going to become more resilient to flood risk?

In this blog, Dr David Dawson examines flood risk on the physical transport network and some potential developments for improving urban flood risk by connecting multiple infrastructure systems. Plumber, ‘Sorry Transport Secretary, you have a leak!’ Transport Secretary, ‘Well, how bad is it?’ The Issue The extent of flood risk across our transport networks is ...

The post How are transport networks going to become more resilient to flood risk? appeared first on Blue-Green Cities.

The Anthropogenic Catchment

In this blog, Greg O’Donnell and colleagues at Newcastle University explore the transition to the urban catchment, and the resulting effects on hydrology. Cities have hydrological impacts both within their boundaries and beyond. Through the conversion of the landscape from permeable to impervious surfaces, runoff dynamics are changed resulting in more flashy responses in urban ...

The post The Anthropogenic Catchment appeared first on Blue-Green Cities.

Malmö: two decades at the cutting edge of innovative water management

In this blog Shaun Maskrey investigates how Malmö became Europe’s poster child blue-green city following almost 20 years at the forefront of innovative water management. Sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) are a common sight in central Malmö The Issue In the late 1990s, after years of socio-economic decline and flooding as a result of overwhelmed drainage, ...

The post Malmö: two decades at the cutting edge of innovative water management appeared first on Blue-Green Cities.


Blue-Green Cities Research Project

Sir Clive Granger Building,
University of Nottingham,
University Park,
Nottingham, NG7 2RD.

Tel. 0115 8468137