Delivering and Evaluating Multiple Flood Risk Benefits in Blue-Green Cities
University of Nottingham


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.   

Urban Flood Resilience special issue (February 2020)

Royal Society Publishing has recently published a special issue of Philosophical Transactions A entitled Urban Flood Resilience compiled and edited by Richard Fenner.

Articles can be accessed at

Download the flyer (PDF).

Urban Flood Resilience special issue

Virtual Special Issue in the Journal of Flood Risk Management December 2018

Highlighting key outputs from the Clean Water for All research project conducted in Portland, Oregon USA, in 2015-2015. A great example of UK-USA-China collaboration.  Access VSI here. 





 *The team have now embarked 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 2016, 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


Investigating the water quality of the River Leen

Hazel Wilson and Charlotte Viner (University of Nottingham) have recently been out and about doing fieldwork in the River Leen. They’ve been investigating the water quality, invertebrates, and habitat quality of the river as it flows through the city of Nottingham. Background information Urban rivers like the River Leen have been heavily impacted by humans ...

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Upstream Natural Flood Management (NFM) influencing downstream drainage

In this blog, Dick Fenner and Charlie Ferguson explore how Natural Flood Management (NFM) strategies in upstream rural parts of a catchment might influence the performance of urban drainage systems further downstream (through moderating water levels in urban watercourses). Catchment-based flood management It is estimated that there will be a general increase of between 5 ...

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Perspectives on Urban Flood Resilience

Dick Fenner (University of Cambridge) introduces the work of the Urban Flood Resilience research consortium that forms a core of papers for a special themed edition of the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions A Journal on urban flood resilience, published in February 2020. Details can be found on the special issue homepage. The edition brings together ...

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Toddbrook Reservoir – A Case of Dam Charity or Charity be Damned?

Lessons are being drawn from the near breach of Toddbrook reservoir dam concerning the vulnerability of the UK’s infrastructure to extreme events. Karen Potter reflects on the implications of the risk, liability and responsibility of ‘Toddbrooks’ being devolved to civil society. Flood risk and emergency response On August 1st 2019 approximately 1,500 residents in the ...

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Blue-Green Cities Research Project

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

Tel. 0115 8468137