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

WP2c. Behavioral Responses of Individuals and Institutions

This WP explored the perceptions and preferences of residents with regards to different types of Blue-Green infrastructure. Understanding community perceptions is especially important because, in contrast to hidden grey assets (e.g. pipes and storage tanks), Blue-Green infrastructure often changes the visible urban environment. Furthermore, agendas and funds for their installation and maintenance are often subject to residential scrutiny.


  • How do people’s perceptions and understanding of Blue-Green infrastructure affect their preferences and levels of support?
  • Do understandings, perceptions and behaviours around Blue-Green inbfrastructure develop over time and with experience?
  • What are the most valued benefits of Blue-Green infrastructure?

Key findings

  • People generally feel positively towards Blue-Green facilities for the aesthetic improvements they offer and the amenity they provide, from ponds through to permeable paving

  • Appreciation depends on the detail of the design in each instance. There are no objective measures for amenity, and so we need to understand local preferences in looking to deliver multiple benefits

  • Members of the public value having a voice in the development of facilities. This can help to increase ‘buy-in’, in the sense of adopting appropriate behaviour and willingness to help with maintenance

  • Understanding of wider Blue-Green infrastructure functions and service requirements is frequently lacking; this can become more problematic in the absence of long term engagement

  • Willingness to help maintain facilities is variable and depends on multiple factors including understanding, ease of maintenance and perceived “ownership” of the facility

  • People are willing to have local Blue-Green infrastructure installations that can reduce flood risk downstream, even when they themselves are not at risk



  • Longer-term social engagement is advised for all BGI installations; this can help improve understanding and so appreciation and behaviour
  • Publics have local knowledge that can inform proposals and local preferences that will affect appreciation of selected designs
  • Solutions will be more effective and more sustainable if they are co-developed in conversation with those who will live alongside them
  • Creative efforts at longer-term engagement and awareness-raising need to be ongoing; populations change over time and people forget, so outreach will always be beneficial

Figure left: SuDS perferences from a residents' survery conducted at Newcastle Great Park 


WP2c comprised Jessica Lamond and Glyn Everett (Centre for Floods, Communities and Resilience (CFCR), University of the West of England, UWE).

Blue-Green Cities Research Project

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

Tel. 0115 8468137