Urban Green and Blue Infrastructure in the View of Global Warming

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Land–Climate Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 July 2022) | Viewed by 22380

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Applied Sciences, Brodaer Str. 2, 17033 Neubrandenburg, Germany
Interests: green infrastructure; green roofs; living walls; biodiversity; urban ecology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Gartenbau und Arboristik e.V., 14979 Großbeeren, Germany
Interests: green roofs; green walls; urban greenery; rainwater management; climate adaptation; irrigated green roofs

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global warming and urban heat islands are key challenges today. The typical urban heat island is characterized by paved areas and a lack of vegetation. In recent decades, a number of research studies have guided the way to bring evaporative urban surfaces back into cities. Solutions can be found in “blue–green infrastructure”, which refers to infrastructure that incorporates vegetation on the surfaces of buildings and within the surrounding cityscape. For example, green roofs, vertical green systems, and rain gardens are related instruments that retain rainwater, clean grey water, and re-use this water before it finally infiltrates into the ground or is sent into the sewer system.

Evapotranspiration has massive cooling capacity without producing waste heat. This ecological benefit can also be an economic success in cities by reducing the need for investment in typical centralized grey infrastructure. In addition, blue–green infrastructure can transform the cityscape to create green and livable cities with higher biodiversity.

This cross-disciplinary initiative requires the cooperation of urban planners in combination with civil engineers, plant science specialists, and others. From research to administrative action, this is the path to achieve cooler and more sustainable cities. You are invited to contribute to this thematic publication to present current knowledge from your research. Evaluations of city case studies or administrative programs are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Manfred Koehler
Daniel Kaiser
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • blue–green infrastructure
  • rain garden
  • green roofs
  • rain water management
  • water cycle
  • evapotranspiration
  • biodiversity
  • sustainable urban water concepts
  • zero run-off properties
  • ecosystem services

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

27 pages, 7045 KiB  
Article
Integrated Planning and Implementation of a Blue-Green Architecture Project by Applying a Design-Build Teaching Approach
by Friederike Well and Ferdinand Ludwig
Land 2022, 11(5), 762; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11050762 - 23 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2925
Abstract
Blue-green architecture (BGA) describes buildings and open spaces that combine nature-based and technical systems of vegetation and urban water management. This creates positive effects on the urban climate, public health, biodiversity, and water balance. In this study, a design strategy for BGA is [...] Read more.
Blue-green architecture (BGA) describes buildings and open spaces that combine nature-based and technical systems of vegetation and urban water management. This creates positive effects on the urban climate, public health, biodiversity, and water balance. In this study, a design strategy for BGA is applied and evaluated on a practical project. The project consists of an interdisciplinary course in which students of architecture and landscape architecture designed and implemented a BGA for a school garden in Munich, Germany. The students worked in an interdisciplinary planning team in which they took on different roles and responsibilities (blue/green/integration). As a result, the design was put into practice by their own hands and a nature-based system was built. The greywater from the school garden is now treated in a constructed wetland and, in combination with rainwater, feeds into a redesigned pond. Biodiversity was increased and a contribution to the environmental education of the pupils was made. The students demonstrated high learning success. Finally, the design strategy for BGA was positively evaluated using a design-based research approach and additional points were added for future applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green and Blue Infrastructure in the View of Global Warming)
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15 pages, 1158 KiB  
Article
Green May Be Nice, but Infrastructure Is Necessary
by Elke Mertens, Richard Stiles and Nilgül Karadeniz
Land 2022, 11(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11010089 - 6 Jan 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3121
Abstract
Green infrastructure is presented as a novel and innovative approach in the current environmental planning discourse, but how new is it really? An historical overview of planning ideas in both the urban and the rural contexts indicates that the concept, if not the [...] Read more.
Green infrastructure is presented as a novel and innovative approach in the current environmental planning discourse, but how new is it really? An historical overview of planning ideas in both the urban and the rural contexts indicates that the concept, if not the term, “green infrastructure” has a very long and distinguished pedigree in the field of landscape and open space planning. To determine how far the concept is indeed new, definitions of green infrastructure from the literature are examined. While “green” has long been loosely used as a synonym for natural features and vegetation in the planning context, “infrastructure” is the part of the term which is really novel. Infrastructure is otherwise understood as being either “technical” or “social”, and the common features of these otherwise very different forms are considered in order to gain a better understanding of how they might also relate to a new interpretation of green infrastructure. A number of international case studies of different “green infrastructure” projects are then presented, again to better understand their common features and potential relationship to other infrastructure types. Finally, the necessity to consider green and blue areas together and to take them as seriously as other forms of infrastructure is emphasized. The developing climate and biodiversity crises underline the urgency of implementing a flexible and multifunctional green-blue infrastructure system. This must be carefully integrated into the existing fabric of both urban and rural landscapes and will require an appropriately resourced administration and management system, reflecting its beneficial impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green and Blue Infrastructure in the View of Global Warming)
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24 pages, 8622 KiB  
Article
Green Urban (RE) Generation: A Research and Practice Methodology to Better Implement Green Urban Infrastructure Solutions
by Jon Laurenz, Jone Belausteguigoitia, Ander de la Fuente and Daniel Roehr
Land 2021, 10(12), 1376; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121376 - 12 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2515
Abstract
Green Urban Infrastructure Solutions (GUIS) are becoming more and more popular globally. Recent research reveals the environmental benefits derived from GUIS as well as their contribution to climate change adaptation. However, the urgent need for GUIS in order to meet the Paris Agreement, [...] Read more.
Green Urban Infrastructure Solutions (GUIS) are becoming more and more popular globally. Recent research reveals the environmental benefits derived from GUIS as well as their contribution to climate change adaptation. However, the urgent need for GUIS in order to meet the Paris Agreement, has not translated into an easy implementation thereof. This paper proposes a circular design methodology (CDM) where the combination of research and practice contributes to minimize both current skepticism and barriers when implementing GUIS. It includes a community engagement process to better understand their sensitivity and build consensus on GUIS. Additionally, GUIS are implemented, in a series of pilot projects and specific research is applied to comprehend the environmental benefits derived from these GUIS. The paper argues that GUIS represent a significant opportunity to respond to climate change risks as well as to achieve other urban benefits; however, in order to overcome existing barriers and skepticism, the proposed CDM reaches for more consensual urban solutions and drives uptake and implementation of GUIS, contributing to move from pilot project to common practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green and Blue Infrastructure in the View of Global Warming)
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22 pages, 52430 KiB  
Article
Evapotranspiration Measurements and Assessment of Driving Factors: A Comparison of Different Green Roof Systems during Summer in Germany
by Dominik Gößner, Milena Mohri and Justine Jasmin Krespach
Land 2021, 10(12), 1334; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121334 - 3 Dec 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4366
Abstract
Green roofs have proven to be a space-saving solution to mitigate peak temperatures and control floods in urban areas through evaporative cooling and storm water retention. To encourage a sustainable city design with large-scale green infrastructure networks, a better differentiation between the diverse [...] Read more.
Green roofs have proven to be a space-saving solution to mitigate peak temperatures and control floods in urban areas through evaporative cooling and storm water retention. To encourage a sustainable city design with large-scale green infrastructure networks, a better differentiation between the diverse existing green roof systems is needed. The aim of this study is to demonstrate differences among green roof systems based on comprehensive microclimatic measurements on four small experimental roofs and to assess differences in evapotranspiration with a partial least square regression. The results show that short-wave solar radiation, relative humidity and water availability are the most important drivers of evapotranspiration. The roof system with permanent water storage maintained significantly higher substrate moisture compared to the other roofs and produced peak evapotranspiration rates of 4.88 mm d−1. The highest total evapo-transpiration of 526 mm from April to September was recorded for the roof system with the thickest substrate layer and grass vegetation. In summer, the shallowest roof showed the highest substrate temperature and air temperature at vegetation level. These findings highlight the importance of specifying the characteristics of the various green roofs in order to turn them into useful planning tools for the design of climate-change-resilient cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green and Blue Infrastructure in the View of Global Warming)
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13 pages, 4268 KiB  
Article
Rooting Volume Impacts Growth, Coverage and Thermal Tolerance of Green Façade Climbing Plants
by Pei-Wen Chung, Stephen J. Livesley, John P. Rayner and Claire Farrell
Land 2021, 10(12), 1281; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121281 - 23 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1936
Abstract
Green façades can provide cooling benefits through the shading of walls, evapotranspiration, and insulation. These benefits depend on good plant coverage and tolerance of heat stress. This requires sufficient rooting volume for plant growth and an adequate supply of moisture. On high-rise buildings, [...] Read more.
Green façades can provide cooling benefits through the shading of walls, evapotranspiration, and insulation. These benefits depend on good plant coverage and tolerance of heat stress. This requires sufficient rooting volume for plant growth and an adequate supply of moisture. On high-rise buildings, plants can be constrained by small rooting volumes due to engineering weight limits and cost. We assessed effects of rooting volume (21, 42, and 63 L) on the growth and coverage of Akebia quinata and Pandorea pandorana and leaf stress (chlorophyll fluorescence) in response to increasing air temperatures. We showed that 42 and 63 L rooting volumes significantly increased early plant growth and the percentage wall coverage for both species. Specific leaf area was significantly greater when grown in 63 L compared with 21 L. Shoot/root ratio did not change with rooting volumes. Regardless of rooting volume, higher air temperatures on west-facing aspects led to afternoon leaf stress. In practice, for each cubic meter of rooting volume, 21 m2 (P. pandorana) and 10 m2 (A. quinata) canopy coverage can be expected within six months. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green and Blue Infrastructure in the View of Global Warming)
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21 pages, 2981 KiB  
Article
Alternative Engineered Soils and Seed Mixes Used for Seepage Troughs
by Oliver Weiss, Pia Minixhofer, Nadine Werner, Stefan Riedenbauer, Elisabeth Olesko, Katharina Lübke, Bernhard Scharf and Ulrike Pitha
Land 2021, 10(11), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10111152 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2181
Abstract
Green Infrastructure measures such as seepage troughs are an integral part of sustainable urban rainwater management. In Austria, seepage troughs are currently almost exclusively produced with a 30 cm thick active soil filter passage made of topsoil. A standard seed mix is used [...] Read more.
Green Infrastructure measures such as seepage troughs are an integral part of sustainable urban rainwater management. In Austria, seepage troughs are currently almost exclusively produced with a 30 cm thick active soil filter passage made of topsoil. A standard seed mix is used as vegetation, which usually consists of only three different turfgrass species. During a three-year trial, engineered soils with improved properties (increased water storage capacity, infiltration rate and pore volume) were tested for their suitability as seepage troughs compared to topsoil. In addition to the standard turf seed mix, a flowering turf seed mix (34 species) and flowering meadow seed mix (53 species) were applied. The engineered and reference soils were analyzed for infiltration rate, vitality, cover ratio and inflorescence. The results were further assessed with the evaluation chart showing quantitatively the suitability of the tested soils for rainwater management. The investigations showed that engineered soils in combination with flowering meadow seed mix lead to the best results. Therefore, this type of vegetation for seepage troughs is recommended for future applications. The reference alternatives cannot be recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green and Blue Infrastructure in the View of Global Warming)
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15 pages, 3874 KiB  
Article
Equation for Calculating Evapotranspiration of Technical Soils for Urban Planting
by Oliver Weiss, Pia Minixhofer, Bernhard Scharf and Ulrike Pitha
Land 2021, 10(6), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060622 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2296
Abstract
Equations for calculating evapotranspiration in technical soils show great differences regarding their results. Causes are the different climatic conditions and vegetation specifics during their development. Every equation of evapotranspiration only delivers 100% correct results if it is used under the same climatic condition [...] Read more.
Equations for calculating evapotranspiration in technical soils show great differences regarding their results. Causes are the different climatic conditions and vegetation specifics during their development. Every equation of evapotranspiration only delivers 100% correct results if it is used under the same climatic condition as it was developed in. To determine the evapotranspiration, the loss of weight of different technical soils and plants was measured in a test series on load cells in a climate chamber. The result of these test series is the development of an easy-to-use equation. An equation for calculating evapotranspiration at any temperature is possible while using a polynomial correlation. To determine the evapotranspiration rate (in mm/m² per 24 h), only temperature, vegetation type, and technical soil have to be defined to obtain an output of evapotranspiration in mm/day. Using the well-known equation by Makkink, evapotranspiration in technical soils is 0.12 mm/day, whereas the newly developed equation calculates (1) 2.59–5.58 mm/day for the variant with no vegetation, (2) 3.15–4.00 mm/day for Sedum floriferum, (3) 4.40–4.55 mm/day for Geranium x cantabrigiense. The application of this equation will help to determine the evapotranspiration in chosen technical soils (used in the sector of rainwater management) with or without vegetation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green and Blue Infrastructure in the View of Global Warming)
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