On the 14th January I attended the latest update meeting of the innovative Blue-Green Cities initiative. The meeting was held at Newcastle University which seemed a fitting venue as the group got to grips with the finer detail of how the proposed demonstration sites along the Ouseburn and Tyne within the City of Newcastle, will be used to assess the multiple benefits of different blue-green infrastructure scenarios. The research encompasses many disciplines, which makes for a unique and very aspirational project in terms of its expected outputs. Many of the researchers specialise in the flood inundation modelling sector, but the project is far more ambition than just modelling flood risk management scenarios. It also deals with the uncertainties and complexities surrounding sediment and debris processes and tries to identify what management is appropriate to mitigate detrimental impacts to river habitats whilst still effectively managing floods. This is interwoven into the understanding of the risk and uncertainty surrounding implementing flood management change in the context of community buy-in and perception, how new ideas are implemented into planning processes and how these are governed by environmental economics.
The project is now just into its 3rd year. During the last 2 years researchers have been grappling with a serious of blue-green infrastructure questions. It is now time to bring these separate research strands together to provide a more integrated understanding of the success and issues of retrofitting and implementing green-blue strategies in urban settings, via the demonstration sites. What however, sets this project’s research apart, is the strong relationship with the steering advisory group (SAB). The researchers and SAB work closely together, having regular meetings such as the one in January, to ensure that research outputs will provide a practical output and address as many multiple benefits as possible. The SAB group has representatives from consultants, Councils, and key environmental agencies from across the UK thus ensuring that the challenges they face on a pratical day to day basis are considered within the research.
Updates and more information about this project, and the roles of the various researches can be found http://www.bluegreencities.ac.uk/bluegreencities/index.aspx