Blue/green infrastructure design

Blue-Green infrastructure (BGI) offers a feasible and valuable solution for urban areas facing the challenges of climate change such as cloudbursts and droughts. BGI connects urban hydrological functions with urban nature, landscape design and planning. Thereby using the blue (water) and green (nature, plazas and parks) to protect against flooding and other effects of climate change.


Christian Nyerup Nielsen

Director, Climate Adaptation & Landscape
T: +45 5161 6277

BGI design provides overall socio-economic benefits in terms of co-values  and enhanced urban liveability. In addition to reduced damages, these benefits and values will typically exceed the sum of the individual components’ construction and operating cost.

In order to make BGI projects as successful as possible, many of our clients are using an integrated planning approach and start out by making a feasibility study including an assessment of the socio-economic potential, benefits and expected values.

BGI complements and in some cases replaces the need for grey infrastructure (large storm water drains, hardscape flood walls, pumping stations etc.).

When done right, the combination of socioeconomic benefits, values and lower costs from enabling natural/nature like hydrology instead of only using expensive grey infrastructure leads to substantive cost savings. 

Extensive proven track record

In conjunction with our clients, Ramboll has developed a worldwide proven concept for these kinds of studies. By combining insights of methods from disciplines such as management consulting, urban integrated water management, environment and nature protection, and water sensitive engineering. 

We have solid experience with BGI analyses from cities like New York, Gothenburg and Copenhagen, and for example in Singapore we were the leading consultant to develop the Blue/Green framework and guidelines for the city. We started the first pilot projects such as the award-winning redesign of the large Bishan Park. This lead not only into an attraction, increasing local values but also improving water security by following the key principles of BGI.

BGI benefits and recommendations for implementation

A major study into BGI  has been conducted by Ramboll’s Liveable Cities Lab in conjunction with National University of SingaporeZeppelin University in Germany, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The research reveals the main benefits of BGI:

  • Improves water quality and instils effective stormwater controls
  • Increase urban resilience to climate change, for instance, by reducing urban heat island effects and increasing biodiversity
  • Create enhanced spaces for recreation and social activities, thereby reducing public health costs, improving wellbeing whilst also attracting residents, businesses and tourism

The study also provides cities with practical recommendations to enable successful BGI implementation:

  • Articulate a clear vision of the liveability and prosperity advantages of BGI
  • Initiate small-scale pilot projects, and actively engage key stakeholders to inspire, mobilise and create ownership for BGI solutions
  • Identifying when old infrastructure is planned for renewal can be a timely opportunity for promoting BGI
  • Anchoring BGI initiatives at a leadership level whilst introducing integrated development policy and joint budgeting that cut across city institutions can overcome silos that inhibit BGI.


More information

Making Cities Liveable: Blue-Green Infrastructure and its Impact on Society

Blue-Green infrastructure and its impact on society

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St. Jørgens sø in Copenhagen

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On 2 July, 2011 large areas of the city of Copenhagen were flooded. Copenhagen is on the front line of climate change, experiencing increasingly heavy rain events, as they are also on the leading edge of urban innovation with a vision of transforming their city into a sustainable, C02 neutral city by 2025.

Photo: Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl Singapore

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