Assessing the Co-Benefits of green-blue-grey infrastructure for sustainable urban flood risk management

Alida Alves*, Berry Gersonius, Zoran Kapelan, Zoran Vojinovic, Arlex Sanchez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


Green-blue infrastructures in urban spaces offer several co-benefits besides flood risk reduction, such as water savings, energy savings due to less cooling usage, air quality improvement and carbon sequestration. Traditionally, these co-benefits were not included in decision making processes for flood risk management. In this work we present a method to include the monetary analysis of these co-benefits into a cost-benefits analysis of flood risk mitigation measures. This approach was applied to a case study, comparing costs and benefits with and without co-benefits. Different intervention strategies were considered, using green, blue and grey measures and combinations of them. The results obtained illustrate the importance of assessing co-benefits when identifying best adaptation strategies to improve urban flood risk management. Otherwise green infrastructure is likely to appear less efficient than more conventional grey infrastructure. Moreover, a mix of green, blue and grey infrastructures is likely to result in the best adaptation strategy as these three alternatives tend to complement each other. Grey infrastructure has good performance at reducing the risk of flooding, whilst green infrastructure brings in multiple additional benefits that grey infrastructure cannot offer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-254
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Co-benefits valuation
  • Cost-benefits analysis
  • Decision making
  • Flood risk management
  • Green-blue-grey infrastructure
  • Sustainable urban drainage


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