Exploring trade-offs among the multiple benefits of green-blue-grey infrastructure for urban flood mitigation

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


Climate change is presenting one of the main challenges to our planet. In parallel, all regions of the world are projected to urbanise further. Consequently, sustainable development challenges will be increasingly concentrated in cities. A resulting impact is the increment of expected urban flood risk in many areas around the globe. Adaptation to climate change is an opportunity to improve urban conditions through the implementation of green-blue infrastructures, which provide multiple benefits besides flood mitigation. However, this is not an easy task since urban drainage systems are complex structures. This work focuses on a method to analyse the trade-offs when different benefits are pursued in stormwater infrastructure planning. A hydrodynamic model was coupled with an evolutionary optimisation algorithm to evaluate different green-blue-grey measures combinations. This evaluation includes flood mitigation as well as the enhancement of co-benefits. We confirmed optimisation as a helpful decision-making tool to visualise trade-offs among flood management strategies. Our results show that considering co-benefits enhancement as an objective boosts the selection of green-blue infrastructure. However, flood mitigation effectiveness can be diminished when extra benefits are pursued. Finally, we proved that combining green-blue-grey measures is particularly important in urban spaces when several benefits are considered simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134980
Number of pages14
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Flood damage reduction
  • Hybrid drainage infrastructure
  • Multi-objective optimisation
  • Multiple benefits
  • Nature based solutions

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