June 30, 2019

Strategic cloudburst management plan will bring blue-green infrastructure to Gothenburg

Gothenburg will become the first city in Sweden to implement strategic action plans for cloudburst management in the urban environment. Ramboll has together with the city developed a method to handle major flooding in a sustainable way which includes implementation of new blue-green infrastructure.

By Boel Bengtsson and Martin Zoffmann

The city of Gothenburg in the South-Western part of Sweden is highly exposed to the consequences of climate change, as it has the country’s most water-containing river – the Göta Elv – running through the city centre and, in addition, experiences a high annual frequency of cloudbursts and storm events.

The risk of flooding might hence lead to major implications for infrastructure and inhabitants. Therefore, the City Administration has asked Ramboll to help develop a set of strategic action plans addressing the flood-risk from both storm-surge and cloudbursts.

“This is the first time something like this is done in Sweden, so we are cooperating with experts from the US and Denmark that have experience from similar projects in New York City and Copenhagen. A key aspect in this project is that we have collaborated closely with the municipality right from the start to make the plan as useable and efficient as possible,” says Henrik Bodin-Sköld, Senior Consultant, Ramboll.

New measures tested in a pilot area

The cloudburst actions include a brand-new type of infrastructure and multifunctional green spaces as well as ‘cloudburst streets’ and specific ‘floodable zones’ that will be integrated in the urban environment.

“An important part of the solution is to landscape more green and blue areas in the city. Creating parks, channels and ponds capturing the rain water will enable us to lead away the water in a smart way, causing as little damage as possible. These blue-green installations will also bring co-benefits to the city such as cleaner air and more recreational areas,” says Henrik Bodin-Sköld.

The methods included in the strategic action plans have been tested in a pilot area in Southern Gothenburg.

The strategic action plan project was presented for the City administration early June 2019. Inhabitants and other stakeholders will be highly engaged and involved in both the development of a long-term strategy and the implementation of the various actions.

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