Global uptake of Green Infrastructure being driven from the region

The project will bring best-practice knowledge to the region from Green Infrastructure projects that have been developed around the world.

The Newcastle staff will work with New York, London and Melbourne offices, as well as with academics from Newcastle University, and the University of the West of England, who will review the latest thinking.

A new community-led Green Infrastructure scheme will also be developed in Melbourne, and then compared to opportunities in Newcastle, as well as the cities feeding in their practical experiences.

Cllr Ged Bell, Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet Member with lead responsibility for climate change, said: “This is a fantastic example of strong private and public sector collaboration to address the impacts of climate change, a threat to our economy and neighbourhoods”.

“The research and innovation will help us in implementing Green Infrastructure in the city as well as strengthening the world-leading reputation and work of both Arup and the University in this field”.
The project will build on major existing research happening in the City, such as the BlueGreenCities research project, which is exploring how blue infrastructure such as storage ponds and lakes, and green infrastructure such as green roofs and walls could be used to manage flood risk across the City Centre whilst delivering other benefits.

There is an increasing movement to ‘green’ our towns and cities in order to benefit society, ecology and the general environment. 

Green places are healthier places in numerous ways. Green infrastructure addresses a range of related issues in cities, such as higher temperatures than rural areas, flood risk, pollution control, noise and visual buffering, air quality and amenity provision in high density spaces.

Newcastle University’s Richard Dawson, Professor of Earth Systems Engineering, said: “Green infrastructure is extremely effective in tackling risks from climate change, whilst bringing benefits to physical and mental health, biodiversity and the economy. The University is increasingly looking to help the City realise these opportunities, and increase our understanding in this area. This project will complement the £10m investment in urban water research in the UK Collaboration for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) consortium that the Chancellor announced in the 2015 Budget.”

Dr David Hetherington, Water Research Leader at Arup, who is managing the project, said: “The benefits in creating greener and healthier places to live and work in are clear. Implementing innovative green infrastructure can reduce flood risk, help to regulate temperature, reduce winds, naturally cleanse water and air, improve habitat and biodiversity and improve the look and feel of towns and cities.
This will become increasingly important as we face the challenges of climate change and a growing urban population. 

A really exciting aspect of this project is that it will help us to understand how we pay for GI and implement it as a society. This project provides us with a great opportunity to share the great work that has been done locally in Newcastle whilst benefiting locally from a global research project.”

The project started this month and will run to June 2016 when additional funding will be sought in order to further develop the work.