Building Resilience with Green Urbanisation

Monday 28th February 2022
Green Urbanisation Green City Polypipe Permavoid Polystorm

Resilient cities protect people and our planet, while driving positive change.


55% of the world’s population currently live in cities, and this is calculated to rise to 68% by 2050[1]. However, increased urbanisation cannot occur at the expense of human health or the environment. It’s vital to create truly resilient cities that support health, wellbeing, and the environment for now and for future generations.


A key aspect of creating resilient cities is Green Urbanisation. This refers to a new generation of technologies, installed through a community or city, to solve water management and climatic challenges. The idea is to leverage innovative and sustainable water and climate management solutions that protect urban green assets, creating greener, healthier, and more efficient cities.


The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan aims to create a truly interconnected, people-led city, adopting innovative approaches disaster risk reduction. Green Urbanisation can help to create a resilient city. Green Urbanisation solutions, if implemented properly, can:


  • Reduce flooding and water pollution
  • Combat climate change
  • Increase biodiversity
  • Cool temperatures in cities
  • Enhance wellbeing


Introducing effective sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) solutions that incorporate Green Urbanisation, can deliver multi-functional benefits such as rooftop amenity and the cooling of urban environment.


Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) play an essential role in creating resilient cities. Traditionally, communities have used ‘grey’ infrastructure – systems of gutters, pipes and tunnels that move stormwater away from where we live and into treatment plants or even directly into surrounding water bodies.


Grey infrastructure, however, can no longer support our rising water consumption. Its capacity to manage increased volumes of stormwater is limited, not to mention the toll this approach takes on the environment and human health. These systems pick up trash, bacteria, heavy metals, and other pollutants which travel through storm sewers and are deposited in local waterways. Furthermore, heavy rainstorms can cause flooding that can lead to property damage or harm to human health.


That’s why cities are now increasingly adopting green urbanisation, to bolster capacity to manage stormwater in addition to protecting health, wellbeing, and our environment.


SuDS provide the perfect solution for effective water and climate management in urban communities. SuDS mimic the Earth’s natural water cycle to capture, store, treat and reuse water. This approach is cyclic and focuses on reuse, differentiating itself from conventionally linear systems in which water is treated as a waste product. 


Essentially, SuDS is a key step in the natural evolution of modern communities. They use water in a way that meets current social, economic, and ecological needs, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet those same needs.


green urbanisation resilient cities polypipe


Here’s how Green Urbanisation can help create multi-functional spaces and support urban resilience:


Blue-Green/Green Roofs


A green or blue roof is a roof surface partially or complete covered with a lightweight growing medium and plants, planted over a waterproofing system that can capture, store, treat and reuse water. Green roofs can retain 70-90% of stormwater and reuse it for diverse purposes from irrigation to drainage[2]. The integration of a green roof can also help reduce the risk of flooding.


One solution that supports the cconstruction of green roofs is Permavoid – our multi-award-winning, geocellular water management solution that uses a ‘source control’ water strategy. Permavoid provides an innovative drainage solution in urban settings that not only intercepts stormwater by preventing flooding, but also manages it efficiently and effectively using vegetation.


Deep Tank Attenuation


In an attenuation system, water is stored within the system and with flow controls until it is slowly released back into the city or facility’s water networks. Storm or surface water is collected through an attenuation tank, after which controlled volumes flow to the main system as to avoid overwhelming it.


Our innovative attenuation solution Polystorm is effective for deep attenuation. Each Polystorm cell has a 95% void ratio for maximum water capture and retention. The high strength and modular nature of Polystorm cells make them suitable for source control applications where large attenuation, detention, and infiltration systems are required. It removes the need for traditional long drainage networks, as well as reduces the strain on systems already in place.


Rain Gardens


Rain gardens are designed landscape sites that reduce the flow rate, quantity, and pollutant load of runoff from impervious urban surfaces such as roofs, parking lots, and driveways. Rain gardens rely on plants to retain stormwater and reduce the rate of infiltration, providing a method to reuse and optimize any rain that falls and avoiding the need for additional irrigation. Another benefit of planting rain gardens is a decrease in ambient air temperature, reducing the impact of urban heat island effect.


Porous Pavements


A porous pavement is a water-permeable groundcover that infiltrates stormwater and attenuates runoff volumes. Porous pavement can be particularly useful for this region as they provide a stable load-bearing surface without increasing a project's total impervious area.


Porous pavements significantly reduce the risk of stagnant surface water by allowing it to permeate the earth and reducing its harmful effect on public health. On project site, usually a substantial area must be dedicated to underground stormwater management systems. Porous pavement increases the developable area by reducing the need for massive drains and spill-offs, increasing commercialized real estate within the project.



How will Green Urbanisation benefit your project?


As we move forward, nature-based solutions will continue to play a key role in transforming our communities. These solutions not only protect people and our planet, but they can help to improve profitability of projects.


SuDS manage water efficiently. Focusing on this helps to save energy and thus reduce associated costs. Not to mention, Green Urbanisation is often more cost effective than conventional water management strategies. For example, in Philadelphia, a new green urbanisation plan would cost $1.2 billion over a 25-year period, compared to the $6 billion that would have been needed to finance a grey infrastructure plan[3].


In the Middle East, flood risk is a challenge in many cities. Their urban design often does not effectively support stormwater management. When extreme rain events occur, water networks flood, seriously impacting infrastructure for transportation, building facilities and other public services.


Adopting these SuDS strategies can significantly reduce water stress, ultimately increasing resilience. What is necessary is a collaboration across industries to support a national water strategy. In the UAE, for example, the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 aims to ensure sustainable access to water during both normal and emergency conditions in line with local regulations. The initiative also intends to increase the reuse of treated water to 95%. Widespread adoption of SuDS, and a commitment to supporting sustainable water management is the next step to achieve this goal.


Contact us to discuss how to incorporate more sustainable water management solutions into your next project.

Tel+971 (0) 4 807 3000


Back to Blog

Related products

Permavoid Shallow Geocellular Water Management System

        Permavoid is our award-winning water management solution, designed to provide shallow water storage for attenuation, detention or soakawa

Polystorm - Geocellular Water Management System

Polystorm is an efficient and versatile geocellular water management system for  Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) compliant attenuation, det