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Green infrastructure for sustainable cities (2014-2017)

Published: 19 August 2015

A variety of stormwater control measures (SCMs) for stormwater retention and treatment exists. Examples are green roofs, infiltration systems, bioretention, swales, ponds, or wetlands. Besides the technical and environmental demands, also other requirements must be met to establish sustainable drainage systems.

There are still challenges for a successful implementation and operation of SCMs in (Northern) Sweden. A range of concerns have been raised regarding the technical function of SCMs in Sweden’s cold climate. Further, experience from existing facilities shows that these SCM do not work sufficiently, e.g. due to lacking/inadequate maintenance.

In this project, research is done in three work areas where further research and development is needed to allow for a successful implementation of sustainable urban drainage systems (inter alia) in Northern Sweden.

  1. Adaptation to local/regional conditions. Challenges arise especially due to the the demanding climate conditions in Sweden’s cold climate. To adapt technologies to the specific local conditions is a pre-requisite for implementation of SCM in Northern Sweden’s climate region. The focus of this part is on bioretention.
  2. Operation and maintenance measures for a successful long-term performance of SCMs. Inadequate/lacking maintenance of many existing facilities has been shown to be a common problem which jeopardises their function. Failed SCMs are however a waste of money. Thus, more long-term studies are needed to evaluate the SCM’s function in practice and establish functioning operation and maintenance routines. Research in this area focusses on infiltration facilities and wetlands.
  3. Comprehensive assessment of SCMs. Most research has focussed on the technical function of SCMs. However, since SCMs often can deliver additional benefits (e.g. ecosystem services), these should also be integrated in an assessment of their total performance. Regarding this topic research is done by evaluating selected ecosystem services of ponds and wetlands.

The results of the research project "Green infrastructure for sustainable cities. Allowing for a successful implementation in Norrbotten" will contribute to overcome obstacles for increased implementation of SCMs in Northern Sweden as well as to SCMs which work successfully during their entire operational life by adapted maintenance.

Parts of this project financed by the Research Council of the County of Norrbotten (Norrbottens forskningsråd) are done in collaboration with North Carolina State University, USA.


Project Manager

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Godecke Blecken

Luleå University of Technology

971 87 Luleå

Tel: 0920-49 13 94




Laila Søberg

Luleå University of Technology

971 87 Luleå

Tel: 0920-49 30 59


Al-Rubaei Ahmed Civil & Environment Engeneering.jpg

Ahmed Al-Rubaei