Going green: Making cities resilient to urban and climatic change

Sustainable solutions

Among the shortcomings identified was a lack of consistency in planning policy and enforcement, and insufficient shared knowledge among professionals about green-blue infrastructure. The findings pointed to a clear need to involve industry professionals in developing a new process to encourage take-up of nature-based solutions.

Solutions trialled by UWE Bristol in places like Newcastle, Ebbsfleet and Scotland, included green roofs in city centres and storm water management systems. This led to Newcastle City Council investing £87.5m in a sustainable urban water management plan.

Developing a benchmark

A collaboration with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to develop a new set of standards for policy and development around green-blue infrastructure eventually led to the establishment of Building with Nature (BwN), the UK’s first benchmark dedicated to improving the quality of green infrastructure.

The BwN benchmark has provided a consistent approach, bringing together all elements of green infrastructure. The evidence-based guidance and associated training will support people and wildlife to thrive.

The benchmark is now being used by planners, development surveyors, landscape architects and ecological consultants across the UK to build nature-friendly places that will be sustainable and beneficial in the long term.

BwN has since been extended to 30 local authorities and more than 30,000 new homes. It has informed the development of a new hospital, business park, motorway service area and residential developments.

Widespread recognition

The project has received widespread recognition and praise. It was referenced in the English National Design Guide produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and it was recommended for use by housing associations by Linc Cymru. It also formed the basis of a review of the planning policies across the Central Scotland Green Network.