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BEGIN: Blue Green Infrastructure through Social Innovation
1  PhD from UNESCO-IHE & TU Delft in Climate Adaptation & Flood Risk Management


Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI) (i.e. green corridors and raingardens) is one of the most promising solutions for increasing urban resilience (Ghofrani, 2017). BGI can achieve flood-reducing performance of 30% by connecting hydrological functions with urban nature (green) and water (blue). BGI is especially promising because of its multiple benefits such as improved liveability of cities, increased biodiversity, carbon sequestration, heat reduction and water purification. Despite numerous benefits, wide scale implementation of BGI is hampered due to financial and governance barriers. BGI projects have higher upfront costs, benefits from BGI are dispersed and hard to monetise and consolidating long term citizen buy-in is challenging. Making the business case for BGI is essential to overcome these challenges. This includes using tools to generate monetary valuations of BGI (i.e. TEEB, BEST) and crafting a carefully designed brand and specific communication messages for different audiences. Strategically framing and presenting the relevant benefits for specific stakeholders is key in successfully pitching BGI.

BEGIN is a European collaborative project that brings together 10 cities (Antwerp, Ghent, Aberdeen, London Enfield, Bradford, Kent, Dordrecht, Hamburg, Gothenburg, Bergen) with 6 leading research institutes (CIRIA, UNESCO-IHE, University of Sheffield, TUHH, Royal College of Arts and Erasmus University), which are frontrunners on the project´s thematic areas. BEGIN focuses on overcoming implementation barriers to BGI via Social Innovation (SI) and city to city learning. SI empowers multiple stakeholders to contribute (in kind, funds) to the design, construction and maintenance of BGIs. Transnational collaboration within BEGIN is done via a unique transnational city-to-city learning exchange programme with transnational expert teams that facilitate joint implementation of BGI projects.

The panel relates to the topics Climate Resilience Governance and Planning and Community Resilience by sharing expertise and lessons-learned within BEGIN on BGI, SI, city to city learning and overcoming implementation barriers related to BGI.

Keywords: Blue Green Infrastructure/Climate Adaptation/Urban Resilience/City to City learning/Social Innovation/Community Engagement/Transnational Collaboration/European Collaboration