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Blue Green Infrastructure: A Key to Balance Urban Climatic Life


Blue Green infrastructure is a network that provides the ingredients to solve urban climate change by building with nature. When designing urban spaces, it uses blue or aquatic elements like rivers, ponds, and wetlands and green elements such as forests, trees, and plants. Thus, blue-green infrastructure is a very sustainable approach to the climate changes occurring due to the rise in urbanisation affecting the economic, social, and environmental sectors. The approach to designs with blue-green infrastructure includes storm water management, reduction of heat storms, increasing biodiversity, sustainable energy production, better air quality, and provision of shade and shelter in towns and cities. The green infrastructure covers elements such as parks, green roofs, verticals, and horizontal gardens. The blue infrastructure covers the aspects that maintain resilience in the quality and quantity of water resources in the design of urban spaces.

Blue Green Infrastructure
Image Credits: investindia.gov.in

Blue-Green and Its Incorporation Into Designs

Image Credits: investindia.gov.in

With this rising population and the demands of space utilisation, one needs to take care while designing urban spaces. It is good that the blue-green infrastructure gives one opportunity to design resource-efficient living. As economic needs grow, there is an increase in industries and agriculture. This allows one to integrate systems that reduce excessive water wastage and depletion through the multipurpose use of materials.

Such design initiatives help reduce pollution, lower urban temperatures, and regulate local ecosystems. For example, terrace gardens can have economic impacts as they promote lower temperatures on the building surfaces, which will reduce cooling demands and decrease demand for energy and power. In addition to this, when applied to any size of building, it increases water retention and recycling capabilities. Hence, when such steps are taken while designing all-scale projects in small places or all over the city, they improve the lives of people.

Blue-Green Infrastructure And Its Effects on Daily Lives

Blue Green Infrastructure
Image Credits: ramboll.com

Climate change, weather, and natural disasters are threatening metropolitan areas and cities. While flooding is a major threat due to rising sea levels, extreme heat and drought are also problems in many cities. Blue-green infrastructure gives solutions for such remedies by including water bodies, parks, and natural areas to intercept water in the planning. Designing with such planning often costs less than repairing the damage happening due to natural and climatic disasters. Designing urban spaces by adapting sustainable, climate-resilient designs can benefit both people and the environment.

Benefit for Biodiversity

Image Credits: realisticwanderlust.com

With the blue-green infrastructure, one can preserve the biodiversity of the area and also enhance it. Giving open spaces that are capable of holding ecosystems can retain regional diversity. The inclusion of green roofs and facades and the development of roadside greenery as well as brownfields can have an impact. Open vegetation can be a design application in industrial and commercial areas.

1. Act of Water Management

Blue Green Infrastructure
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In bigger factory buildings, industries, and large-scale housing projects, water management systems can turn out to be useful. Smart-designed water collection areas where rainwater can be stored and the reuse of wastewater can enhance urban designs beautifully.

2. Working With Cooling Systems

Image Credits: archdaily.com

When there is a rise in temperatures due to the large heat exertion from larger areas, effective cooling systems can help nature find balance. Blue-green infrastructure not only absorbs large amounts of water but also provides cooling by slowing down evaporation. Additionally, growing trees and plants also helps provide shade in the area.

3. Improving Air Quality

Blue Green Infrastructure
Image Credits: breezyscroll.com

When more patches of land are green or when balance is achieved in the designs between grey and green, it generates good air quality. The implications of vegetation, green roofs, vertical gardening, and filtering dust and particles naturally clean the air and enhance its quality.

Benefits for People

1. Health

Image Credits: magzter.com

Effects on health are automatically observed when there is experience of nature in daily life. Blue-green infrastructure thereby ensures a calming healing effect by keeping the active lifestyle of people within nature. As it is believed that living within nature can give a healthy life, it can be achieved by breaking up the grey spaces with green-blue insertions.

2. Education

Image Credits: architectmagazine.com

As nature affects the lifestyle, it also increases one’s ability to learn and develop. Blue-green infrastructure helps widen the horizons of people by helping them in education. As these systems are used to manage the environmental structures, one can understand the natural systems more as they get in touch with them.

3. Social Interactions

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In addition, blue-green infrastructure provides opportunities for more social interactions by giving them enough green and open spaces. These water bodies or small parks act as serene places for people to sit and interact. Giving urban spaces small pouches of green and blue infrastructure can enhance the overall lifestyle of people living within the city.

Benefit For Both Nature and People

Incorporating blue-green infrastructure in the buildings that we build affects the lifestyle of urban areas widely. Along with the lifestyle, these small space-making decisions affect the overall environmental balance within nature for us. Looking at aspects such as biodiversity, water management, cooling systems, and better air quality, we can see the benefits that nature gets from the designs. Similarly, by living within these systems, people have a healthy lifestyle, a better education, and more social interactions that benefit the overall society. Hence, we can say that blue-green infrastructure addresses the economy, environment, and society in balance.

Different ways of incorporating blue-green infrastructure

1. Rain Gardens

Blue Green Infrastructure
Image Credits: kitsapcd.org

Rain gardens collect rainwater and hold it for a limited amount of time, filtering it before slowly releasing it into the ground. It collects rainwater from surfaces such as roofs, pavements, driveways, or waterlogged yards, allowing the water to steep off into the ground and preventing runoff. As the concept of blue-green infrastructure becomes mandatory, looking at our climatic conditions, rain gardens can be the most essential solution towards removing nonpoint source pollutants from the water surfaces, such as oil, gasoline, fertilisers, chemicals, etc.

2. Green Roofs

Project By: Harsh Vardhan Jain Architect

Green roofs can be explained as a contained green space over any human-made structure. It exists above the ground, being at any below, at, or above spaces. Green roofs provide extensive benefits in public and private spaces. A green roof system can be explained as a system that involves a high-quality waterproofing system, root repellent system, drainage system, filter cloth, lightweight growing medium, and plants. Green roofs have been seen as an easy strategy for beautifying the built environment and also diverting water by reducing waste. Also, it prolongs the life of heating, ventilation, and HVAC systems through decreased use. It also increases biodiversity and maintains a healthy ecosystem while increasing urban agriculture opportunities as well.

3 . Vertical Gardening Systems

Project By: AURA

Vertical gardening systems are a sustainable approach to urban gardening that allows one to make the most of the limited urban Indian spaces. To bring nature closer to our living, vertical gardens offer a creative solution with a growing population and climate change in urban spaces. Vertical spaces such as walls, roofs, facades, and balconies can be utilised for creating beautiful and sustainable gardens that foster a sense of tranquilly and well-being in an urban environment. Vertical gardening can offer various advantages, such as space optimisation, improved air quality, noise reduction, aesthetic appeal, and food production, while being incorporated into the design.

4. Permeable Paver Systems

Image Credits: riversmarthomes.org

Permeable paver systems are self-draining systems that allow rainwater to seep around individual pavers, soaking naturally into the ground underneath. Removing impervious surfaces and replacing them with permeable pavers is common in driveways and parking lots. Permeable pavers are more expensive than common pavers. These pavers allow one to indulge in nature while living normally in the grey parts.

Including green-blue infrastructure in the above-mentioned ways can enhance the building’s beauty twice as much as having a building in normal ways. Incorporating these ways can redefine the lives of people in the urban sector. This way of life can be affected in all the economic, environmental, and social sectors. Blue-green infrastructure gives various opportunities within society for people to engage more with the environment while enjoying the infrastructure of the cities. As these ways benefit the environment by reducing the heat and cooling the temperature, reducing the wastewater, and reusing the wastewater, it gives purified air through the greens that are being used under blue-green infrastructure. There are cities in India that have incorporated these ideas into their building setting an extraordinary example for people to live within.

CASE STUDY: Sohrabji Godrej Green Business, Hyderabad

About the Building Construction

Blue Green Infrastructure
Image Credits: www.kga.co.in

Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre was built in 2004, setting a good example for the demonstration of conducive green building by being the primary LEED platinum-certified building in India. The building uses traditional methods of sustainability in amalgamation with modern technologies. It has 20,000 square feet of built-up area over 5 acres of land, ensuring minimum disturbance to the surroundings. It is located centrally on flat land with landscaping and foliage all around, soothing the microclimate and reducing pollution for the inhabitants.

Use of Terrace Gardening

Image Credits: www.kga.co.in

More than half of the area of the roof was converted into a terrace garden, minimizing the inside temperature. Also, the solar photovoltaic cells on the sundeck help in producing 20 percent of the building’s energy consumption. Two air cooling towers chill the air up to 8 degrees by sprinkling water hence reducing the load on the air con.

Natural Wind Circulation

Blue Green Infrastructure
Image Credits: www.kga.co.in

The central internal courtyard acts as an energy centre, binding different functions of the building together. Several small green pockets act as thermostats, giving protection from extreme weather while also maintaining the mental well-being of the inhabitants by letting them be near nature.

Use of Recycled Materials

Image Credits: www.kga.co.in

In the centre, the usage of recycled content was highly promoted with the use of materials like fly ash-based bricks, glass, aluminium, and ceramic tiles, which contain consumer and industrial waste. The use of aerated concrete blocks for facades reduced the load on air conditioning by 15–20%. The interior of the building is designed using sustainable materials such as bagasse (post-harvest sugarcane waste) that were pressed into boards as an alternative to plywood. The use of low-volatile organic compound paints and coatings, adhesives, sealants, and carpets was used to improve indoor air quality.

Incorporating Natural Light

Blue Green Infrastructure
Image Credits: www.kga.co.in

The building is designed such that it receives 90% of the natural sunlight in the building through its orientations. In addition to this, the north facades have been designed so that they gain diffused light into the building. Traditional brick jail walls reduce the need for dazzling light, which usually also contributes to overheating in sections of the building.

Image Credits: www.kga.co.in

Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre has been a perfect example of using green-blue infrastructure in India for 15 years. It has developed a successful Indian-based framework for using locally available materials and climatologically responsive construction techniques.

Delhi In Need of Blue-Green Infrastructure

Blue Green Infrastructure
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There are a lot of cities in India that need green-blue infrastructure to be incorporated into their urban spaces to maintain the balance of climate change. There is a wide demand for cities to change their infrastructure. One such city in India is Delhi, which needs blue-green infrastructure in its core as one sees huge climatic changes in terms of temperatures and rainfall that have occurred due to the imbalance created by urbanisation.

Delhi needs to indulge people by developing the blue and green pockets within the city that have decreased in comparison to the grey pockets. As Delhi is a metropolitan city and one of the fastest-growing cities, it has more urban spaces being constructed. This demands balancing the climate by developing more green roofs and water management systems within the city. Including permeable paver systems could redefine the streets of the city.

Blue-Green Infrastructure Thriving Through Urban Spaces

Image Credits: ramboll.com

From this, we can see how incorporating small things, such as plants and trees, into the building makes a huge impact on the quality of life for people. Water, plants, and vegetation are all part of the nature that exists around us. Considering nature in the design will always improve and uplift the quality of the infrastructure we build for urban spaces. When sustainable construction materials are used for building blue green infrastructure, it helps make the spaces more productive by reducing the economic costs and also the dangers caused by the climate. Hence, the implementation of blue-green infrastructure in today’s urban spaces will always uplift the environment.

Content Writing And Research By: Ar. Rajeshwari Pandya Modi

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