Healthy city, heat stress and water quality

The smart design of green and blue infrastructure in the city contributes to an attractive and healthy living environment. A well thought-out strategy and smart design practices can generate major benefits for city residents, business and visitors.

Improvement in the quality of vegetation and water boosts health in the city

Vegetation can reduce heat stress and enhance thermal comfort by providing shade and by means of green transpiration. However, lower temperatures due to green transpiration depend crucially on the availability of water. Research in Utrecht city centre  has shown that drought stress in the summer can have a major negative impact on this process. Using system knowledge and model calculations, we can identify where and why drought stress occurs and devise the most effective measures in response.

Deltares, together with other research institutes, studies the effectiveness of green infrastructure and water for temperature regulation and other ecosystem services delivered by vegetation and water systems. This knowledge is used to develop design principles that help designers and landscape architects ensure that vegetation and water systems function optimally.

Reliable forecasting of water quality

Urban water provides a range of opportunities for active leisure. For example, in Europe people need more swimming  facilities than are currently available and often revert to unofficial locations. Reliable forecasts of water quality are vital in terms of deciding where swimming can be organised safely. By combining innovative measurement techniques, smart monitoring strategies and models, we can provide insights into water quality and ways of improving it. In terms of drafting local authorities’ strategies for leisure activities involving urban waters, it is important for the authorities to formulate realistic goals and to have an idea of how the quality of the water can be improved. Deltares has developed a method for system analysis.

Warning for toxic algea Delftse Hout (city lake). FOTO NICO SCHOUTEN