Adaptation Support Tool (AST)

Climate change and socio-economic developments lead to increased vulnerability of urban areas for flooding, drought and heat stress. Implementation of adaptation measures can make our environment more resilient to the hazards of extreme weather.

The Adaptation Support Tool (AST) has been developed to support the collaborative planning of such adaptation measures for a more resilient and attractive environment. The AST can be used in design workshops by urban planners, landscape architects, water managers, civil engineers, local stakeholders and other experts to create conceptual designs. Participants use the AST on a touch screen to select adaptation interventions, situate them in their project area and immediately obtain an estimate of their effectiveness and costs.



The AST includes 62 blue, green and grey measures for ecosystem-based adaptation – also called blue-green infrastructure such as green roofs, bioswales, porous pavement and water squares- , a selection assistant for ranking based on their applicability and an assessment tool to estimate the effectiveness of applied adaptation measures.

The AST consists of a left panel for input, a middle panel for design – a map of the project area – and a right panel for AST dashboard output.

The left panel shows a ranked list of potential adaptation measures. Ranking is determined on the basis of the characteristics of the area, such as adaptation targets, existing type of land use, surface characteristics and availability of subsurface space.

In the central panel different map layers can be shown. Default is a Google Earth or OpenStreetMap layer. Additional layers like surface elevation, land ownership, flood risk map or heat stress map can be added.  Design workshop participants can select a measure from the left panel and drag it to the map in the project area, on the site where they think that it would provide added value. For example, the user can apply an extensive or intensive green roof on a large flat roof, install permeable pavement on the sidewalks and an artificial wetland near the outlet of a tributary drain.

Next, the AST estimates the performance of the measures for a number of key metrics, e.g. created storage capacity, frequency reduction of the normative runoff, heat stress reduction, extra groundwater recharge, water quality effects, costs and additional benefits. Estimated performance results are shown on the AST dashboard in the right panel. Performance is determined for each adaptation measure separately as well as for total package of measures.

AST in practice-960x641


Examples of application of the AST include:

  • Collaborative planning of solutions for the flooding and heat stress problem in the Chota district of Beira, Mozambique
  • Co-creation of attractive, climate resilient alternatives for the reconstruction of the Centre-West area of Utrecht.
  • Design of sustainable urban drainage for Decoy Brook catchment, London to support a cost-benefit analysis.

The Adaptation Support Tool was developed in close cooperation with Alterra Wageningen UR and Bosch Slabbers Landscape Architects as part of the Climate KIC project Blue Green Dream.


Van de Ven, FHM, Bosch, P, Brolsma, R, Keijzer, E, Kok, S, Van der Meulen, S, Schasfoort, F, Ten Velden, C, and Vergroesen, T. (2016) Green, comfortable, attractive and climate resilient Utrecht Centre-West area. Deltares report 1220357-000-BGS-0004, TNO report | TNO 2016 R10158, Deltares / TNO, Utrecht.

Voskamp IM, Van de Ven FHM (2015) Planning support system for climate adaptation: Composing effective sets of blue-green measures to reduce urban vulnerability to extreme weather events. Building and Environment 83, p 159-167.

Kalsbeek P (ed) (2015) Green Infra 4 Beira. Deltares report 1208685. Deltares, Delft