Water resilient green cities for Africa

Start date
September 1, 2013
End date
December 31, 2017
Project code
Total grant
Contact person
Marina Bergen Jensen

The urban population in Africa will triple to 1.2 billion by 2050 and cause massive challenges for the management of urban areas (UN-Habitat, 2010). The water challenge is exacerbated by climate change which will increase flood and drought risks and affect livelihoods for millions of urban dwellers (IPCC, 2008). One option is to expand cost-intensive sewer infrastructure. Another is to utilize the landscape for stormwater management. Besides being a much cheaper option, using the landscape offers synergies addressing other challenges such as improved water supply, enhanced green structure for urban agriculture, and possibilities to improve decentralized options in informal areas with a potential for a more-inclusive decision-making process. This project explores the opportunities and barriers for ‘landscape based stormwater management’ by analyzing technical, institutional and livelihood aspects for the best solutions to be developed and tested in pilot sites. The project is developed jointly by FLD and research institutions, stakeholders, and users in Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam and brings into play expertise on urban planning, ecology, and water management. The project is organised in packages on: Green spaces and livelihoods; Stormwater management; Planning and governance; and Research capacity building. The project comprises six PhD students and three postdocs. Knowledge will be disseminated through MSc-level courses, policy recommendations, and research articles


Project completion report:

The project has looked into options and barriers for water resilience by using urban green infrastructure as a climate change adaptation strategy (LSM) in Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam. As decentralization and active citizens’ involvement are main principles of sustainable urban water management, the co-existence of water management systems found in both cities form a stepping stone for ‘leapfrogging’ towards sustainable water management. The option is to strengthen the ability of the urban water regime to co-produce new decentral sustainable options and reconfigure those prevailing practices that are inherently unsustainable. For the two cities ready-to-implement green infrastructure based catchment strategies for flood, erosion control and water supply have been handed over to change agents in civil society and relevant public bodies. The foundation for taking this research to the next level is ready and a new project is being developed with focus on embedding sustainable practices and developing and demonstrating 1:1 solutions on green infrastructure designs for combined climate adaptation and livelihood support.