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Urban Biomimicry for Flood Mitigation Using an Ecosystem Service Assessment Tool in Central Wellington, New Zealand
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-16, 04:34 authored by Maggie MacKinnonMaggie MacKinnon, Maibritt Pedersen Zari, Daniel BrownDaniel Brown, Rubianca Benavidez, Bethanna Jackson
Many cities are vulnerable to flooding due to their high proportion of impervious surfaces and lack of vegetated land cover. This vulnerability will often be exacerbated by changing rainfall and storm patterns due to climate change. Using the principles of urban biomimicry, this study aims to show an ecosystem service-based approach to designing an urban green infrastructure network for stormwater management in densely built areas that more closely emulates natural hydrology processes. Nature Braid (next-generation LUCI) is an ecosystem services assessment tool that was used to simulate flood mitigation ecosystem services in a 13.7 km2 urban water catchment in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. The simulation results revealed that 59% of the catchment does not contain or benefit from flood-mitigating land cover features. Adding 0.6 km2 (4% of the catchment) of green roofs alongside major stormwater flow paths resulted in a nearly three-fold decrease (11%) in the unmitigated flooding area. These results suggest that green roofs could help manage stormwater and mitigate flooding in the densely built areas of the catchment. Using ecosystem service assessment tools, like Nature Braid, can inform the design of more regenerative and resilient urban green infrastructure networks that help mitigate climate change impacts on urban residents.