Rather than opting for “gray infrastructure” solutions to flooding, such as building new pipes to handle heavy rainfall, Copenhagen is creating new parks and transforming old ones so that its parks can turn into ponds in the event of heavy rains. Sculptures in the parks collect rainfall and store it for later plant watering, and the landscaping of the parks directs water into underground storage tanks, which are pumped by the energy created by children jumping on a bouncy surface above the tanks. The plants in the park also retain water, while absorbing CO2 and reducing the urban heat island effect. When the weather is dry, the parks can be used for outdoor recreation and sports. This plan costs half of what a new pipe system would, while saving billions in flood damages and creating 13,000 jobs.
Climate Protection: Sequesters carbon dioxide in park greenery
Energy & Mobility: Lowers energy used for cooling by reducing the urban heat island effect
Resilience: Reduces flood damage
Food & Water: Saves water by capturing floodwaters
Jobs & Assets: Creates jobs; saves money compared to alternative interventions for flooding
Health, Well-Being, & Safety: Encourages outdoor recreation
Connection: Creates public spaces that bring people together
This post is part of a series on examples of multisolving, or climate-smart policies that simultaneously work to mitigate climate change while providing co-benefits such as the ones described above. The multiple benefits analysis was done using the FLOWER framework.