The modern high density city is now home to millions of people worldwide. The inevitable trend of urbanization created highly dense cities and has confronted us with increasing challenges to improve the quality of our living environment. Heavily urbanized cities bring along a host of problems such as overcrowding in poorly designed high density dwellings, traffic congestion, urban pollution and poor public hygiene, heat island effect, inadequate open spaces, planning and inadequate water management all affecting the functionality of the modern city space.

Urban planning authorities need to address the pressing issues of urbanization, conservation, regeneration, land-use, capital formation and sustainable development. At NUSDeltares, we help our public and private sector clients address multi-faceted vital urban design issues like multi-functional and blue green infrastructure, water sensitive urban design, vertical greening, open public spaces and pedestrian friendly streets to deliver the true benefit of the compact city concept.

Climate change increases uncertainty about the availability of water resources

In a high density urbanized environment, the water nexus is extremely dynamic making its management increasingly challenging. Competition for water as a resource  is compounded by population growth which drives the demand for domestic water consumption and increased energy uses. Climate change will only worsen this  competition in the future, as it increases uncertainty about the availability of water resources.

Increased competition to access water resources, shifting priorities and increasing uncertainty about the availability of the resource requires that we address resource  shortages in sustainable way. This is particularly a challenge for the ASEAN region which has urbanized at a very fast pace in the past few decades with inadequate long term planning by local governments.

Approaches for overall environmental sustainability

Achieving overall environmental sustainability in such a high density urban environmental is innately tied to water and energy efficiency and using our limited resources efficiently while reducing our adverse resource use. Research has shown that the lowest cost method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is by improving the energy efficiency of buildings, both residential and commercial. This in turn means lower financial costs associated with energy and water efficiency, contributing to a sustainable wider society.

Therefore, water resources management and adequate policies and strategies are needed to help ensure sustainability and balance different types of use in the short and longer term. NUSDeltares believes that a low carbon, water sensitive, low-resource eco city can be achieved by incorporating several sustainability enhancing functions into every square meter. This includes water and nutrient recycling, using water for evaporative cooling, the storage of thermal energy and even using urban spaces for food and biofuel production.

As a knowledge intensive alliance, we collaborate with universities, corporations and governments to create top down and bottom up knowledge relating to the following approaches.

Blue Green Infrastructure

The primary elements of the Blue Green Infrastructure methodology is to combine climate adaptation, storm water management, sustainable and efficient energy production, food production leading to better air and water quality and healthy soils, more biodiversity, less heat stress as well as increased quality of life through recreation in and around towns and cities.


Master Planning for Coastal Megacities

Thirteen of the world’s largest megacities are located in Asia. Majority of these are situated along major river systems and vast continental coastlines. Meanwhile, rapid urbanization and their location in coastal zones with low elevation have increased their exposure and vulnerability to the impact of climate change and other hydrological and geo-hazards.


Multiple Use of Urban Space

Multi-functional and Green infrastructures (GI) can provide sustainable regenerative solutions for the urban challenges we will face in the future. In urban areas, where land is a scarce commodity and the challenges are greatest, the quality of green space is important and the aim should be to achieve areas of multi-functionality.


Urbanization, Conservation and Ecological Engineering

The spread of urban land use around the world brings new challenges to water resource managers, conservationists, aquatic ecologists and ecological engineers. As new urban areas develop, and the infrastructure of the old areas ages, urban water managers in cities around the globe require an expanded interaction with ecological engineers.

Health, Welfare, Poverty & Access to Water

The relationship between health, poverty, water and climate will become more intimate in emerging major cities in Asia, where most new development takes place without adequate urban or regional planning.


More information

Laura Vonhögen – Peeters

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