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Exploring nature-based solutions to control stormwaters in urbanised Otaniemi

Otaniemi campus, surrounded by a long coastline, is facing challenges of urban densification. Currently, over two thirds of surface area streets, rooftops and parking lots are impervious. A mathematical model explores the benefits of using nature-based solutions in stormwater design and management on the campus.
maps and plans drawn in black and white on sustainable stormwater systems on Aalto Otaniemi campus

Under climate change, more frequent extreme weather events will challenge the current stormwater solutions. Nature-based solution for stormwater design becomes the alternative due to its resilience and adaptiveness, and provides synergies among hydrological, biological and social benefits.

Otaniemi, a suburban campus surrounded by a long coastline, is facing challenges of urban densification. Currently in Otaniemi approximately 70% surface are impervious including streets, rooftops and parking lots.

There is enormous potential when nature-based solutions are introduced to deal with those impervious surfaces, where they can mitigate the water volume and peak time of stormwater overflow, restore water cycle in the campus ecosystem as well as add diversity to the campus landscape.

The future development plans for Otaniemi suggests the number of the local population, students and workers will continue rising and lead to expansion of the urban scene. In most cases, negative effects such as stormwater overflows would come along due to increasing constructed surfaces and outdated conventional stormwater system.

The project establishes a mathematical model to explore the benefits of using nature-based solutions in stormwater design and management on the campus. Low impact development measures such as green roofs, impervious pavement and vegetated retention or swale are explored. 

Based on GIS (geographic information systems) digitalization of land use and stormwater network, the model can take into account both the urban terrain characteristics of campus and the surrounding suburban environment. The final results lead to storm event scenarios and campus landscape development alternatives. 

The results are communicated in connection with the Infrastructure walk. The goal is to notice what is often hidden in plain sight and then to imagine better alternatives together.

The main challenge is to build a relatively detailed model with key surface and subsurface urban water structures. The project generates novel results about nature-based solutions that not only mitigate stormwater generation but also add environmental benefits. The principles and process of low impact development measures can be used to transform the negative effects of urbanization into greener urban growth. 

 

The results are communicated in connection with the Infrastructure walk September 8 at 17:00 in Otaniemi. The goal is to notice what is often hidden in plain sight and then to imagine better alternatives together.

 

The team: 

  • Chun Lin (ENG), Professor Harri Koivusalo (ENG), Dr. Juha Järvelä (ENG), Water and Environmental Engineering, Department of Built Environment, Aalto University
  • Professor Mikko Jalas (ARTS), Department of Design, Aalto University

Partners: 

  • Ville Jokela, CEO, Aalto University Campus & Real Estate 
  • Eeva Berglund, NODUS, Department of Design, Aalto University

Contact: 

Chun Lin: [email protected]  +358 44 030 0312 

Infrastructure walk in Otaniemi

The infrastructure walk is a convivial and educational practice, combining technical expertise with local knowledge.

Join to the walk in Otaniemi
Aalto University Undergraduate Centre Otaniemi, image: Tuomas Uusheimo

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