News

​​​​​​​How can we conserve the natural cycle of water in cities?

Changing water circulation to resemble more the natural cycle with nature-based solutions.
fragile water infographic urban water lin peiyu 1
Graphic design: Lin Pei-Yu

Aalto University's design students and water researchers joined forces to visualise sustainable water solutions in the Fragile Water exhibition, showcased at Helsinki Airport in 2019.

'The future of our world lies in urban environments. More than half of the world’s population currently live in urban areas—and this number is growing, which means that urban water issues affect most of us.

City growth means that we cover larger and larger areas with impervious surfaces, such as asphalt, which drastically changes the natural water cycle. Consequently, storm water and meltwater from snow cannot soak into soil and, instead, they become surface runoff.

Changing the natural water cycle has many effects on our living environments and nature itself. Urban floods increase due to increased surface runoff, and groundwater recharge slows down because of reduced infiltration. At the same time, the air temperature of cities rise, as the cooling effect of water vaporising from the ground is lost.

Climate change can also cause extreme weather events, such as heavy rains and heat waves, to occur more frequently, which aggravates other challenges caused by urbanisation. Urban planning based on nature-based solutions can contribute to alleviating the adverse impacts of urbanisation and help in adapting to climate change impacts.

Nature-based solutions mimic natural processes in urban areas. Green roofs, permeable pavements and rain gardens allow the retention of water to support the natural hydrological cycle as well as purification of water even in the middle of concrete jungles. Not to mention, they are aesthetically pleasing – and bring some green to our urban centres.'

Ambika Khadka, Doctoral Student

fragile water infographic urban water lin peiyun 2
Graphic design: Lin Pei-Yu

Water and Environmental Engineering

Water and Environmental Engineering research at Aalto University aims to find solutions to decrease resource scarcity and to support sustainability. Our research is divided into two strategic areas: global water issues and sustainable circular economy, which are further divided into four research entities.

Read more about the water research in Aalto University
Aalto Research groups

Fragile Water exhibition highlights vulnerability of water resources

Water resources are limited and vulnerable in many places in the world. Design students and water researchers joined forces to visualise sustainable water solutions in the Fragile Water exhibition.

Read more about the exhibition
Chiao-Wen Hsu: Eaten Water Photo Anne Kinnunen
  • Published:
  • Updated:

Read more news

Lara Ejtehadian, Patrick Rinke, and Ilari Lähteenmäki sitting with coffee mugs and smiling to the camera.
Awards and Recognition, Research & Art Published:

Aalto Open Science Award Winner 2023 - Aalto Materials Digitalization Platform (AMAD)

We interviewed the AMAD team, winners of the first Aalto Open Science Award.
People at the campus
Cooperation, Research & Art Published:

Aalto University to host CESAER Task Force Openness of Science and Technology

Aalto University is proud to host the CESAER Task Force Openness of Science and Technology on 16–17 April 2024.
Otaniemi seafront pictured in the summer with the Aalto logo and event title, and VTT and Open Science logos overlayed.
Campus, Cooperation, Research & Art Published:

Open Science and Research Summer Conference 2024 will be hosted by Aalto University

Aalto University is co-organising the Open Science and Research Summer Conference 2024 with the National Coordination of Open Science and Research, and VTT.
Two hexagonal arrays of prisms with a blue lattice inbetween.
Research & Art Published:

New quantum entangled material could pave way for ultrathin quantum technologies

Researchers reveal the microscopic nature of the quantum entangled state of a new monolayer van der Waals material