From Grey to Blue and Green: Devising an inclusive infrastructure for Scotland

   Hydro Nation Scholars Programme 2022

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  Dr Husam Al Waer, Dr Mel Woods, Prof S Dawson  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Extremes of climate change are increasingly frequent globally, and the UK and Scotland are not exempt. Urban adaptation will depend on addressing settlement vulnerability to protect the fabric and population of a city. Cities have the capability to deliver future resilience to climate change and to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a place-based approach alongside nature-based solutions. Place-based solutions have become the desired option for blue and green infrastructure integration to facilitate sustainable surface water management, prevent the loss of biodiversity, mitigate air pollution, improve thermal comfort in the cities, reduce the effect of urban heat islands, reduce flood risk, support active travel, and reconnect the population with nature. This supports green recovery, a just transition to a net-zero economy, and improved health and wellbeing. This integrated and inclusive approach to planning new and existing Blue- Green infrastructures (BGIs) is needed across a range of scales (national, city to site level). This must be closely aligned to the needs of communities to deliver a range of economic, social, environmental and well-being benefits.

Building long-lasting green and blue connections will be an important in making sure the BGIs deliver benefits to all over time and as people’s needs change. Bridging the gap between theory and practice requires communication with policy makers and the public about the opportunities and implications of BGIs. Therefore, a proven approach using ‘What if bespoke scenario planning’ for 2030, 2050 and 2070 can engage stakeholders to explore the impact of lessons learnt from global case studies; and explore a pathway to action to enable existing and new relationships between BGIs. The scenarios can consider beneficial BGIs, such as grey infrastructure replacement strategies, from 10% replacement in 2030 (short term), 20% in 2050 (medium term), and 30% (aspirational and long term). This would allow Scottish cities to make strategic decisions about where to focus its adaptation efforts using BGIs to adapt to the risks of climate change, keeping the city resilient, inclusive, liveable and accessible for all.

The key aim of this project is to develop an inclusive framework, integrating existing and new BGIs through bespoke scenarios and action in order to; (1) embed progressive and relevant set of rules and principles for the field; (2) enhance the inclusivity of urban spaces to deliver important ecosystem services; (3) provide resilience and equal access to green and blue spaces in a changing climate; and (4) transfer and share evidence of best practice nationally and internationally. The research will be transdisciplinary, bridging across disciplines with relevance to science, policymaking and practice, addressing the following specific objectives:

(1) to draw from best international practices how cities and their neighbourhoods have become climate resilient.

(2) to assess the vulnerability to climate change of Scottish cities (using Dundee as an initial case study), and its resilience, using a range of analytical and visualisation tools.

(3) to explore ‘what if bespoke scenario planning’ across 2030, 2050 and 2070 timelines, highlighting the multiple benefits of BGIs.

(4) Based on the first three stages, consensus building and co-design will establish how stakeholders’ mutually valued outcomes can be ‘embedded’ in future bespoke scenarios that create a longer-term resilience of benefits.

(5) Inform Practice & Policy: to identify institutional and governance requirements to support BGI to deliver wider benefits, transferring and sharing knowledge and evidence for wider national and international applicability.

This Hydro Nation Scholarship Programme Studentship will benefit from expertise in urban design, participatory placemaking, hazard geoscience and design-led co-creation for citizen science and innovation. We invite applications from candidates with interests in interdisciplinary integration of place-based approach alongside nature-based solutions. Prior experience of working across a broad range of stakeholders using human-centred participatory approaches is desirable. The successful applicant will have a 1st or 2.1 class degree in a relevant subject (e.g. architecture, urban planning, urban design, geography, environmental engineering, geoscience etc.); and qualification at Masters level is essential.

Applicants are strongly advised to make an informal enquiry about the PhD to the primary supervisor well before the final submission deadline. Applicants must send a completed Hydro Nation Scholarship application form (available here, their Curriculum Vitae and covering letter to Dr Husam Al Waer ([Email Address Removed] ) by the final submission deadline of 7th January 2022.

Funding Notes

The Hydro Nation Scholars Programme is an open competition for PhD Scholars to undertake approved projects, hosted within Scottish Universities and Research Institutes. This project will be hosted by the University of Dundee. Full funding is available from the Scottish Government (to host institutions via the Scottish Funding Council). The funding available will be in line with the UKRI doctoral stipend levels and indicative fees. Applicants should have a first-class honours degree in a relevant subject or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or equivalent). Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on 27th or 28th January 2022
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