Renaturalising lands as an adaptation strategy. Towards an integrated water-based design approach

Keywords: Nature-based solutions, Green and Blue Infrastructure, sustainable urban water management, climate change adaptation, Low Impact Development


The effects of soil sealing on the hydrological cycle and water resource exploitation are critical issues for the sustainable development of urbanised areas. Cities’ growth without adequate measures for mitigating anthropic impact has led to deep changes in the hydrological balance regime. In a climate change scenario, the expected increase of rainfall results in hydrogeological and contamination issues, with severe impacts on the fragility of many territories such as small mountain cities. In this framework, Nature-based solutions for sustainable urban water management can help to renaturalise lands, restoring ecosystemic functions. The area of Comano Terme in Trentino offers an opportunity to test an integrated water-based design approach to address the climate crisis. It is a fragile territory with many marginal and disconnected water resources: thermal and mineral springs, and River Sarca, strongly exploited for hydropower production. The increase in rainfall and flow releases from the upstream dam cause floods in urban areas, worsened by soil sealing. This experimental study proposes a multidisciplinary and transcalar approach that combines landscape design and hydraulic constructions to renaturalise the territory with Green and Blue Infrastructure. Sustainable urban drainage devices were integrated into a slow mobility system that reconnects the territory and increases urban resilience.


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Author Biographies

Ilaria De Noia, Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, Parma, Italy

Ilaria De Noia holds a Master’s degree in Architecture and Building Engineering earned after graduating from the University of Trento. Since January 2022, she is a Ph.D. student in Civil Engineering and Architecture at the University of Parma where she investigates strategies of climate change adaptation in urban areas with a focus on soil desealing in urban regeneration practices.

Sara Favargiotti, Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering University of Trento, Trento, Italy

Sara Favargiotti is an Italian Ph.D. and architect, as well as Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Trento. She is specialized in landscape urbanism and ecological design with a specific focus on emerging infrastructures and their influence on cities, landscapes, and territories. Her research and teaching focus on contemporary landscapes with a design approach based on transformation through adaptation and innovation. She is coordinator of the Trentino hub of the research project “B4R Branding4Resilience. Tourist infrastructure as a tool to enhance small villages by drawing resilient communities and new open habitats” PRIN 2017 (2020-2023). Since 2018 she is a member of the Directive Board of IASLA, Italian Academic Society of Landscape Architecture (IASLA). She is author of numerous essays internationally published and of the book “Airport On-hold. Towards Resilient Infrastructures” (Trento: LISt Lab, 2016) and co-author with Charles Waldheim of the book “Airfield Manual: A Field Guide to the Transformation of Abandoned Airports” (Cambridge: Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2017).

Alessandra Marzadri, Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering University of Trento, Trento, Italy

Alessandra Marzadri is Associate Professor of Urban Hydraulic Infrastructures at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Trento. Her research interests are in the field of environmental engineering and water resources and are primarily focused on the interaction between hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, water quality and biogeochemistry. Her teaching activity investigates the multiple aspects related to the characterization of the main hydraulic devices that compose the urban drainage systems by including the evaluation of appropriate mitigation strategies (Best Management Practices) to reduce the effects of climate changes (i.e. runoff reduction, water quality improvement and rainwater harvesting). She is co-author of 19 papers in ISI journals and of 2 book chapters.


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How to Cite
De NoiaI., FavargiottiS., & MarzadriA. (2022). Renaturalising lands as an adaptation strategy. Towards an integrated water-based design approach. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 15(2), 263-286.