Sustainable strategies for flood risk management in urban areas. Enhancing city resilience with Green Roofs

Main Article Content

Roberta D’Ambrosio
Antonia Longobardi
Mirka Mobilia
Pasquale Sassone


Urbanization dynamics that affected Italian cities in the last twenty years, led to significant land use changes. This phenomenon, mainly resulted into a progressive extension of the impervious surface, gave rise to an alteration of the hydrological cycle and an increase in urban flooding phenomena.
In this scenario, Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and in particular Green Roofs, topic on which experimental research activities were carried out at the University of Salerno, can be considered effective solutions useful to reduce the hydraulic risk and to enhance city resilience.
Analysing land use variations of a small urban catchment in the city of Mercato San Severino (SA) it was observed a soil imperviousness increase of 18% between 1995 and 2016. This phenomenon inevitably led to an overload of the drainage network, actually affected by several criticalities, and to an increase of urban flooding. Therefore, in this context, sustainable drainage strategies able to restore the drainage pattern prior to the soil sealing, influencing stormwater generation, can be considered a valid solution for the management of an ever increasing stormwater runoff.
However, in order to make the implementation of these sustainable infrastructures more effective in the management of urban flooding, a large portion of the current impermeable surface, almost 70% should be retrofitted. The preferable strategy, so, is that of using sustainable drainage systems only as mitigation techniques, aiming not at the total restoration of the conditions prior to construction but at a partial reduction of the sewer load.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
D’AmbrosioR., LongobardiA., MobiliaM., & SassoneP. (2021). Sustainable strategies for flood risk management in urban areas. Enhancing city resilience with Green Roofs. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 5(2), 87-98.


Albano, R., Sole, A., Sdao, F., Giosa, L., Cantisani, A., & Pascale, S. (2014). A Systemic Approach to Evaluate the Flood Vunerability for an Urban Study Case in Southern Italy. Journal of Water Resources and Protection, 6(4), 351-362. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2014.64037

Bertilsson, L., Wiklund, K., de Moura Tebaldi, I., Moura Rezende, O., Pires Veról, A., Gomes Miguez, M. (2019). Urban flood resilience – A multi-criteria index to integrate flood resilience into urban planning. Journal of Hydrology, 573, 970-982. doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.06.052

Brandolini, P., Cevasco, A., Firpo, M., Robbiano, A., & Sacchini, A. (2012). Geo-hydrological risk management for civil protection purposes in the urban area of Genoa (Liguria, NW Italy). Natural Hazards and earth System Sciences, 12, 943-959. doi: 10.5194/nhess-12-943-2012

Chenot, J., Gaget, E., Moinardeau, C., Jaunatre, R., Buisson, E., & Dutoit, T. (2017). Substrate Composition and Depth Affect Soil Moisture Behaviour and Plant-Soil Relationship on Mediterranean Extensive Green Roofs. Water, 9(11), 817. doi: 10.3390/w9110817

D'Ambrosio, R, Rizzo, A., Balbo, A., Longobardi, A. (2019). Assessing the Performance of SuDS in the Mitigation of Urban Flooding: The Industrial Area of Sesto Ulteriano (MI). Proceedings, 48 (1). doi: 10.3390/ECWS-4-06449

D'Ambrosio, R., Longobardi, A., Schmalz, B., Romano, B. (2020). Sustainable Drainage Systems as an adaptation strategy to climate change consequences: a case study in Northern Italy. In Water resources and climate adaptation and mitigation, EO for Water Cycle Sciences 2020, International Conference, November 16-19, 2020.

Fletcher, T. D., Shuster, W., Hunt, W. F., Ashley, R., Butler, D., Arthur, S., Trowsdale, S., Barraud, S., Semadeni-Davies, A., Bertrand-Krajewski, J. L., Steen Mikkelsen, P., Rivard, G., Uhl, M., Dagenais, D., Viklander, M. (2015). SUDS, LID, BMPs, WSUD and more – The evolution and application of terminology surrounding urban drainage. Urban Water Journal, 12(7), 525-542. doi: 10.1080/1573062X.2014.916314

Galuppini, G., Quintilliani, C., Arosio, M., Barbero, G., Ghilardi, P., Manenti, S, Petaccia, G., Todeschini, S., Ciaponi, C., Martina, M.L.V., Creaco, E. (2020). A unified framework for the assessment of multiple source urban flash flood hazard: the case study of Monza, Italy, Urban Water Journal, 17(1), pp. 65-77. doi: 10.1080/1573062X.2020.1734950

Ghofrani, Z., Sposito, V., & Faggian, R. (2019). Modelling the impacts of blue-green infrastructure on rainfall runoff: a case study of Eastern Victoria, Australia. International Journal of Water, 13(2), 151. doi: 10.1504/IJW.2019.10020979

Johannessen, B. G., Muthanna, T. M., & Braskerud, B. C. (2018). Detention and Retention Behaviour of Four Extensive Green Roofs in Three Nordic Climate Zones. Water, 10(6), 671. doi: 10.3390/w10060671

La Loggia, G., Fontanazza, C.M., Freni, G., Notaro, V., Olivieri, E., Puleo, V. (2012). Urban drainage and sustainable cities: how to achieve flood resilient societies? Urban Water, 122, 203-2014. doi: 10.2495UW120181

Lashford, C., Rubinato, M., Cai, Y., Hou, J., Abolfathi, S., Coupe, S., Charlesworth, S., Tait, S. (2019). SuDS & Sponge Cities: A Comparative Analysis of the Implementation of Pluvial Flood Management in the UK and China. Sustainability, 11(1), 213. doi: 10.3390/su11010213

Longobardi, A., Diodato, N., Mobilia, M., 2016. Historical storminess and hydro-geological hazard temporal evolution in the solofrana river basin—Southern Italy. Water, 8(9), 398.

Longobardi, A., D’Ambrosio, R., Mobilia, M., (2019). Predicting Stormwater Retention Capacity of Green Roofs: An Experimental Study of the Roles of Climate, Substrate Soil Moisture, and Drainage Layer Properties. Sustainability, 11(24), 6956. doi: 10.3390/su11246956

Luino, F., Turconi, L., Petrea, C., Nigrelli, G. (2012). Uncorrected land-use planning highlighted by flooding: the Alba case study (Piedmont, Italy). Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 12, 2329-2346. doi: 10.5194/nhess-12-2329-2012

Mobilia, M., D’Ambrosio, R., Longobardi, A., (2020). Climate, Soil Moisture and Drainage Layer Properties Impact on Green Roofs in a Mediterranean Environment. In: Naddeo V., Balakrishnan M., Choo KH. (eds) Frontiers in Water-Energy-Nexus—Nature-Based Solutions, Advanced Technologies and Best Practices for Environmental Sustainability. Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation (IEREK Interdisciplinary Series for Sustainable Development). Springer, Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-13068-8_41

Mobilia, M., & Longobardi, A. (2019). Event scale modelling of experimental green roofs runoff in a Mediterranean environment. In: Naddeo V., Balakrishnan M., Choo KH. (eds) Frontiers in Water-Energy-Nexus—Nature-Based Solutions, Advanced Technologies and Best Practices for Environmental Sustainability. Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation (IEREK Interdisciplinary Series for Sustainable Development). Springer, Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-13068-8_37

Mobilia M., Longobardi A. (2017). Smart Stormwater Management in Urban Areas by Roofs Greening. In: Gervasi O. et al. (eds) Computational Science and Its Applications – ICCSA 2017. ICCSA 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 10406, 455-463. Springer, Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-62398-6_32

Mobilia, M., Longobardi, A., & Sartor, J. (2015). Green Roofs Hydrological Performance under Different Climate Conditions. WSEAS Trans. Environ. Dev., 11, 264–271.

Mobilia, M., Longobardi, A., Amitrano, D., Ruello, G., 2018. Analisi dei cambiamenti climatici e di uso del suolo in un bacino peri-urbano prono al rischio idrogeologico. In XXXVI Convegno di Idraulica e Costruzioni Idrauliche - ISBN:9788894379907 vol. 106

Nawaz, R., McDonald, A., & Postoyko, S. (2015). Hydrological performance of a full-scale extensive green roof located in a temperate climate. Ecological Engineering, 82, 66-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2014.11.061

Palermo, S.A., Talarico, V.C., Turco, M. (2019). On the LID systems effectiveness for urban stormwater management: case study in Southern Italy. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 410. Sustainability in the built environment for climate change mitigation: SBE19 Thessaloniki 23–25 October 2019, Thessaloniki, Greece. doi: 10.1088/1755-1315/410/1/012012

Pappalardo, V., La Rosa, D., Campisano, A., La Greca, P. (2017). The potential of green infrastructure application in urban runoff control for land use planning: A preliminary evaluation from a southern Italy case study. Ecosystem Services, 26, 345-354. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.04.015

Pistocchi, A., Calzolari, C., Malucelli, F., & Ungaro, F., 2015. Soil sealing and flood risks in the plains of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 4(B), 398-409. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrh.2015.06.021

Recanatesi, F., Petroselli, A. (2020). Land Cover Change and Flood Risk in a Peri-Urban Environment of the Metropolitan Area of Rome (Italy). Water Resources Management, 34(5). doi: 10.1007/s11269-020-02567-8

Rossi F., Villani P. (1994) A project for regional analysis of floods in Italy. In: Rossi G., Harmancioğlu N., Yevjevich V. (eds) Coping with Floods. NATO ASI Series (Series E: Applied Sciences), vol 257. Springer, Dordrecht. doi: 10.1007/978-94-011-1098-3_11

Samouei, S., Ozger, M. (2020). Evaluating the performance of low impact development practices in urban runoff mitigation through distributed and combined implementation. Journal of Hydroinformatics, 22 (6), 1506–1520. doi: 10.2166/hydro.2020.054

Sims, A. W., Robinson, C. E., Smart, C. C., Voogt, J. A., Hay, G. J., Lundholme, J. T., Powers, B., O' Carroll, M. (2016). Retention performance of green roofs in three different climate regions. Journal of Hydrology, 542, 115-124. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2016.08.055

Soulis , K. X., Ntoulas, N., Nektarios, P. A., & Kargas, G. (2017). Runoff reduction from extensive green roofs having different substrate depth and plant cover. Ecological Engineering, 102, 80-89. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.01.031

Stovin, V., Vesuviano, G., & De Ville, S. (2015). Defining green roof detention performance. Urban Water Journal, 14(6), 574-588. doi: 10.1080/1573062X.2015.1049279

Szota, C., Farrel, C., Williams, N., Arndt, S. K., & Fletcher, T. D. (2017). Drought-avoiding plants with low water use can achieve high rainfall retention without jeopardising survival on green roofs. Science of The Total Environment, 6. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.061

Woods Ballard, B., Wilson, S., Udale-Clarke, H., Illman, S., Scott, T., Ashley, R., Kellagher, R. (2015). The SuDS Manual. CIRIA.