Mihai [Abstract]

Learning from European cities: Good practices on implementing green infrastructure for reducing the risk of disaster
[Full text]

Anca Mihai [1]

Abstract: The forecasts concerning the impact of climate change include an increase in extreme flooding. According to 2019 International Disasters Database, EM-DAT, between 1990 and 2019 Romania was the country with the highest number of disasters caused by flooding in the European Union (EU) (Mihai, 2019). Therefore, it can be estimated that the risk of flooding, and other climate-related hazards, will increase; the manner in which socio-economical activities are implemented will be affected. One of the measures to reduce the risk of flooding is green infrastructure (GI). GI contributes to the protection of biodiversity and also to meeting the objectives of the European Green Deal launched at the end of 2019. Green infrastructure projects refer to integrated and planned actions which focus on restoring/creating natural spaces which provide ecosystem services (European Commission, 2019a). In the European Union and beyond, green infrastructure projects which protect against flooding were implemented. These have many other benefits; not only do they protect against environmental risks and stimulate biodiversity, they allow for the construction of spaces for relaxation, exercising and spending time outdoors, they maintain the clean air, allow for water recycling and provide opportunities for the creation of new jobs. At the level of the other member states there are many initiatives which may serve as good practice models to Romania. Using the analysis of documents as a sociological method, I present four case studies from four EU countries that are described as good practices by experts from the European Green Capital Award. I highlight the relationship between green infrastructure and reducing the risk of flooding. Romania, as a member of the EU, has the tools and opportunity to learn from the experience of other EU member states and develop similar projects, with positive effects for inhabitants and low costs compared to grey infrastructure (O’Donnell et al., 2017). Taking into consideration the causes of the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, green infrastructure measures are needed for creating and maintaining sustainable ecosystems.

Keywords: Green infrastructure; green economy; flood protection; European Green Capital Award; green cities;

[1] Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest, Romania, anca.mihai@unibuc.ro.