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Denmark has been experiencing a rise in extreme rainfall events. When existing municipal sewage infrastructure fails, flooding of basements creates enormous damage to buildings and private property. The Danish national climate initiative, "Klimaspring", has developed answers.

We were selected to lead the design with a team that includes hydrology engineers and an international firm producing asphalt and road products to develop new rainwater infrastructure. Our work led to two implemented test projects where our new system of open and covered rainwater channels slows down rainwater run-off, delaying pressure on municipal systems.







Waterways Stormwater Infrastructure

research and product development


Construction complete 2016

Colas A/S, EnviDan, City of Middelfart

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Responding to climate change with a design for rainwater channels that strengthen urban communities

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The Klimaspring programme ("climate leap") brief states that research and development should focus on tackling the problems arising from climate change and developing solutions that have added value in a range of ways beyond fixing infrastructure.

Our project set out to develop a solution that reconceptualizes the traditional way of crowning the street in the centre, shedding rainwater to the sides in order to discharge into inlets along the kerb of the street. We inverted this principle, using the central area of the street as an emergency capacity to hold rainwater in storm surges.

The film shows the Waterways project and key stakeholders in action. Particularly interesting is the feedback from people living in the street that see the value in the project and the statements from technical staff from municipality and water company attesting to the merits of the solution.

Added-value is delivered in our project in developing a utility infrastructure like stormwater drainage to the point where it is made accessible visually as a design element in the street, complete with additional system components offering places to sit and areas for planting urban green. We use our product to create beautiful streets with new places to meet and socialise.

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Added-value in Climate Adaptation

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Following conception of the family of system elements in collaboration with hydrology engineers, asphalt and concrete contractors, we assembled a first prototype of the system together, on the factory grounds of the factory producing the concrete elements, in Jutland.

A more urban application of the system was implemented on the street Søndergade in Middelfart on the island of Funen. Here we redesigned the complete street from building to building, changing the cross-section of the street to drain away rainwater safely and to provide an inviting public space for the local community. The city's evaluation of the project has been positive in operation.

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A second research grant by Realdania allowed us to explore new material solutions for the system. Our focus here was to take onboard market feedback to improve marketability of the product. New designs also provide for water retention solutions that further reduce pressure on municipal infrastructure.

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