Residents’ perceptions of sustainable drainage systems as highly functional blue-green infrastructure in housing developments

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Blue-green infrastructure for storm water management in the UK is considered to be part of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). Design guidance recommends that source control and treatment trains are embedded within developments. This means that residents live next to SuDS performing functions such as infiltration, conveyance and storage. In addition to hydraulic attenuation, SuDS can provide benefits such as water quality improvement, wildlife habitat and amenity. However, economic pressure to maximise development opportunity means that designs do not always maximise these benefits. Therefore, residents’ perceptions of the benefits and problems of living with SuDS are important as these may affect residential property values and willingness to pay management fees, which could justify high quality designs that deliver multiple benefits. This study aimed to investigate these issues through a survey of residents living with SuDS across six housing developments in England, 406/2916 responses were collected. The developments had good quality SuDS, with an established residential population and active housing market. The residents had varied levels of awareness of the presence and function of SuDS. Generally, residents liked the wildlife and green space but this was tempered with concerns over pests (rats and mosquitoes) and litter. Maintenance of SuDS was also an issue and at three sites residents were charged management fees which were not well understood and caused concern. The majority of residents were unwilling to contribute more to maintenance. Most residents and local estate agents did not perceive that SuDS increased property values. Raising awareness of the benefits of SuDS may lead to greater acceptance by residents and encourage developers to include them in developments, which could contribute to overcoming one of the barriers to wider implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103610
Number of pages28
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Early online date16 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • RCUK
  • NERC
  • NE/N017307/1


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