About the project

Project framework
Project activities and outputs


The general objective of the WGA project is to explore the options for landscape based stormwater management (LSM) as a climate change adaptation strategy in flood and drought prone cities in developing countries.

The specific objectives are in the contexts of Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam to:

  1. Explore the use, functions and livelihood activities in urban green spaces and identify opportunities and barriers for integrating stormwater management in the landscape.
  2. Assess the present stormwater management, and design and test local options for LSM in two communities in the two case cities.
  3. Identify opportunities and barriers, from an urban planning and institutional point of view, for the adoption and implementation of LSM and its integration in urban planning and how to facilitate inclusive stormwater management.
  4. Strengthen research capacity in relation to urban climate change adaptation through interdisciplinary and cross-institutional research activities linking theory and practice in a collective learning process specifically related to LSM.


Through an ongoing research project Climate Change and Urban Vulnerability in Africa (CLUVA), it is identified that urban flooding, drought and water scarcity are major climate change hazards affecting African cities, including Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam. Flooding, in particular, has already caused heavy damage on assets and human life in Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam (AAEPA 2011; Dodman et al., 2011). The CLUVA project puts emphasis on analyzing the vulnerabilities but does not look into the options for responding to these present and emerging challenges. No detailed research has so far been undertaken in Addis Ababa or in Dar es Salaam on flood risks and the impacts on the city and livelihoods. This is despite the fact that the climate change adaptation strategy of Addis Ababa (AAEPA 2011) recognizes flooding as a likely key consequence of climate change. Nor has the possibilities for climate change adaptation or stormwater mitigation been thoroughly addressed in urban planning strategies and policies (Jørgensen et al., 2012; Kombe and Kweka, 2012).

The concept of Landscape based Stormwater Management (LSM) has been gradually developed as a response to various stormwater management challenges in Europe, the United States, and Australia over the last three decades, under names such as Sustainable Urban Drainge Systems (SUDS), Low Impact Development (LID), and Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD). The basic idea is to delay and infiltrate stormwater runoff locally in the city, rather than discharging the water through sewer systems. In Denmark, LSM provides an alternative to sewer system enlargement in response to increased precipitation, and has been coupled with revitalization of existing cities. The climate change adaptation plan of Copenhagen relies strongly on LSM (City of Copenhagen, 2011). In cities like Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam that basically lack sewer systems the concept of LSM can be seen as a soft infrastructure that can provide some of the same services and at the same time strengthen the urban green infrastructure, reduce the risk of flooding, improve the urban water supply, and support local livelihood activities, if appropriately planned and implemented. For mitigating the negative effects of climate change and at the same time providing opportunities for sustainable urban development LSM is an option to be appraised.

EiABC, IHSS, and IGN join as partners due to their complementary fields of expertise in relation to addressing LSM in a holistic manner. In addition, the complementary climatic and topographic situations of Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam play a role in the selection of case cities.

IGN has experienced significant success as an internationally leading research institution assisting cities and professions in the technological transition from sewer based to landscape based stormwater management. It is hypothesized, that this expertise can be utilized, transferred and refined though the application of methods and tools in the context of urban Africa.

Project framework

The WGA project is implemented in four work packages (WPs) responding to each of the four specific objectives. Each WP is led by the research institution with most expertise in the field. WP1 addresses the physical structure and the livelihood activities of urban green spaces, and is led by EiABC. WP2 focuses on stormwater management and is led by IGN. WP3 looks into the institutional set-up and stakeholder involvement, and is led by IHSS. WP4 integrates research activities and management across WPs, cities and institutions, and is led by IGN. Figure 1 illustrates the project framework.

Figure 1. Staff and organisation of WPs in the project.

The city researchers at EiABC and IHSS do researches across WP1, WP2 and WP3. Other researchers at EiABC and IHSS focus on the potentials of integrating stormwater management (WP2) with either urban ecology, green spaces, use & livelihoods (WP1) or urban planning & governance (WP3).

The project emphasizes PhD and post-doc studies, interdisciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration and training, community involvement, and a close link between research and practice, combined with the development of a master course in LSM. A key methodological component of the research project is the use of a specific pilot site in each of the two cities. Here, professional and institutional stakeholders collaborate with local communities on the development of integrated plans for the pilot sites. The project utilizes and elaborates on previous good experiences from a similar approach applied in a Danish context (see Fryd et al., 2010; Backhaus and Fryd, in press).

Project activities and outputs

A summary of the main project activities is presented in Figure 2 and associated milestones are provided in Table 1.

Figure 2. Flow chart of main project activities.

Yearly project conferences, project management meetings, and city working group meetings are held jointly at the same time and venue. Similarly, training and pilot site activities, city stakeholder workshops, and master course preparations are organized in conjunction with the yearly conferences.

Table1. Milestones by year

Year   Milestones
2013 Enrolment of three PhD students at each south-partner university, start-up project team meetings held in each city, city stakeholder start-up workshops held in each city, selection of city pilot sites, 1st city working group meeting held in each city, 1st project conference held in Dar es Salaam with three major training sessions on; GIS, mapping and structural analysis; institutional and governance analysis; and participatory methods. community mapping, research-by-design and
urban participatory climate change adaptation appraisals. 1st project management committee meeting held, finalised WP 1,2, and 3 frameworks, 1 newsletter, 2 project updates.
2014 Map of green structures, Map on flooded areas, Report on green area typologies, Report on city level institutional analysis, Report on stormwater management and coping strategies, 2nd city working group meeting held, 2nd yearly project conference held in Addis Ababa with three major joint research seminars on; ecosystem services and urban agriculture, water resilient cities and stakeholder involvement, 2nd project management meeting held, 3-6 conference papers , 1 newsletter, 2 project updates.
2015 Report on livelihood and land use interaction, Report on biophysical, structural and institutional limitations and options for LSM, Report on the community level institutional analysis, case site event; research-by-design, stakeholder facilitation and land use-stormwater interaction, 3rd city working group meeting held, 3rd yearly project conference held in Dar es Salaam on results and development of master course, 3rd project management meeting held, 3-6 conference papers, 6-12 scientific papers submitted, 1 newsletter, 2 project updates.

Master course in urban stormwater and flood risk management held and integrated in curricula, 4th yearly project conference held on results and development of city and pilot site strategies and plans, 4th city working group meeting held, 4th yearly project management meeting held, final city stakeholder workshop held, city strategies and recommendations developed for both cities, pilot site strategies and local plans developed for both cities, 1 final project publication, 1 scientific paper submitted, 6 PhD graduates, 1 newsletter, 2 project updates.