PhD defence: Rikke Juul Monberg – Københavns Universitet

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PhD defence: Rikke Juul Monberg

Rikke Juul Monberg defends her thesis,

Urban ecology and stormwater management: Exploring potentials for enhancing ecological qualities in sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS)

Professor Marina Bergen Jensen, IGN
Associate Professor hans Peter Ravn, IGN

Assessment committee:
Professor Sara Egemose, University of Southern Denmark
Professor Stephan Pauleit, Technical University of Munich
Professor Anders Busse Nielsen (chair), IGN

Urbanization and climate change prompt rethinking of urban design, including new methods for stormwater management. Additionally, an increasing recognition of the benefits gained from urban nature triggers a demand for methods to improve urban nature qualities. Sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) are increasingly used in cities as they adapt to climate change and can be designed to target desired habitat types of species groups.
This PhD thesis explores the potential of developing SUDS with enhanced ecological qualities (bio-SUDS). In the first part of the thesis, a multidisciplinary workshop involving ecologists, landscape architects and urban planners was conducted to explore potentials for increasing habitat heterogeneity in SUDS. This first explorative approach was followed by an applied science approach in which a full-scale bio-SUDS was designed and implemented, and its impact on ecological qualities in terms of plant species community composition and abundance of floral resources was assessed.
The first study showed that there is considerable scope for improvement in structural habitat heterogeneity in SUDS. The development of a full-scale bio-SUDS revealed that design principles derived from ecological engineering provide useful inputs to enhance ecological quality in SUDS designs. However, ecological targets were compromised when trade-offs had to be found between ecological, stormwater and recreational targets. Implementation of a full-scale bio-SUDS increased plant species diversity and abundance of floral resources within a relatively short period of time, and developed nature indices proved useful as tools for standardized and objective assessment of structural habitat heterogeneity and floral resources.
The PhD thesis contributes to bridge the gap between ecological research and urban design aiming to enhance urban nature, and it illustrates a new possible level for urban stormwater management and urban nature practice. The thesis confirmed the presence of a largely unexploited potential for enhancing nature qualities in SUDS and led to the main conclusion that implementation of bio-SUDS can be used as a lever to promote urban ecological qualities

The thesis is available for inspection at the PhD administration office, 04.1.413, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 Kbh K