Nature-based Solutions to strengthen climate resilience of Urban Regions in Central Vietnam

Cities are both drivers of global warming and especially affected by its impacts. A large population and energy-intensive infrastructures and facilities in a limited space lead to high CO2 emissions, while the conversion of natural soils and vegetation entail the formation of urban heat islands due to the loss of natural water retention and infiltration potential during rainfall. The need for coupled climate change mitigation and adaptation measures and hence strengthened resilience is becoming essential for urban planning. In this context, nature-based solutions (NBS) are becoming increasingly important in urban and regional planning. Nature-based solutions have the potential to tackle social and environmental challenges such as climate change and the urban heat island effect, water supply security, water and air pollution, food security, human health, and disaster risk management. This includes also the expansion and improvement of green-blue infrastructure (GBI) – a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas.

Vietnam is one of most densely populated countries in the world. With an urbanization rate of 3.4% per year, Vietnam is in a very rapid urbanization process, affecting secondary cities like Da Nang, Can Tho and Hue. The share of Vietnam’s urban population will increase from the current 30% by 2025 to an estimated 50%. At the same time, Vietnam is among the five countries most affected by climate change. Central Vietnam and its cities such as Hue are particularly affected by storms, typhoons, heavy rainfall and extreme heat waves, which often lead to human casualties and severe infrastructure damage. Due to the outstanding historical and tourist importance of the city of Hue, it belongs to the category “Top 1 – Top Priority City” of the Vietnamese government and is thus a model for the more than 65 other provincial capitals. These factors, as well as similar administrative structures and high exposure to climate change effects, make Hue an ideal location for an Urban Learning Lab, from which proven approaches and concepts can be transferred to other provincial cities.

The “Green City Lab Hue” has the objective to create a multi-level, multi-disciplinary space for research and experimentation to develop, visualize, evaluate and discuss ideas and concepts for the (re-)creation and expansion of green-blue infrastructure (GBI) in the city of Hue, Central Vietnam. In cooperation with stakeholders from science, administration, politics and the civil society, and under consideration of existing urban development plans, the project consortium will develop shared expertise, common concepts and a database to facilitate the coordinated, strategic development of a network of (semi-)natural areas across the city of Hue. Integrating nature-based solutions and GBI into Hue’s city planning may help to protect various ecosystem services, thereby increasing the social and ecological resilience of the city of Hue and its hinterland, e.g., regarding climate change impacts.

The project is being carried out in cooperation with the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Mientrung Institute in Hue – funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research.