EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Systemic Design Approach: A Framework for a resilient urban transition

Stanislava Boskovic, Pepe Puchol-Salort, Vladimir Krivtsov, and Ana Mijic
Stanislava Boskovic et al.
  • Imperial College London, Civil and Environmental Engineering, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (

Cities are open living systems, which rely on the confluence of multiple layers of infrastructure and corresponding services. The interaction among these components is made even more complex by the demands of businesses and governments, together with constraints arising from ecological and environmental considerations. Climate change-related phenomena are putting an enormous strain on cities’ infrastructure, basic services, human livelihoods, public health and well-being. In many parts of the world concerns mount in regard to the scarcity of resources and growing risk of natural disasters (heat waves, urban flooding, droughts).  The converse also holds true, cities are major contributors to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, notwithstanding other sources of pollution. This, together with the increase in urban growth and urbanization, results in an expansion of urban hazards - including water pollution, disease spread and issues with food security. Despite these pressing issues, we are witnessing an almost paradoxical mismatch between the needs of future cities and the practices currently used in numerous urban projects. A wholesale re-thinking of existing urban design methods at systems level (Systemic Design), is therefore not only necessary, but also provides significant opportunities to explore critical aspects of Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI) and systematic assessment of possible future scenarios of different scales (local, urban, regional…). Nature-based solutions (NBS) are at the very core of the conception and development of BGI and provide a range of ecosystem services including alleviation of flood risk, mitigation of climatic effects, increase in biodiversity and amenity values, improvements in water quality, and further, rather more intangible benefits related to the residents’ health and wellbeing.

In this work we provide a systemic design as an innovative and integrated approach, based on ecology and ecological design, which introduces the systematic context analysis (environmental, climatic, historic…).  A GIS-based mapping of the context, produced in relation to the functional purpose, can give us synthetic prospects to better understand the potential effectiveness of BGI solutions (design options) in relation to their wider ecosystem. The systemic design approach allows an examination of possible steps to reduce actual cities vulnerability and to explore the main drivers of urban development, climate change mitigation and urban resilience. In this way, the systemic design approach also supports decisions for further planning and anticipates actions for the management of the multifaceted hazards of the entire urban system.

How to cite: Boskovic, S., Puchol-Salort, P., Krivtsov, V., and Mijic, A.: Systemic Design Approach: A Framework for a resilient urban transition, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8783,, 2022.