Technical solutions and benefits of introducing rain gardens: Gdańsk case study

Magda Kasprzyk, Wojciech Szpakowski, Eliza Poznanska, Floris Boogaard, Katarzyna Bobkowska, Magdalena Gajewska

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


    Nowadays, Nature-Based Solutions (NBSs) are developing as innovative multifunctional tools to maximize urban ecosystem services such as storm water preservation, reduction of runoff and flood protection, groundwater pollution prevention, biodiversity enhancement, and microclimate control. Gdańsk is one of the first Polish cities to widely introduce rain gardens (one example of an NBS) in different areas such as parks, city center, main crossroads, and car parks. They involve different technical innovations individually tailored to local architecture, including historic buildings and spaces. Gdańskie Wody, which is responsible for storm water management in the city, adopted a pioneering strategy and started the construction of the first rain garden in 2018. Currently, there are a dozen rain gardens in the city, and this organisation's policy stipulates the construction of NBSs in new housing estates without building rainwater drainage.

    Various types of rain gardens can be created depending on location characteristics such as geo-hydrology, as well as local conditions and needs. Furthermore, each of them might be equipped with specific technical solutions to improve the rain garden's function – for example, an oil separator or setter can be included to absorb the initial, most polluted runoff. During winter, the large amount of sodium chloride usually used to grit the roads may pose the greatest threat to biodiversity and plants. These installations have been included in a large rain garden in Gdańsk, located in the central reservation of the main streets in the city center.

    This work presents various technical considerations and their impact on ecosystem functions, and the urban circularity challenges provided by rain gardens operating in different technologies and surroundings. The precipitation quantity and the following infiltration rate were estimated by installing pressure transducers. Furthermore, mitigation of the urban heat island was analysed based on remote sensing images.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages14
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2022


    • climate adaptation
    • rain gardens
    • infiltration


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