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With support from the European Commission’s LIFE+ Programme, Groundwork London and Hammersmith & Fulham Council have been working with local residents to design and retrofit affordable climate change adaptation measures on three west London housing estates.

Why Climate Proof Urban Housing Landscapes?
Climate scientists predict that climate change is likely to mean wetter winters and more summer heat waves in the UK, leading to both water shortages and flooding.* In cities, where there is less green space to absorb the rainwater, much of it runs down the drains into the sewers or into directly into the rivers, which when we experience heavy rain increases the risk of flooding.

London needs to be prepared and adapt in order to minimise the damage these extreme weather events will have on both the environment and on people’s lives. This project aims to show that open spaces on housing estates offer a valuable opportunity to create new green walls, rain gardens (sustainable urban drainage) and green roofs – all of which help to reduce the risk of flooding and help cool the city and reduce the risk of drought during summer heatwaves. Below you can see the predicted sewerage and drainage capacity in London in 2050, which illustrates Hammersmith & Fulham as being a very high risk borough.

Engaging with Residents
Groundwork has been working alongside residents to give them the opportunity to shape the open space improvements on their estates. We are promoting awareness about the implications of climate change for London and Londoners among residents and delivering behaviour change programmes that aim to empower residents to take actions that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Discover more about our community engagement programme.

Creating Training & Employment Opportunities
Training and employment opportunities have been created for apprentices to carry out some of the adaptation work. The construction of the scheme was undertaken in part by horticulture trainees – Groundwork London’s ‘Green Teams’ [Link to Green Team Case Study], bringing wider social benefits both within and beyond the local community.

Sharing Best Practice
We have also delivered training to housing professionals and grounds maintenance contractors, enabling them to learn how to implement and maintain these measures, and how to replicate them elsewhere. We have hosted transnational exchange visits with professionals in Sweden and Finland, and presented the project at the first European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference in Vienna, in November 2015. See our resources page for to view download our latest resources. 

*Adapting to climate change UK Climate Projections (DEFRA 2009)