Community involvement in the implementation of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDSs) in Bon Pastor, Barcelona

Andrea Noblega Carriquiry*, David Sauri Pujol, Hug March Corbella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The persistence of urban floods and the inability of aging sewage infrastructure to deal with stormwater make sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDSs) one of the emerging paradigms in urban water management, in which stormwater is no longer a hazard but a resource. Although most of the global research has been done on the technical aspects of SUDSs, their social impacts are not always taken into consideration. The neighborhood scale that characterizes SUDSs creates a different governance system—compared to the old structures of flood risk management—characterized by decentralization practices and where communities gain a better position of negotiation and new responsibilities. The objective of this research is to recognize how the diverse stakeholders involved in SUDSs interact with each other and to look into the different levels of understanding SUDSs as a new alternative of stormwater infrastructure. In order to accomplish this task, the paper introduces the case of the neighborhood of Bon Pastor (Barcelona, Spain), which has gone through urban transformations over the past years, promoting the development of SUDSs in 2012. Empirical evidence was obtained from 10 semi-structured interviews with government, technicians, social organizations, and local community citizens as well as revision of existing policy documents and grey literature on SUDSs and historical documents on the development of the neighborhood. The results show how active the community was during the design process and afterward, as sustainability gradually became one of the main topics in the neighborhood to be incorporated in new developments. However, it also unveiled several issues related to maintenance and the ambiguity of the term SUDS for the different stakeholders involved.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2020


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