The project

RESILIO is the new Climate Adaptation project that takes place in Amsterdam and will install 10,000 m2of Blue-Green Roofs on social housing complexes. RESILIO is funded by the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) initiative under the Climate Adaptation theme.

You might already be wondering: “I know what a green roof is and how cool it is, but what’s the blue colour about?” Well, that’s the technology that Amsterdam will test, pilot and upscale to manage rainfall on building roofs. Put simply, there is a water storage layer below the green areas throughout the surface of the roof. When it rains, water does not run-off to the drain pipe, instead it is stored there. Then, it slowly supplies the necessary soil moisture for the roof greenery, the plants and trees. That’s done through multiple capillary suction tubes that connect the soil to the underlying water reservoir (nothing fancy, do not get intimidated!)

Blue-green roof on a rooftop at an office block in the Amsterdam Zuidas area

You might now wonder: “All this effort to save some water?” There is much more to water-saving; in fact, the primary reason for storing water at the roof is flood protection during extreme events (intensity of up to 60 mm/h). As the housing complexes are in flood prone areas, storage offered by their BG roofs results in flood risk reduction. In contrast, hard impermeable surfaces such as traditional roofs, roads and pavements contribute to run-off generation. When the sewer capacity is no longer sufficient to convey this excess water then flooding occurs. Now imagine several buildings with BG roofs coordinating between them through a smart ICT decision support system for micro-water-management that controls the volumes and timings of water storage and release, and there you have a neighbourhood scale flood risk reduction from building scale interventions.

There are several other significant benefits too. The roofs offer recreational space of high aesthetic value for the community and opportunities for biodiversity, particularly as the neighbourhoods are quite urbanised. The roofs offer improved building insulation and also support micro-climate regulation by mitigating the Urban Heat Island effect. As a result of the evapotranspiration of the stored water and the improved thermal comfort, a more liveable environment is offered at the top building floors.

Why should you care?

You might think that this is a luxury for your city and that this can only happen in visionary Netherlands. It is certainly not a luxury as the solution is quite practical for many urban areas under the risk of flooding. The alternative of replacing pipes for bigger ones can be more expensive and might not even solve the problem; besides, this does not deal with the root cause of the problem but with the impact instead. In addition, Amsterdam is incorporating RESILIO in its wider strategy to protect and enhance biodiversity in urban space. Similarly, many cities that suffer from a decline in biodiversity and lack sufficient community space can benefit from the RESILIO approach. Finally, most cities suffer from increased, unpleasant temperature that could be moderated through natural processes. Surely you have found some relevance with your local environment.

Challenges that RESILIO addresses presented at the Amsterdam International Water Week (Nov. 2019) by projectmanager Mr. Age Niels Holstein

How can you get involved?

It is very simple, just get in touch. Amsterdam is looking for cities that would like to test the idea. In particular, we are looking for cities with different characteristics, e.g. different climates, types of roofs, water governance structures. We wish to test our technology and approach to all sorts of different conditions and adapt them to make them applicable to other regions. Similarly, we want to build business cases that are suitable in different contexts.

Presentation of the RESILIO Amsterdam Agreement at the Amsterdam International Water Week (Nov. 2019) by projectmanager Mr. Age Niels Holstein

For this reason, we have recently prepared the RESILIO Amsterdam Agreement as part of the Amsterdam International Water Week to commit in knowledge transfer with interested Cities.

Get in touch!


This is the first web article of a series to follow between 2020-2022 presenting news about RESILIO. Stay tuned!

Author: Leon Kapetas, UIA Expert for the RESILIO project

Contact: Mr Robert Boot (, temporary replacement for Project Manager Age Niels Holstein, ( and Leon Kapetas (