Framing water sensitive urban design as part of the urban form: A critical review of tools for best planning practice

Martijn Kuller, Peter M. Bach, Diego Ramirez, Ana Deletic

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Spatial planning for green stormwater treatment technologies, known as Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), is a ‘wicked’ problem which can greatly benefit from the application of Planning Support Systems (PSS). Our review of currently existing WSUD-PSS shows that WSUD is approached from three perspectives: hydrological, urban planning and water governance. As a form of best (urban) planning practice, WSUD requires PSS that regard these technologies as an integral part of the urban form. We argue that suitability of location for WSUD has two sides: ‘WSUD needs a place’ and ‘a place needs WSUD’. No framework or PSS exists that frames WSUD from both sides of suitability. We propose such a suitability framework, building on evidence from literature. Our review found no comprehensive tool or strategy incorporating all relevant factors for suitability analysis. Our proposed framework addresses this gap, and serves as the basis for rigorous WSUD-PSS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-282
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Ecosystem services
  • Low impact development
  • Planning support systems
  • Sustainable urban drainage systems
  • Urban planning

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