NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Exploiting the Synergies between Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) and Urban Farming in Vinh Yen City, Vietnam [NDF C82 B7]

Photo: Niras
Study trip in Copenhagen.
Photo: Niras
Vinh Yen.
Photo: Niras
Vinh Yen.
Photo: Niras
Study trip in Copenhagen.
The project 'Exploiting Synergies between Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) and Urban Farming in Vinh Yen City, Vietnam' pilots the synergies between handling rainwater through SUDS and using SUDS for small-scale urban farming.

NCF: Exploiting the Synergies between Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) and Urban Farming in Vinh Yen City, Vietnam
Ref: NDF C82 B7

Nordic partner: NIRAS A/S
Local partners: Institute for Environmental planning, Urban and Rural Infrastructure (IRURE) -Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning (VIUP); Department of Finance and Planning (Vinh Yen City People's Committee)
Other partner(s): N/A
Total project cost: EUR 620,000
NCF financing: EUR 480,000
Agreement signed: 28 January 2016
Project classification: Adaptation
Duration: 30 months

Project objective

The overall objective is to expand the usage of SUDS in Vietnamese cities to increase climate resilience and social resilience. SUDS prevent flooding of livelihoods and critical infrastructure and combining it with urban farming will support the combat of poverty and empower locals (mainly women), when they can use the crops for cooking or sell them at the local market. Indirectly, urban farming as an integrated element of SUDS may also reduce the maintenance costs of SUDS.

Main results/outputs

  • Flood risk analysis of an urban area in Vinh Yen
  • Implementation of a SUDS integrated with urban farming
  • Engagement of local citizens (mainly women) in using the SUDS for urban farming
  • Test results of SUDS
  • Textbook guidelines to be distributed to other cities



SUDS covers the handling of rainwater on the surface and is often co-designed with urban green infrastructures. In several cities in Vietnam, people have begun to grow vegetables, for example, on rooftops and in backyards. This project builds on the potential to combine SUDS with urban farming elements and educate the users in maintaining the system while they use it for urban farming. 

The objective of the project is to implement concrete SUDS designed with small scale urban farming elements, that besides making the urban area more resilient towards flooding, also will benefit a local community’s social resilience by providing the local people, especially women the opportunity to grow crops such as vegetables, herbs and spices. The local women are empowered when the crops are either used as household supplements or as products to be sold at a local market. Furthermore, the social elements of meeting other locals increase the social resilience of the community. 

The project will evaluate SUDS effectiveness in mitigating impacts in floods, define which crops can be farmed in different types of SUDS, evaluate small-scale urban farming's financial contribution to households, and evaluate urban farming's contribution to creating social resilience.

Text book guidelines on SUDS and small-scale urban farming for urban planning, as well as training and awareness-raising material for other Vietnamese cities is developed during the project, and will be distributed by the Ministry of Construction (MOC).

Relevance for climate change

To avoid flooding in dense urban areas, it is necessary to mimic nature’s natural retention abilities, whereas  climate change adaptation means such as SUDS and green infrastructures are integrated into urban development. Increasing the green elements will also have a cooling effect on the city by reducing the urban heat island effect, which in the long term may reduce the usage of air conditioning and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, by strengthening cohesion in a neighbourhood, social resilience is increased which may benefit in many situations, not only in cases of flooding.

Innovation aspects

SUDS is an increasingly popular approach for managing the increasing threat of pluvial floods. The SUDS practices are designed to retain, infiltrate and/or evapotranspirate storm water and reduce the amount of water that runs off the surface.

SUDS includes various elements and technologies: e.g. rain barrels to collect water from roofs, swales to facilitate infiltration to manage pollution and runoff, green roofs, permeable pavements, etc., that can be modified to suit the specific site conditions and other factors like affordability and social acceptance. A key feature of SUDS solutions is that they attempt to mimic nature.

The novelty of this project is to further design the SUDS to also be used by locals as urban farming elements that do not reduce the water retention effects of the SUDS. Furthermore, the locals are trained to also maintain the SUDS, so the systems’ retention effect will stay effective. The training will also create awareness of climate change.

More information

Institute for Environmental planning, Urban and Rural infrastructure (IRURE) -Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning (VIUP)
Department of Finance and Planning (Vinh Yen city people's Committee)