The online version contains supplementary material available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-021-01467-w.
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In Southeast Asia, projections of rapid urban growth coupled with high water-related risks call for large investments in infrastructure—including in blue–green infrastructure (BGI) such as forests, parks, or vegetated engineered systems. However, most of the knowledge on BGI is produced in the global North, overlooking the diversity of urban contexts globally. Here, we review the literature on BGI for flood risk mitigation and water quality improvement in Southeast Asian cities to understand the scope of practical knowledge and identify research needs. We searched for evidence of local types of BGI in peer-reviewed and grey literature and assessed the performance of BGI based on hydrological, societal, and environmental metrics. The body of literature on BGI in Southeast Asia is small and dominated by wealthier countries but we found evidence of uptake among researchers and practitioners in most countries. Bioretention systems, constructed wetlands, and green cover received the most attention in research. Evidence from modelling and laboratory studies confirmed the potential for BGI to address flooding and water quality issues in the region. However, practical knowledge to mainstream the implementation of BGI remains limited, with insufficient primary hydrological data and information on societal and environmental impacts. In addition, the performance of BGI in combination with grey infrastructure, under climate change, or in informal settlements is poorly studied. Future research and practice should focus on producing and sharing empirical data, ultimately increasing the regional knowledge base to promote efficient BGI strategies.