China Becomes Sponge City To Stop Flooding | Urban Construction Model For Flood Management
A sponge city is a new urban construction model for flood management, strengthening ecological infrastructure and drainage systems, proposed by Chinese researchers in early 2000 and accepted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the State Council as urbanism policy in 2014
Engineering solutions are popular interventions but cities cannot simply pipe away flood risks. To address this issue, China’s sponge city initiative has an ambitious goal: by 2020, 80% of urban areas should absorb and re-use at least 70% of rainwater.
In 2015, China launched a national initiative to build 16 pilot sponge cities. These cities were chosen based on their vulnerability to flooding, population density, and economic development potential. The goal of the initiative was to build cities that could absorb and use 70% of rainwater, reduce urban flooding, and improve water quality.
The case of Lingang – a planned city in Shanghai’s Pudong district – illustrates typical sponge city measures. These include rooftops covered by plants, scenic wetlands for rainwater storage, and permeable pavements that store excess runoff water and allow evaporation for temperature moderation.