China is Building 30 Sponge Cities To Slow Down Climate Change
China is planning to build, or restructure 30 of its urban areas so as to become so-called Sponge Cities. These sponge cities are made so as to capture as much rainwater as possible. The reasoning is that, with climate change, there is an increased chance of stronger rainstorms and flooding. These cities will then employ all sorts of technologies so as to capture that excess water and put it to good use.
The Sponge Cities Initiative was launched back in 2015 and invests in projects that focus on absorbing floodwater. At the present moment, the Chinese government is looking into 30 of its cities, including Shanghai, Wuhan, and Xiamen to apply these technologies. The overall plan is to have 80% of the entire Chinese urban area reusing at least 70% of the rainwater by 2020.
These 30 sponge cities have received $12 billion in funding, which constitutes 15 to 20 percent of the total funding needed – which is provided by the government. The rest needs to come from the local authorities as well as private investments.
Lingang, which is a planned city in Shanghai’s Pudong district, aims at becoming the largest sponge city in the world. The effort is supplemented by $119 million in funding from the city government. So far, it has begun planting on rooftops and creating wetlands (which are perfect storage spaces for excess water.) They’re also laying down permeable roads that are capable of storing runoff water.
There is no one way of creating a good sponge city, and depending on various conditions, cities employ different strategies to better suit their environment. Among these strategies, we have the before mentioned green rooftops, as well as using various permeable materials for roadbuilding.
China is also not the only country that’s looking towards its future sponge cities. Berlin, in Germany, is also looking to become one.