China's ‘Sponge Cities’: the role of constructed wetlands in alleviating urban pluvial flooding

Zhou, Tiantao and Penning-Rowsell, Edmund C. ORCID logoORCID: (2021) China's ‘Sponge Cities’: the role of constructed wetlands in alleviating urban pluvial flooding. Water and Environment Journal, 35 (3) . pp. 1133-1146. ISSN 1747-6593 [Article] (doi:10.1111/wej.12705)

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Research examined constructed wetlands (CWs) in piloting the ‘Sponge City’, a Chinese initiative designed, in part, to curtail extensive urban pluvial flooding. In Yangzhou a small number of exploratory qualitative interviews with relevant professionals elucidated key issues. The interviewees supported the concept of CWs but were uniformly sceptical about their viability. A possible CW in the city was also modelled, quantifying its effects and limitations. Results show that CWs can help attenuate urban flooding but there are important caveats concerning their implementation. These concern their size and capacity, sufficiency of urban space, and their economic sustainability. The political dimension of the Sponge City concept, including support from President Xi Jinping, suggests that CWs may be a distraction from more widespread urban flooding, which CWs may well not alleviate. Piloting is continuing and results will need to be more positive if Sponge Cities can be a strategically important flood attenuation measure.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Environmental Engineering, Pollution, Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law, Water Science and Technology
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Flood Hazard Research Centre
Item ID: 33097
Notes on copyright: © 2021 The Authors. Water and Environment Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
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Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 12 May 2021 08:21
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2021 08:09

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