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A new strategy for integrated urban water management in China: Sponge city

Abstract

Urban water-related problems associated with rapid urbanization, including waterlogging, water pollution, the ecological degradation of water, and water shortages, have caused global concerns in recent years. In 2013, in order to mitigate increasingly severe urban water-related problems, China set forth a new strategy for integrated urban water management (IUWM) called the “Sponge City”. This is the first holistic IUWM strategy implemented in a developing country that is still undergoing rapid urbanization, and holds promise for application in other developing countries. This paper aims to comprehensively summarize the sponge city. First, this paper reviews prior studies and policies on urban water management in China as important background for the sponge city proposal. Then, the connotations, goals, and features of the sponge city are summarized and discussed. Finally, the challenges, research needs, and development directions pertinent to the sponge city are discussed based on investigations and studies conducted by the authors. The sponge city in China has a short history—given this, there are many issues that should be examined with regard to the stepwise implementation of the Sponge City Programme (SCP). Accordingly, the authors perceive this study as only the beginning of abundant studies on the sponge city.

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Wang, H., Mei, C., Liu, J. et al. A new strategy for integrated urban water management in China: Sponge city. Sci. China Technol. Sci. 61, 317–329 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-017-9170-5

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Keywords

  • flexible adaptation
  • urban hydrological cycle
  • low impact development
  • green infrastructure